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Prof. Srikrishna Deva Rao

Professor of Law

Ph.D. in Law – University of Delhi

M.Phil. in Law – NLSIU, Bangalore

LL.M. (Criminal Law); LL.B.; B.Sc. – Kakatiya University

Professor (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao is the former Vice Chancellor of National Law University Delhi and an eminent teacher and scholar in criminal law and access to justice.

Professor Rao is an institutional builder and has made significant contributions to the growth and expansion of multiple nascent institutions in India. He has previously been the Vice-Chancellor of National Law University Odisha (2014 – 2020), Registrar of National Law University Delhi (2010 – 2014), Founding Director of School of Law, IGNOU (2007 – 2010), and Dean of the Gujarat National Law University (2004 – 2007).

Professor Rao’s areas of specialisation are criminal law, juvenile justice, human rights and clinical legal education. In his over three decades-long academic career, in addition to NLU Delhi, NLU Odisha and GNLU, he has taught at NLSIU, NALSAR and the University of Delhi.

Professor Rao has been instrumental in institutionalizing legal aid and legal empowerment in India. The Land Rights Paralegal Programme of Andhra Pradesh state was an offshoot of his course on Legal Aid and Public Interest Litigation at NALSAR, Hyderabad in 2003. He developed a specialized Diploma in Paralegal Practice at Indira Gandhi National Open University in 2009 during his tenure as Director of the School of Law at New Delhi. He also initiated the Bachelor of Vocational program in Access to Justice at NLU Odisha. Professor Rao was also a Member of the Committee of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in 2018 to design the curriculum for four mandatory clinical courses.

Professor Rao has been actively engaged in human rights teaching and research and was sponsored by the National Human Rights Commission in 1994 to participate in Human Rights Course at International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France and later also interned with the International Committee of Red Cross, Geneva.

Professor Rao is currently the Chairperson of the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Law, constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to recommend reforms in the India’s criminal laws in a principled, effective and efficient manner.

Professor Rao is a Fulbright Scholar and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Washington and the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow at the Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia. He is a recipient of the Kumarappa-Reckless, the highest award of the India Society of Criminology (ISC) for his contribution to teaching, research and administration in criminal justice education and has also received the Dr. B. S. Haikerwal and Prof. Sushil Chandra Award from ISC.

The Supreme Court of India in DK Basu v. State of West Bengal, (1997) 1 SCC 416 borrowed some of his ideas and observations on custodial deaths from his article, Let us speak for the Dead and Protect the Living published in 1995.

Professor Rao is currently a Standing Committee member of the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India. He has previously been a member of the UGC Expert Committee in Law to Transform Legal Education in India. He was also a member of the Ministry of Law and Justice Committee for implementing Judicial Impact Assessment in India.

He has undertaken several research projects with the Law Commission of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO), UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKERI), Indian Medical Association and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.