An Interview with Dr. Aneesh V Pillai [Asst. Prof. Law at School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala]

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Dr. Aneesh V. Pillai is an Assistant Professor (Law) in School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala.

Prior to joining SLS he has worked as a faculty of law in Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

He has done his BA. LL.B (Hons.) Degree from School of Indian Legal Thought, Mahatma Gandhi University and LL.M from School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology.

He has been awarded Ph. D from CUSAT, Kerala, India. He has also qualified the State Eligibility Test (SET) for Law in 2013.

He is also serving the position of ‘Visiting Professor’ at Department of Law, Dhaka International University, Bangladesh.

He has been awarded the prestigious “Distinguished Young Faculty Award, 2017-18” from Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala.

He is the recipient of prestigious Prof. (Dr.) A. T. Marcose Memorial Gold Medal from Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) for securing First Rank in LLM. He is also the winner of K. C. Menon Memorial Gold Medal for the Best Student in LLM in the year 2008 from CUSAT, Kerala.

He has been selected by Asian Development Bank and IUCN Academy of Environmental Law to participate in the Regional Capacity Development Technical Assistance Strengthening the Capacity for Environment and Climate Change Laws in Asia and the Pacific Train – the Trainers Program, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Recently he has also presented a paper at Second IP & Innovation Researchers of Asia Conference held at University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.

He has published several articles in prestigious research journals and has also presented numerous papers at International and national conferences. He has also authored three books related to Surrogacy; Competition Law; and Cyber Laws.

1. Hello Sir, Please Tell Us Something About Yourself to Our Readers.

I am a Teacher, a Faculty in the Field of law; I consider myself a forever learner of law in this vast legal arena and attempting to inculcate the passion for learning among my students.

Myself Dr. Aneesh V. Pillai, hailing from a small beautiful place called Kadapra- Mannar, Central Travancore, in Kerala, popularly known as ‘Gods Own Country’. I completed my schooling from three different schools starting from Mozhassery MD LP School; MSM UP School and St. Mary’s High School, Niranam. Thereafter I completed my Pre-Degree Course (equivalent to present-day 11th & 12th Standards). I was lucky enough to study this course as this Course was subsequently abolished in my State. Subsequently, I had joined at School of Indian Legal Thought, MG University, Kottayam for BA LLB (Hons.).

I developed an interest in the law subjects from my second year and after completing Graduation, I further did my LL.M. from School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala. I completed my LL.M. in Human Rights and Consumer Law with First Rank and secured two Gold Medals Dr. A. T. Marcose Memorial Gold Medal & K. C. Menon Memorial Gold Medal.

Immediately after completing Post-Graduation, I got an opportunity to join academics and was selected in Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur as Assistant Lecturer Law. This was a learning ground for me and further developed my passion for learning and teaching. I worked in HNLU for a period of five years. During this time I could successfully complete my Ph. D as well as to clear State Eligibility Test for Law (Chhattisgarh). In 2014, I joined CUSAT as Assistant Professor in Law and came back to Kerala.

2. What interested you to take up Law as a profession?

I did my Pre –Degree in science and was good in mathematics. I wanted to join for a course which will make me a mechanical engineer. However, as I did not have the requisite percentage of marks for medical and engineering, I did not try for these courses. I gave entrance exam for BA LL.B (Hons.). Luckily I got selected for the course. Though initially I was not interested in this course, I was attending the classes regularly and once I started learning seriously I realized the value of this course and legal profession.

3. You Completed Your BA. LL.B (Hons.) from School of Indian Legal Thought, Kottayam, LL.M and Ph.D from School of Legal Studies, CUSAT, Kerala. Tell Us About Your Law School Journey and Experience.

As I started attending classes regularly and started learning seriously, I realized the value of the law course and legal profession. Thus I developed interest in the subjects and was fascinated by the various dimensions and facets of law. The credit goes to my ‘Gurus’ my revered teachers at both SILT and SLS, who taught the subjects in a wonderful interesting manner and helped to kindle interest in learning and understanding law. I consider myself blessed to be taught by the teachers at SILT and SLS who shared their rich knowledge, wisdom and experience, and guided me in this legal arena. It is only because of my teachers that I developed interest in learning law and research and teaching.

4. Sir, Which Areas of the Law Fascinated You the Most as A Law Student?

As a student, I was fascinated by The Judgments and interpretations of law….

As student in SILT and SLS, we had to do assignments on various topics and presentation on recent cases. As result I had taken some landmark Judgments as part of my assignments. Example, Keshavanand Bharti v. State of Kerala; Mandal Commission Case; TMA Pai Foundation Case etc. Though reading all these cases was difficult, I had to read these cases and in the process developed the passion for reading and trying to understand the Judgments and judicial process. The interpretation, the language and principles evolved in the cases …… it all fascinated me.

5. Did You Pursue Any Extracurricular Activities Such as Mooting, Debate, Seminar, Online courses, Publication and Sports? How did this Contribute to Your Holistic Development? Do You Think Such Activities Are Important in Law Student’s Life?

As a student, I was very active and took part enthusiastically in many of the events organized by the University. I took part in the national Level Moot Court Competition. I used to participate as a student member Organizing Committee in all the events. However, I feel I could have done more. Hence, my advice to the young students is, to learn as much as they can, to participate in the various events.

Yes, all such activities are very important for the overall development of students and for law students particularly. Today the law students need to be aware of the various facets of the law and its inter-action with society. The students need to develop their communication skills, critical analysis and thinking, convincing abilities, organizing capacity. All such activities help the students of law to develop and hone their skill for the legal profession.

6. Sir, If You Could List Out 5 Activities Which on A Scale of Priority, Should Be at The Top in Any Law Student’s School-Life, What Would Those Be?

(i) Moot Courts – According to me mooting is the life of law school. A student of law must participate in the moot court competitions, to get a feel of the interesting and dynamic aspect of legal profession, i.e. advocacy

(ii) Seminars and Conferences – This is necessary because a law student must know how to do research and collect data, analyze data and arrive at a conclusion. The seminar papers help to develop the critical thinking and analysis. The presentation of papers in a seminar/conference help to improve communication skills and overcome any stage- fear or inhibition in students.

(iii) Participating as member in Organizing Committees- This would help a student of law to develop the abilities of systematic approach, clarity and discipline which are necessary for legal profession.

(iv) Visiting Different Law Schools and participating in various Events- this is necessary to develop a broad outlook among the students, as well as nurture the rich talent which many students have, but may be unaware of, or not pursuing. Students can take part in numerous literary & debating events, cultural events, debates and quiz to get an extra-edge and knowledge.

(v) Sports Events- though I have mentioned this last, it is not the least. In fact Sports is one of the most important activities for a student to develop their physical and mental capacity. It inculcates, discipline, team-work, passion for hard work and success, analysis, and systematic work- all of which are very relevant for a law student.

7. Sir, How Did You Decide to Go into Academics? What skills do you think are required for a career of academics?

I decided to join academics because of my teachers who taught in SILT and SLS. They inspired me to take up this teaching profession and academics. For pursuing a successful career as a teacher we need good knowledge, sincerity, punctuality and zeal for learning and teaching. A teacher also needs to understand the psychology of the students, so as to help the students to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and to help the students to develop their talents and interest in law.

8. Tell Us About Your Teaching Methodology. Do You Encourage Students to Take Notes or Do You Engage Your Students in Active Class Participation?

I prefer to have a discussion and inter-active class. Active class participation is necessary as it helps to know whether the students understand the topic. It also aids in improving the critical thinking ability of the students and the skill of teachers to respond to the questions. Active class participation makes both teaching and learning interesting and joyful.

9. Do You Feel That the Legal Profession Has Significantly Changed from When You Decided to Study Law? What Are Some of The Changes That Have Positively Impacted the Profession and Legal Academia in Your Opinion?

I had taken admission in BA LL.B. in 2001 and cleared in 2006. I took admission in LL.M. in 2006 and cleared in 2008. Definitely, there have been many significant changes in the legal profession and academics. I feel today the law profession is broader in scope and has more interface with various other factors in society. The increasing modernization and growth of internet has opened up new avenues and challenges for the legal profession. The students also have more access to the material and information.

10. The Best Experience and Success Habit You Would Like to Share with Law Students to Encourage Them.

Always Be on Time even if no one is there to appreciate you.

Punctuality is most important for a law profession and the students must practice and develop this quality right from the college days.

Systematic Management is necessary to achieve clarity and success. The students must work in a systematic manner.

Don’t Procrastinate- whatever reading, preparation has to be done, the students must do. Never delay. Never wait for good time…do it at the earliest

11. Lastly, What Would Be Your Message to People Who Want to Take Up A Career in Teaching?

TEACHING IS NOT A JOB. TEACHING IS A PASSION.

Hence those who want to take up a career in teaching must be genuinely interested in the learning process as teaching involves continuous learning. Today teaching requires multi-dimensional approach and the teachers must be ready to learn newer aspects of law always.

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