An Interview with Dr. Daksha Sharma (Assistant Professor of Law at Bennett University, Greater Noida)

Dr. Daksha Sharma is working as Assistant Professor (Law) at the School of Law, Bennett University, Times Group, Greater Noida, Delhi (NCR). She graduated from the Indian Law Society (I.L.S.) Law College, Pune (B.S.L.-LL.B.2007-12 Batch) and holds Masters in International Law (LL.M.) from the Department of Law, University of Pune and Ph.D. in International Law from the Indian Law Institute (I.L.I.), New Delhi.

She is also working as a visiting faculty of law for conducting diploma classes in Alternate Dispute Resolution at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. Previously, she has worked as visiting faculty of Law (On Invitation) with Delhi Police Special Training Centre, Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi, as visiting Faculty of International Law (On Invitation) with Disha Law College, Raipur affiliated to Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh and as Assistant Professor of Law (Full-Time) at Amity Law School, Centre-II, Amity University, Noida, Delhi. She has co-authored a book with Senior Advocate, former law minister and former external affairs minister Mr. Salman Khurshid on ‘Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence’ which was published by Rupa Publications. She has also assisted Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.F. Nariman, Judge at Supreme Court of India in the Project on “Dissenting Judgments of the Indian Supreme Court from 1950 to 2016”. She has been invited as the Resource Person of Law by plethora of government organizations, NGOs, universities, colleges, academies and schools.

She studied at Modi Public School, Kota, Rajasthan till her Senior Secondary (SSC) exam and later on got admitted in K.V. National Defence Academy (K.V.N.D.A.), Pune, Maharashtra for pursuing studies in Humanities. In XII CBSE Board Examination (2006-07), she was awarded with 0.1 Merit Certificate in History by C.B.S.E. Board for reasons of outstanding academic performance. Also, she was awarded as the Best Student of K.V.N.D.A, Pune for the year 2006-07. She secured 3rd Rank in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) in AISSCE 2006-07 conducted by C.B.S.E. Delhi and was honoured with Sakaal Young Achievers’ Award for academic excellence.

While pursuing the Five Years Integrated Law Course (B.S.L.-LL.B.) from I.L.S. Law College, Pune, she topped Pune University for the two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010 and secured Fourth and Seventh rank in the year 2007 and 2011 respectively. Considering her meritorious performance, I.L.S. Law College, Pune has awarded her with its most prestigious ‘S.Y. Abhyankar Scholarship’ in the year 2011. Also, she has secured Second position in Pune University in LL.M exams (2012-14) and qualified UGC-NET in her maiden attempt in 2013.

She has successfully completed P.G. Diploma in International Environmental Law from the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL), New Delhi and also holds Diploma in Cyber Laws from Asian School of Cyber Laws (ASCL), Pune. She also pursued Certificate Course in Intellectual Property Rights (I.P.R.) from World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Geneva. Being an enthusiastic academician, author as well as a lawyer, she has organized and participated in numerous seminars, conferences, training programs, winter school, summer school and workshops as speaker, delegate, master of ceremonies and listener and has several research paper publications to her credit.

By dint of her legal acumen and research skills, she has won various Inter/National/ State level moot court competitions and research paper writing competitions in the field of International Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Family Law. She was the active member of Legal Aid Cell of I.L.S. Law College, Pune from 2009 to 2012 and participated and directed various street plays for spreading legal awareness in the society.

She has worked as Assistant Professor of Law (Full- Time) with Amity Law School, Centre-II, Amity University, Noida, Delhi (NCR) for one year wherein possessing commendable leadership skills, she innovated and pioneered National Med-arb Competition and organized it successfully for the first time in India in 2015. She ardently believes that Alternate Dispute Resolution Methods should be encouraged to offload the burden of the courts and to meet the ends of justice in a cost-effective and time-bound manner. Under her able leadership and guidance, Medarb Competition gained significant popularity among law students all over India and was organized twice at the National level in Amity University during her tenure.

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

I am Dr. Daksha Sharma based out of New Delhi but a native of Kota, Rajasthan. I studied at Modi Public School, Kota, Rajasthan till Senior Secondary (SSC) exam and later on took admission in K.V. National Defence Academy (K.V.N.D.A.), Pune, Maharashtra for pursuing studies in Humanities. In XII CBSE Board Examination (2006-07), I was awarded with 0.1 Merit Certificate in History by C.B.S.E. Board for reasons of outstanding academic performance. Also, I was awarded as the Best Student of K.V.N.D.A, Pune for the year 2006-07. I secured 3rd Rank in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) in AISSCE 2006-07 conducted by C.B.S.E. Delhi and was honoured with ‘Sakaal Young Achievers’ Award for academic excellence.

I graduated from the Indian Law Society (I.L.S.) Law College, Pune (B.S.L.-LL.B. 2007-12 Batch) and holds Masters in International Law (LL.M.) degree from the Department of Law, University of Pune. Later, I completed Ph.D. in International Law from the Indian Law Institute (I.L.I.), New Delhi. Also, I have successfully completed P.G. Diploma in International Environmental Law from the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL), New Delhi, holds Diploma in Cyber Laws from Asian School of Cyber Laws (ASCL), Pune and also completed a Certificate Course in Intellectual Property Rights (I.P.R.) from World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Geneva.

Presently, I am working as Assistant Professor of Law (Full-Time) at the School of Law, Bennett University, Times Group, Greater Noida, Delhi (NCR) and as a visiting faculty of law at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. Previously, I worked as Assistant Professor of Law (Full- Time) at Amity Law School, Centre-II, Amity University, Noida, Delhi (NCR), as a visiting faculty of Law (On Invitation) with Delhi Police Special Training Centre, New Delhi and as a visiting faculty of International Law with Disha Law College, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Also, I practised law for two years from 2017 to 2019 wherein I dealt with numerous cases in the Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court, lower courts, tribunals and commissions situated in Delhi.

While pursuing research, I co-authored a book with Senior Advocate, former law minister and former external affairs minister Mr. Salman Khurshid on ‘Spectrum Politics: Unveiling the Defence’ which was published by Rupa Publications. I also assisted Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.F. Nariman, Judge at the Supreme Court of India in the Project on “Dissenting Judgments of the Indian Supreme Court from 1950 to 2016”.

2. What Inspired You to Choose Law as Your Career? Why Law and Not Engineering or Medical Studies?

Right from the school days, I always had an inclination towards social science and language subjects like History, Economics, Political Science, Geography, English and Hindi because of which I decided to choose law as a career. As I told you, I hail from Kota which is famous for its engineering and medical entrance exam coaching institutes, there is little scope for studying humanities in that region. Moreover, there is a lack of encouragement and motivation for the students who choose humanities as a subject at my native place. Unfortunately, people are not much aware about the career options and opportunities which social sciences offer. Majority of the parents in that region want their children to become either doctor or engineer without even taking into consideration their potential, talent or taste for reading. This has become one of the reasons for rise of students’ suicide cases in Kota.

I always aspired to become a changemaker and set an example before such parents that even social sciences offer plethora of career opportunities and scope for holistic development of an individual. My decision of opting law as a career was well supported by my mother, Dr. Shashi Bala Sharma [Vice Principal (Retd.), Modi Girls College, Kota, Rajasthan]. I would also like to state here that I got tremendous motivation, support, inspiration and guidance to study Humanities and choose Law as a career from the principal and school teachers of K.V. National Defence Academy, Pune – Mr. N.D. Joshi, Ms. Keerti Sharma (also my aunt), Mr. D.D. Pathak, Mr. S.S. Bhat, Mr. Prabhakaran P.M., Ms. Gita R and Mr.Kaore.

3. You Completed Your B.S.L LL.B, from I.L.S. Law College, Pune and LL.M from Pune University and Ph.D from ILI, New Delhi. Tell Us About Your Law School Journey.

I came across India Today’s Ranking of Law Colleges in 2005 and found that I.L.S. Law College, Pune was ranked first in India for legal studies so I focused myself to take admission in I.L.S. Law College, Pune which is one of the oldest Law colleges in India (established in 1924) and has the history of producing three Chief Justices of India- Justice P.B. Gajendragadkar, Justice Y.V. Chandrachud and Justice E.S. Venkataramaih.

While pursuing the Five Years Integrated Law Course (B.S.L.-LL.B.) from I.L.S. Law College, Pune, I topped University of Pune for the two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010 and secured Fourth and Seventh rank in the year 2007 and 2011 respectively. Considering my meritorious performance, I.L.S. Law College, Pune has awarded me with its most prestigious ‘S.Y. Abhyankar Scholarship’ in the year 2011.

Soon after completing the B.S.L.-LL.B. course, I took admission in the Department of Law, University of Pune to pursue studies in International Law. I chose to pursue LL.M. from this institute because at that time it was offering an extensive as well as specialized course on LL.M. in International Law comprising of subjects like Public International Law, Private International Law, International Institutions and International Economic Law. Undoubtedly, I was taught LL.M. course by the best faculty members at the Department. To name few, Prof. Dr. TSN Sastry, Prof. Dr. Durgambini Patel, Prof. Dr. Dilip Ukey and Dr. Sonia Nagarale. Under their timely guidance, I was able to clear UGC-NET exam in my maiden attempt in 2013 and submitted my dissertation on ‘Judicial review of International Commercial Arbitral Awards in India: An Analysis’ in 2014. Also, I secured second position in the University of Pune while pursuing LL.M. in International Law.

After working with Amity Law School, Noida for one year, I took admission for the Ph.D. course in law at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi and successfully completed it in September 2020 under the supervision and guidance of Prof. Dr. Manoj Kumar Sinha, Director at the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi and expert in the field of International Law and Human Rights. The topic of my Ph.D. was ‘Streamlining the Process of Intercountry Adoption in India: A Critical Study’.

I would say that my journey of learning the law in all these three renowned institutes was challenging and ever-evolving. The institutes provide identity to the individual, networking opportunities and support us in the overall professional growth and development.

4. How important do you think mooting or any co-curricular activity is in shaping one’s future career in law?

In the law colleges, plethora of activities like moot court competitions, ADR competitions, seminars, conferences, workshops, research paper writing competitions, judgment writing competitions, debates, mock parliament, MUNs etc. are organized for engaging the law students constructively. All these activities are student-centric, so I believe that a law student should benefit maximum by becoming part of such activities in colleges. During my college days, I participated in all such co-curricular activities and won various Inter/National/ State level moot court competitions and research paper writing competitions in the field of International Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Family Law. I was also the active member of Legal Aid Cell of I.L.S. Law College, Pune from 2009 to 2012 and participated and directed various street plays for spreading legal awareness in the society.

As a law faculty also, I always encourage students to participate in mooting and co-curricular activities. While working with Amity Law School, Amity University, Noida,  I innovated and pioneered National Med-arb Competition and organized it successfully for the first time in India in 2015. Medarb Competition gained significant popularity among law students all over India and was organized twice at the National level in Amity University during my tenure.

5. Right After Graduating, You Went for LL.M.  What Was Your Motivation Behind Pursuing LL.M.? When Did You Finally Decide That You Need to Do Masters?

After completing Five Year B.S.L. LL.B. course, I felt the need for specialization in one law subject so as to achieve expertise on it. Hence I chose the course of LL.M. with specialization in International Law which offers tremendous opportunities both at the national as well as the international level. I decided to pursue Masters right after getting the final results of the LL.B. course. Also, while making the decision to pursue LL.M., I researched about the course content offered by various universities in my subject of choice and then selected the institute for LL.M. studies.

6. What Do You Like Best About Teaching? What Is the Best Thing About Being A Professor and What’s the Worst?

The best thing about being a law professor is that I can express my socio-legal views on various platforms like seminars, conferences, workshops, debates, discussions, guest lectures, awareness programs conducted by academic institutions, government organizations, NGOs, media etc which get the maximum outreach both at the national as well as international level. Also, I gain immensely from the exchange of knowledge during such programs which help me to learn and understand law in a new way every time.

I feel that seeing the best and the worst in a situation is a matter of perception, so I always put my efforts to make the best out of the worst situation. According to me, the scope of improvement in the profession of law teaching is that even full- time law professors should be allowed to practice law before the various courts/tribunals/commissions of the country just like the United States so that the gap between the theory and practical learning of law diminishes. Law professors are one of the important stakeholders of the legal system, therefore every opportunity should be provided to them to become a part of ‘law in action’. This issue should be taken up with the Bar Council of India seeking an amendment to its Rule 49 which prohibits full-time salaried employees from practising in courts.

7. Madam, Do You Feel That There Are Differences Between Students Of ‘Elite’ Law Schools and Students from Other Law Colleges and Traditional Universities?

Every student is unique and talented in one way or the other. According to me, if one understands how to read and interpret a law correctly, then it does not matter which law school he/she is coming from. Learning law is not restricted to the four walls of the classroom only but it starts when you read numerous law journals, law books, legal treatises, case reporters, law magazines etc. and start interactions with various advocates, judges, professors, bureaucrats, law- makers, law firm associates, law firm partners, in-house counsels, law officers and other members of the legal fraternity during various programs such as internships, legal- aid activities, seminars, conferences, workshops etc. Also, I feel that inter-disciplinary learning should be encouraged among the law students so that they can appreciate the impact of subjects like sociology, history, economics, political science, psychology, medical sciences, philosophy etc. on law. This will certainly provide them with an all round perspective of the law and the legal systems.

8. Could You Please Give Young Readers Certain Tips on Excelling in Academics? As A Teacher What Tips Do You Give to Your Students for Proper Understanding of a Subject?

Hard work, sincerity, punctuality, perseverance, patience, optimisim, courage, openness to new ideas are some of the virtues which one must imbibe in order to excel in academics. In order to have a proper understanding of a law subject, one should read the authorities on the subject, related case-laws and journals. Also, one should always create a room for analytical and critical thinking for understanding the subject.

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

My best experience lies in the recognition which I get for my efforts in the field of law at various platforms provided by the government organizations, NGOs, academic institutions, media and other entities. The success habit which a law student should develop is to remain alert, aware, expressive, punctual, sincere, hardworking, coherent, logical, analytical and critical in approach. As law is ever-changing, therefore the need arises to keep oneself abreast with the latest developments in law and various other disciplines.

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

For prospective law professors, my message is that always remain a motivational force for your students. With motivation, timely guidance and personal attention, students can achieve excellence in their career. A teacher always grows with his students so encourage them for becoming better human beings first and then the professionals. A teacher has the power to change the mindsets of the people by his/ her conduct and give right direction to the purpose of life of the students. A law professor contributes significantly in the growth and development of the nation as well as the globe and shapes the society by producing best advocates, judges, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, in-house counsels, law officers etc who can regulate the course of law for the betterment of the individuals and the society at large. At the end, I would like to convey my sincere regards and best wishes to all those who have taken up the task of nation-building in hand.

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