Dr. Kanwal D.P. Singh is the dean of University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGS Indraprastha University. She started her career as a lecturer in the year 1999. She completed her Phd from Jamia Milia Islamia in 2007. Her specialization is in the area of Capital Market and Land laws.
In her career spreading across two decades she has written several books and presented dozens research papers. She has organized various moot court competitions, seminars and guest lectures. It was a privilege for Legal Bites to converse with Prof. Singh. Here is the excerpts of the same:
Legal Bites: Ma’am, its been 70 years since our independence and throughout this time our country has experienced gradual advancement in many sectors. I would like you to specify some of the sectors in which we are still lacking.
Prof. Singh: Our country has experienced advancement in many sectors. I think it is not that advancement is confined for few sectors and not confined to others or specify that this sector needs advancement but what I feel is that in our country we have gradually changed the society. Our society is becoming advanced, pinpointing sectors – I don’t think that is the situation. Everywhere we have experienced advancement. Certain areas which need improvement is government and implementation of jobs. These are the two areas, I think, in which we need a lot of improvement and a lot of growth. We need to align ourselves to the developed world.
Legal Bites: Ma’am, the education system in this country needs revolutionary reforms. An examination, for example, has become a test of memory and writing speed than naturally being a test of knowledge and understanding. Is your institution growing for or against this system? Also, how is it helping students in building a robust base to kick-start their careers?
Prof. Singh: Now the system of education needs reforms, you may call it revolutionary reforms, but as the Dean of the law school, and personally as a mother also, I feel that the Indian education system is the best. I somehow do not agree that it is becoming a test of memory and test of speed or writing skills, I don’t believe it. I have been in this career for 19 years, I have never ever come across a student who has memorised and who has not understood, understanding and memorising go side-by-side. This is what I feel, they are understanding and memorising.
Now, there is some truth in this also that the examination system is something to do with marks. Like if you see people getting admissions, getting a 90% will not take you anywhere, (all this sort of thing) we have to put a cut-off somewhere. We are large in numbers, so numbers need a cut-off somewhere.
There is a balance between rote learning and application. Rote learning and application should both be seen side by side.
Legal Bites: Ma’am, with the advent and implementation of GST, many people are of conflicting opinions about its benefits. How beneficial in your opinion is it on our market. Do you think GST will ever in the future cater to increase the value of Rupee in the international market??
Prof. Singh: Definitely yes. GST is the biggest tax reform that we have come across right now. I understand that people are having conflicting views but that is there in every law, in every change. Apprehension comes before any change. As far as GST is concerned there are basic ideas aligning all the tax into one and that is what it is. It will definitely impact the international market, it would definitely impact the economy.
And what I feel the problem is, why people are having conflicting opinion is because implementation is not clear. Then education is a big problem for our trader community, generally they are not tax law experts! And in India tax is still considered as something which only the tax department or the chartered accountants will do. So I think the lack of awareness is causing this conflict otherwise GST itself is the biggest reform and it will align us in with the world economy. It’s not only within India, it will align us with the world economy.
Legal Bites: Ma’am, Religion and Science has always been a debatable argument throughout the world. But in India, in particular, religion is now being argued against morals, values and ethics. Are our citizens not smart enough to do what’s right for them, or will religious experts rule over their conscience??
Prof. Singh: That is not true. Never was it true, never will it be true. Our masses are smart enough to realize how religion and society has come together in a cohesive way and see, incidents have been taking place because disagreements can be there. But religion and society in India has always functioned together and will always be.
People who are not educated or things blown out of proportion or people who are orthodox that could be a reason for disharmony but that can never be a basis of judging the Indian masses.
Legal Bites: Ma’am, what message will you like to give to the law students across the Country?
Prof. Singh: Law forms the basis of the growth of society and what I will say is Law students should focus on learning the intricacies of the Legal system, learning what actually the law is and how to interpret it. Once you have gone deep into learning the law – money, fame, everything will follow. And there is no shortcut to Hard-work.
[This interview was brought to you by Mayank, Keshav and Deepanshu Rao]