Interview with Dr. Anand Kumar Tripathi  I/c. Director, School of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences (SLHSS) - Rashtriya Raksha University (an Institution of National Importance), Gandhinagar

Interview with Dr. Anand Kumar Tripathi I/c. Director, School of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences (SLHSS) - Rashtriya Raksha University (an Institution of National Importance), Gandhinagar

1.Tell me about yourself.
I am Dr. Anand Kumar Tripathi, obtained my educational qualifications from University of Allahabad. Presently, working with School of Law, Humanities & Social Sciences(SLHSS), Rashtriya Raksha University (an Institution of National Importance), Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, as its Director i/c & faculty of Law. Prior to joining RSU, I served as Assistant Professor of Law at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar, Gujarat. I feel honoured to share that I have penned Pro Bono India song and also the member of the advisory board of Pro Bono India since its inception. Our School is one of the pioneering school in the field of criminal and security laws with an aim to achieve excellence in educating legal professionals, advancing legal scholarship, serving the public and fostering justice. 

2.What is the importance of study of Socio Legal issues in legal field?
Socio-legal research is not only useful in formulating new theories, but also provides guidance to the decision making process which moulds public opinion and is useful in framing new laws. It also provides the knowledge which widens the outlook of legislators, executives and judiciary and paves the way for broad based social reforms.

3.Tell me about your initiatives in legal aid & awareness field as a law student and now as professor.
As we know that law in practice and law in code book both are different. Therefore, practical exposure to the students must be given in their studentship. I started my journey as a teacher from Gujarat National Law University and I engaged final year students in clinical paper by assigning field visits to understand the ground reality about prison administration, hospital managements and bonded labourers issues. By this way students get exposure in the real practices of law and its reality. 

4.Tell me your students’ initiatives in legal aid, awareness, socio-legal issues.
The Team of SLHSS, Rashtriya Raksha University plays a pivotal role in initiating legal aid awareness in socio-legal issues. We organize webinars, expert talks, faculty seminars on regular basis to ensure overall development of the students. Our next big step is to facilitate a Legal Aid Cell that contributes to the society as per the mandate of our university. By this semester we are involving the students in Pro Bono initiative so that our society may get benefited by such step. The major objective of introducing ‘pro bono service’ is to encourage and motivate the students of the University to work primarily for the legal affairs and matters concerning armed forces, central armed police forces, central police organizations and state police organizations community, offer their services under the legal provisions, which will help them bring closer to the security organizations and personnel, besides helping them in their future career.

5.What is the role of higher judiciary in legal aid & awareness in India?
Higher judiciary as a guardian of the Constitution has been playing a very pivotal role in strengthening our legal system. Under Indian Constitution Art.39-A was inserted by 42nd amendment in order to provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. NALSA is also one of the best mechanism to meet the concept of justice for all by spreading legal awareness. The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction has passed important order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it exercising the power enshrined under Art.142 of the Constitution.
6. What is the role of Government in legal aid & awareness in India?
To have a successful legal aid movement in India, the government needs to take appropriate steps by spreading awareness and educating the people about their basic rights. The only objective or aim of the government should be to provide ‘equal justice to all’. The Legal Services Authority Act needs proper implementation, by solving the major problem or issue of lack of awareness and legal education among the people. If people are educated and aware of the rights there will be proper utilisation of free legal aid services. Due to all this, it leads to the exploitation of rights and deprivation of rights by the needy ones. There should be proper management and monitoring of the legal aid services.

7.What are your views on present situation of legal aid and awareness initiatives in India?
Our legal system is very effective and we have sufficient laws on legal aid initiatives. Due to laxity of implementation of pertinent provisions we are not able to get desired outcome. 

8.What are your views on effectiveness of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987?
Justice P.N. Bhagwati has rightly said that “the poor and the illiterate should be able to approach the Courts and their ignorance and poverty should not be an impediment in the way of their obtaining Justice from the Courts.”  Right to free legal aid or free legal service is an essential right guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 14, 21, 39A and so on. In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities (LSA) Act was enacted to give free and competent legal services to the person belonging to Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste, woman, child, victim of human trafficking, differently abled person, industrial workman, and person in custody in a protective home and the poor.
It aims to Provide Free and Competent Legal Services to the eligible persons and also to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes especially Mobile Lok Adalats and to organize legal awareness camps in the rural areas

9.What are your views on present situation of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India?
Public Interest Litigation has produced astonishing results which were unthinkable three decades ago. Degraded bonded labourers, tortured under trials and women prisoners, humiliated inmates of protective women’s home, blinded prisoners, exploited children, beggars, and many others have been given relief through judicial intervention.
The greatest contribution of PIL has been to enhance the accountability of the governments towards the human rights of the poor.
The PIL develops a new jurisprudence of the accountability of the state for constitutional and legal violations adversely affecting the interests of the weaker elements in the community. However, the Judiciary should be cautious enough in the application of PILs to avoid Judicial Overreach that are violative of the principle of Separation of Power. Besides, the frivolous PILs with vested interests must be discouraged to keep its workload manageable

10.What advise you would like to give to the future Advocates/Professors/Scholars with regards to socio-legal issues, legal aid and awareness initiatives?
I would suggest the future law students to read novels and stories relevant to the field of Law to develop their acumen to carry the baton forward.

11.Message to ProBono India
At the outset, I convey my hearty wishes to the founder of the ProBono India, Dr Kalpeshkumar L Gupta for this noble cause. In the light of the first line of the ProBono India theme song i.e. Samvidhan ki mool atma samta, nyaya wa bhaichara, nirdhan ko bhi vidhik suraksha, ProBono India ne pukara..(the soul of the constitution lies in equality, justice and fraternity which ensures legal security to the poorer and marginalized group of the society) the whole team is working for the public good. Let’s come forward with an aim to achieve the mission and objectives of the ProBono India which ultimate goal is to work for the society with a strong socio-legal approach.