Professor Srikrishna Deva Rao is an eminent teacher and scholar in criminal law and access to justice. He joined as Vice-Chancellor of National Law University Delhi on 24th September, 2020. He is former Vice-Chancellor of National Law University Odisha from 2014 to September, 2020. Prof. Rao has been a Fulbright scholar in the year 2018 and he was invited to visit various universities in United States of America where he had the privilege to visit 14 institutions on behalf of the Fulbright foundation. Prof. Rao had the distinction of working with five prestigious law universities in India for the past three decades: National Law School of India University, Bangalore; NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; Gujarat National Law University, Gandhi Nagar; National Law University Delhi and National Law University Odisha.
He joined NLU Delhi in the year 2010 as Registrar and Professor of Law. He made significant contribution to the growth and progress of NLU Delhi in its initial days and specially in the area of legal aid and clinical legal education. 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 (2007-10). He was also Member of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) Committee in 2018 to design the curriculum for four mandatory clinical courses. He was invited to be a Visiting Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2012 and again in 2013 at School of Oriental & African Studies, SOAS, London.
He has been very actively engaged in human rights teaching and research and was sponsored by the NHRC in 1994 to participate in Human Rights Course at International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France and later also interned with International Committee of Red Cross, Geneva. His major areas of research are in criminal law and criminal justice administration, where he has contributed to significant research in preventing custodial deaths. The Supreme Court of India borrowed few of his ideas and observations on custodial deaths in the land mark, D.K. Basu case in 1997. (See, Rao’s article, “Let us speak for the dead and Protect the Living” (IRCT/RCT Journal, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1995.)
His close collaboration with research projects of UKERI, UNDP, Law Commission of India, Ministry of Law and Justice etc., were very significant. Prof. Rao also received recently, the highest award in the field of Criminology – “Kumarappa – Reckless Award” for his outstanding contribution in criminal justice education in India by the Indian Society of Criminology (ISC), Chennai in February 2020. Prof. Rao has been contributing to the development of teaching, research and institution building.