Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Jodhpur-based Sardar Patel University of Police, Security, and Criminal Justice. Dr Bhatt previously worked as an Assistant Professor of Law at Raksha Shakti University (Government of Gujarat) in Ahmadabad.
Dr Bhatt completed Post-doctoral Study with the General Fellowship of (Postdoctoral Fellow) Indian Council of Social Science Research. He has also awarded his Ph.D. in Law by Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur with University Scholarship (2006-07) and Doctoral Fellowship (2007-09) of Indian Council of Social Science Research, (under Ministry of HRD) New Delhi (ICSSR). He has qualified UGC-NET examination (June 2006). He was also Assistant Editor of “Indian Human Rights Law Review” (a biennial peer-reviewed refereed journal) published by R. Cambray & Co. Private Ltd., Kolkata.
It is a matter of pride for Legal Bites to interview him and get his insights into the legal arena.
Legal Bites: With having achieved so much, it’s a privilege to talk to you today. Please tell us something about your life as a law student and then as a professor.
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: Thank you to Legal Bites, who recognized me as a suitable person to be interviewed.
I was born in a family where many of the persons were belong to the law field. Initially, after 10+2, I took science stream and did B.Sc. but then eventually moved to the law as family insisted and I too find law as a subject interesting one. More so, the person who knows the law feels empowered from the inside. I did my LLB from the Faculty of Law, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.
In 2004 my LLB completed and I joined the LLM program as well as started practicing with my uncle but in few months I realized myself unfit as a lawyer thus decided to go with LLM. With specialization in human rights, I completed LLM in 2006, and in the same year, the June UGC NET examination was also cleared.
After clearing LLM I made up my mind to go for further study and research. I joined the Ph.D. program in 2006 itself and received a university scholarship and in 2007 a Doctoral fellowship from the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi.
The research theme of my Ph.D. was about the Third Sex and their socio-legal status. Ph.D. awarded in 2009. I also received a post-doctoral fellowship from ICSSR, New Delhi for my research on sexual minorities, crimes, and the criminal justice system. In 2012 PDF was completed. Though teaching/ research is a constant learning service this was about my formal education.
From a service perspective, my journey started as guest faculty in the faculty of law, JNVU, Jodhpur and as a regular assistant professor, I was selected in Sikkim central University, Sikkim as well as in Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad in 2012. I preferred to join Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad. Raksha Shakti University was the first University of dedicated to Internal Security. Presently RSU is known as Rashtriya Raksha University and of Institute of National Importance.
After serving for 2 years at RSU, I selected in my present institute i.e. the Sardar Patel University of Police, Security, and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur in 2014. This is the second university of India dedicated to imparting knowledge on Internal Security.
I have completed here 7 years and now along with teaching and research, I am holding an honorary position of deputy director of the Centre of Social Defense and Gender Studies.
Legal Bites: You have so much experience as a law professor. What are the positive changes have you seen in the students of today as well as in their approach towards the law?
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: Nowadays students having all resources in their palm or lap due to information technology. So information technology has been impacting their intellectuality as well as knowledge in positive as well as negative sense. As you asked about positive changes then I can say, they are good at gathering information. They are confident and good at presentation.
Legal Bites: What challenges have you faced as a law student and what motivated you to overcome them?
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: The first problem in my law student days was the non-availability of e-resources in state universities. Similarly, we were not exposed to research software as the same were not available. But at the same time, we had quality books in the library as well as in my home. But in terms of the use of software, we faced challenges and I could learn those after joining Ph.D.
Legal Bites: Your work on LGBTQI Rights is remarkable. What is your opinion on the landmark Navtej Singh Johar Judgement as a stepping stone for recognition for basic LGBTQI rights in India?
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: We all law students very well know that law is an instrument of social change and we also know Judges do make the Laws. So every judgment which has a direct relationship with social issues or cause always impacts a lot. Navtej Singh Johar Judgment was also one of that but I must clarify here that it was only related to Transgender, not to the rest of the LGB groups.
Lesbian, Gaya, Bisexual are related to Sexual Orientation whereas Transgender is an umbrella term related to sex and gender variations. Supreme Court in Navtej Johar recognizes to live in right to self-identified gender as well given recognition to the third gender. In its operating part, this judgment has given liability to the state for taking appropriate measures to provide the third gender an appropriate place in mainstream society.
It’s because of Navtej Judgment people started to talk about transgender. People started to differentiate between sex and gender. People started to search more about transgender life and their hardship. When I was pursuing my Ph.D. on this issue, I found people had so many misconceptions about Hijra, and members of Hijra society were also happy to live in a secretive way.
Now things are changing, due to the Navtej Judgment of 2014 and after law related to the protection of a transgender person in 2019. Their visibility at all walks of life has increased and their condition getting better day by day.
Legal Bites: In your opinion, what is the role of the youth today in recognizing the Human rights of the LGBTQI community?
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: In my sincere opinion, we either youth or elderly people shall have to recognize variations of nature and natural preference in the selection of partners. Either sex and gender variations or variations on the basis of sexual orientation all have the right to live with dignity. Neither homosexuality nor transgender/transsexuality is by choice. These are simply natural variations.
First and foremost we have to understand concepts related to LGBTQI. Our youth especially from rural backgrounds or small towns are having misconceptions about LGBTQI. Unaware situations make a hostile environment for LGBTQI person and sometimes it forces these persons to commit suicide. So a massive awareness drive requires among our members of mainstream society. So that LGBTQI people can enjoy all human rights as we are enjoying.
On the other side awareness among LGBTQI people is also required. They are unaware of the 2019 law and how can they avail of maximum benefits. It is pertinent to spread awareness among LGBTQI students as they started to feel extreme emotional distress i.e Gender Dysphoria or varied sexual orientation in Puberty.
Legal Bites: What message would you like to give the law students today?
Dr Mithilesh Narayan Bhatt: Hard work is still key to success and no alternative to it. So do hardworking, be humble, and humane. Another important virtue that is missing is patience.
Thank you so much!