When Campus Manager Prerna Khatri received her task details, she rushed off to interview Professor V.R. Dinkar, Associate Professor and Vice Principal, Saveetha School of Law.
FaculTeas are interviews (tea with faculty) conducted by Lawctopus’ college managers.
Hello Prof. V.R.Dinkar. Tell us something about yourself?
I started my career as Lecturer in law at Kerala Law Academy, Thiruvananthapuram and then I moved to North Kerala, at Kannur University.
There I was entrusted with a huge responsibility as a Reader and Head of the Department of Law and later I joined KIIT School of Law at Bhubaneswar as Associate Professor.
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At present I am working as Associate Professor and Vice-Principal of the Saveetha School of Law, Chennai.
What made you choose ‘Law’ as your profession? Were there any particular people who inspired you to enter the revered teaching profession?
After my LL.M Course, my Professor M. Krishnan Nair, was instrumental in helping me make this career choice.
I was lucky to be mentored and guided by him in the subject, ‘Teaching and Research Methods’.
His approach to the subject and teaching style inspired me to become a teacher.
How was your college life like? What bent you towards Criminal Law and Forensic Sciences?
My college life was very pleasurable. In fact, the teaching profession was an accident, albeit a happy accident. After completing my LL.B, I started my practice with a senior criminal lawyer at my home town.
He inspired me to take my passion a step higher and thus, I opted for the LL.M Course.
Actually, the spark was formed in my mind when I was attending the cross-examinations of my senior towards forensic scientists and medical doctors as expert witnesses.
The starting point of my research interest was when my senior advised me to select the topic “Expert Evidence” for my LL.M. dissertation.
While attending the cross-examination of scientific experts by other lawyers, I found that the lawyers were very fragile and they were not able to challenge the opinions formed by the experts even with the help of good treatises.
What were the roadblocks in your career?
The teacher’s career is developing by the teachers themselves; therefore, if any of them are facing any roadblock, it is because of their own fault.
However, at this juncture, I would like to mention one important thing that ‘absolute academic freedom’ is essential for all teachers who need to develop their career.
It is important that teacher’s be given the freedom to express their opinions completely in order to shape the coming generation of lawyers to face the challenges put forth by the profession.
What inspired you to write the book titled, Scientific Expert Evidence (Eastern Law House, 2013) and Justice in Genes (Asia Law House, 2008)
To be very honest, my inspiration was the ignorance of our judges and lawyers on the subjects like science, which is nowadays an inevitable one in the civil and criminal litigation.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, as a part of my learning under my senior in the early days of my profession, I noticed the lacunae in the field of criminal law which drove me into researching on specific aspects of the field.
What strategies did you use to be successful in college?
I live by the motto, ‘Hard work is the key to success.’
Loyalty and passion towards the subject is also extremely important. Only then, will one be able to give maximum justice to the work they are entrusted with.
Which area do you enjoy teaching the most?
Criminal Law being my specialization, I’m naturally inclined to teaching the traditional subjects like the Law of Evidence, Crimes, Contract and Torts.
I also enjoy teaching subjects like forensic science and law, medical jurisprudence etc.
What is the best thing about being a Professor? And what’s the worst?
For me, job satisfaction after each lecture and good acceptance and recognition in all streams of our society is the best thing about being a professor.
Quite obviously, there is another face to it as well but the positives outweigh it. Personally, I haven’t come across anything as such.
Describe your teaching style. How do you define good teaching?
I always follow the lecture cum discussion method through proper interaction with the students.
I am also planning to introduce case discussion method of teaching in the coming trimesters.
Good teaching means the effective teaching methodology through which a teacher can convey the things he proposed to convey with out any doubts on a topic.
A good teacher shall always create enthusiasm on learners on each and every topic he/she handles. This is very important for developing creativity and interest in the mind of the learner.
What are your current research interests? Have you involved your students in your research?
My current research interest is on formulating proper guidelines for the trial judges in India for determining the extreme penalty in law known as the ‘capital punishment’.
I am also planning to guide my students for conducting an archival research study of the decisions rendered by our Supreme Court for the last 20 years on death sentence.
What are the changes you’ve seen in the students in your days and now? Do you prefer today’s generation?
Every student is different and it’s unfair comparing them. However, in general, I noticed a few changes in the students then and now.
Personally speaking, the present students don’t have the patience in attending the lectures, doing their internals etc.
They always find an easy way of achieving the things. They are not hard workers and used to spoon feeding.
The mind of the present students is always fluctuating and they are not able to concentrate on a particular thing. The worst thing is that the majority of the students have no reading habit.
Would you suggest teaching as a profession in today’s time where every law graduate is inclined to making money and entering the corporate sector?
This is, in fact, a difficult question to answer, since it depends on the taste of each person as well as the economic stability and family setup of a person.
In fact, I am against lawyers selecting the corporate sectors for their livelihood since they are gradually surrendering the freedom enjoying by an independent lawyer in his profession and becoming a slave of the corporate giants.
The teaching profession is also a good profession because a law teacher has a very high responsibility; in moulding a good lawyer. Moreover, the teaching profession is a tension free profession and the teachers can enjoy their family life also.
Nowadays, India is facing shortage of good teachers in law. In India, the teachers are also well paid. Therefore, my suggestion is that the educationalists shall make the teaching profession more attractive. Being a professor myself, I would be happy to see law graduates opt for teaching instead of entering the rat race of corporate life.
What’s your advice for prospective lawyers?
The lawyers, especially young budding lawyers shall develop their research skill and other skills like client counselling, arguing matters, conducting trial, cross-examination etc., which would help them in developing their career.
The lawyers are the officers of the court for helping the judges in the administration of justice, therefore, they shall strictly follow the ethical guidelines for a good lawyer and they shall properly maintain the decorum of the court. The lawyers shall not try to mislead the judges by adducing such data before the court of law.
The lawyers shall avoid sacking clients through agents, police personals or other public officials. The lawyers shall always update their knowledge not only in law but also in all disciplines; therefore, wide reading is indispensable for becoming a successful lawyer.