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14 July 2010

Think of those days when you were in your final year of law school and you dreamt of a job / placement in a firm which paid, if not much, just about 50k, and you thought you will rule this world with all the money and the charisma that you would carry around you. You dreamt of this one hot shot lawyer in the firm, ready to impress, if not the clients, at least a hand full of people (ladieeeess!) whom you think would watch you the moment you have stepped into the firm. You would calculate the rate at which you would grow within the firm. By 5 years you would have to (have to!!) have a swanky BMW; by another 5 years you will be a partner and you will have this awesome flat in a posh colony; and ofcourse you would be married by then (most just miss this bit). Life is set, you would be happy that you took up law as a career option. Now there is no turning around, and you are ready to enter the world of corporate lawyers.


Well, that said, you did get a job in the firm, the life seemed all set. Your dreams are following you and you are in command. Work from now on! And not just work but hard work, so you would climb the ladder of the home bread firm (atleast that what you thought) in a short, very short period of time. You would spend days and nights in the firm to get your way through the top. Day after day, month after month, you worked.. you thought that your hard work was being noticed.. though you spend more than half the day in your smoke breaks and goofing around the firm, you spent nights cribbing that you have shit loads of work dumped on you. You sometimes even thought you were indispensible and you went on and on.


And there… the appraisals approach. You start discussing with your colleagues, always sure that the boss will not give you a good appraisal (most of the time, if not always, you have a negative mindset). The only topic of discussion has been your appraisals. You have discussed that in office, while partying, during your daily lunches… and somehow mentally prepare yourself for the discussion you would have with your boss.


And then… it happens! You would be appreciated with ifs and buts, and that you have potential and you should just put in a little (very little) more hard work and you shall reap the benefits. This happened year after year and you discussed it smoke break after smoke break (and that was atleast 20 times a day??). You complained how the firm is against you, how your bosses aren’t putting in the best efforts to promote you within the team and how they are eating into your bonuses. But such is life and so, u think and move on.


Fast forward >>


You are four years in the firm (if you haven’t switched) and you are now desperately expecting that you will get promoted to a senior associate (an unwritten rule that if you have spent fours years you are ready to be promoted to an senior associate and that is without acknowledging the fact that you have done nothing extraordinary in the past four years). And then the day comes, you are invited in your boss’ cabin. You are nervous but you have thought about all that you would say if you wont get promoted. You perhaps even planned that you would just resign right there and then thinking that there in no dearth in jobs in the legal arena. And then…


Boss: You know how the year has been. Very hard year it has been for us. (we have just managed to actually double our profits.. but you don’t get a dime.. you did nothing.. it was us who did all the work…you morons)…


…And life still goes on! No matter what, you are still a lawyer and still earning shit loads of money and still partying hard….. as the Crow flies… or NOT ;)

11 July 2010


a) This post has been written based upon situations seen and felt, and may not necessarily reflect law school culture in any particular law school specifically.

b) The situations mentioned herein are not meant to offend anyone. They are purely hypothetical.


‘What is ethical may not necessarily be unlawful, and what is lawful may not be necessarily ethical.’


Law school over the four years that I have seen witnessed and felt it has often brought about certain negation points or points where choices are made, decisions are taken and issues have been resolved in ways which bring about the question of the existence of ethics within law school.

Ethics can be a subjective concept, and therefore, may vary from person to person, however, through a series of instances given below which have been divided into specific headings under which an explanation has been given through examples, common issues arising in law school have been attempted to be analysed:


1. Extracurricular activities - Extracurricular activities particularly at the selection stage to represent a university in an event brings up questions related to ethics and how transparent the selection procedure is.

For example, Moot court competitions are based on rank lists set out through internal selections. Yet, rank lists are overlooked and people try to make sure that compatibility is given primary importance while sending across a team.

Ethical viewpoint: People engage in dealings, manipulations etc. to make sure that compatibility issues don’t arise. A rank 1 may be made a researcher because the rank 10 may be close to the convener of the Moot Court Committee or probably because. This isn’t exactly ethical on the part of Rank 10.

Loophole: The Moot Court Committee rules do not prescribe how the moot courts need to be allocated. Therefore, compatibility comes into question and people take advantage of knowing people in the right place and the right time. Period.

Have any rules been broken?



 2. Attendance- Irrespective of who a person is, where he is from and what he/she does while at law school, attendance is an issue which he/she has to encounter at some point of time or the other while at law school. Students have to deal with it in varying degrees of intensity depending on how severe their case is.

For example, if a person falls short of the 75% cut off to sit for an exam, what does he do?

Ethical Viewpoint: The person’s options to make good the shortage to sit for the exam range from fake medical certificates to false claims in committee work (Jugaad) to sucking up to the faculty. Ethically, this does not definitely sound right since the person is trying his best to make sure a claim which isn’t right gets pushed forward.

Loophole: The examination committee rules may or may not permit such attendance claims to be worked out. So, claims are often adjusted according to the whims and fancies of the people in question and the people in power.

Have any rules been broken?



3.Recruitment- This is an all time favourite topic of most students and amidst the lofty packages offered and the recruitment details put forth by colleges, there always arises a question as to how transparent a campus recruitment process is and how best can bias not creep into the campus recruitment process.

For example, a recruitment committee convener may be close to a person ‘A’ who is applying to firm ‘X’ through campus recruitment. Firm ‘X’ happens to recruit only those people who have interned with them previously. ‘A’ has surpassed the necessary allowance of attendance granted for internships while skipping college in the final year and yet, gets eligible to write the exam.

Ethical Viewpoint: ‘A’ has explained his case to the recruitment committee convener. The attendance is granted to ‘A’ in order to facilitate him to get recruited and also to ensure that Firm ‘X’ can appear in the list of recruiters for the recruitment brochure. But, a flipside to this is that only ‘A’ has clandestinely availed of this advantage and the same treatment isn’t afforded to anyone else sitting for recruitment for Firm ‘X’ despite claiming for attendance for the exact same reason. This happens because ‘A’ happens to be close to the recruitment convener.

Loophole: The recruitment committee has fulfilled its objective of making sure that ‘A’ gets recruited and also to make sure that Firm ‘X’ becomes a recruiter. In order to do this the recruitment committee relies on the words ‘as it deems fit’ in the internship rules while considering attendance claims.

Have any rules been broken?



4. Marks- This category could most certainly apply to autonomous institutes where the syllabus and marking criteria is completely in the hands of the faculty.  

For example, ‘A’, who is a brilliant student, is marked very badly despite having written an almost symmetrical answer to that of ‘B’, another brilliant student who is marked excellently. But, there is a background check which needs to undertaken here, ‘A’ had questioned the faculty’s knowledge with regard to updating of the latest position in the subject matter taught and hence, is facing the repercussions.

Ethical Viewpoint- The faculty member may or may not have bias against ‘A’ but he/she repeatedly pesters A and makes sure he does not get adequate marks in the subject in addition to recommending strict action to be taken against him from other faculties.

Loophole: The faculty member is answerable only to the authorities in question and his/her accountability to students is limited and to a large extent is a by product of the rapport he/she shares with the students.

Have any rules been broken?



5. Secrecy- This, by far is the most common feature seen in law schools. While, there is no doubt that each man is meant for himself and should make sure that opportunities are never missed, sometimes, secrecy leads to hilarious and awkward situations which make heads turn and point in different directions as a blame game begins.

For example, in a debate competition, a couple of people represent the college while the college doesn’t even know the existence of such a debate or about these two people.  The invite is kept to themselves since they receive it on mail and so that no internal selection takes place in college. The college gets the official invite after the aforementioned unofficial team has left and sends out its official team after a hurried selection process. As it turns out, in the same debate competition, the official team faces off against the unofficial team with utter confusion arising as to which team is actually supposed to represent college.

Ethical Viewpoint- What the two people did was fine since they did not jump the selection procedure and left for the competition before the internal selections process. But, at the same time not informing the existence of the debate to the appropriate committee was not ethical on their part.

Loophole- The committee rules governed internal selection procedures within the college only with respect to invites they received. It wasn’t obligatory on the part of the unofficial team to inform the committee of the existence of the debate.

Have any rules been broken?



Therefore, there always arise instances where ethics are often compromised or brushed aside in the name of competency or opportunities. While, this has worked for temporary phases at law school, people often fail to realize that the interplay between competency, opportunities and ethics is something which by default manifests itself at some point either today or in the near future. Most people, resort to means like the ones mentioned above and they will continue to resort to doing so unless and until more transparency and accountability arises among law schools at large. Few law schools, do possess this transparency, and for the others that don’t, people will continue doing what they currently do and may even probably carry the same attitude in their professional lives.   



06 July 2010

Almost everyone around the globe is aware of the catastrophe that happened in Bhopal but there are a very few people who actually know what were the legal lacunae involved in the Bhopal case. The battle was lost before the trial and the victims were betrayed at every step of legal proceedings.

The Battle in United States

At that time Indian Law had no provision of punitive damages to effectively deal with the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The Government of India through an act appointed itself the sole representative of the victims for any legal course with Union Carbide with regard to compensation. The act empowered the government with the exclusive rights to represent and act on behalf of the survivors/victims of the gas leak. The corollary was that the victims could not seek legal redress of their own.

Consequently, the Government decided to approach the U.S. District Court to seek justice. The government justified its stand mainly on three grounds:-

  1. The US courts could grant higher compensation as compared to the one likely to be granted by the Indian Courts.
  2. It believed that the parent multinational company Union Carbide could be tried effectively in US.
  3. The Indian Courts were incompetent to handle mass tort litigation.

Ironically the government ignored the operating principle in US according to which a suit could be maintainable in an American Court only in cases where the damages or injuries occur on American Soil, to American residents or the dependents of American residents. Alternatively, if the prosecution would have proved a design defect in the plant, the suit could have been entertained by the American Courts. But since it was established that the gas leak happened because of poor maintenance, the parent company was not held liable in the US courts.

US Court’s Decision

The US court ruled that UCIL was a separate entity, owned, managed and operated exclusively by Indian citizens in India. Carbide was ordered to submit to the jurisdiction of Indian Courts; nevertheless it could dispute the verdict rendered by the Indian Courts before its domicile courts. Initially the government of India had filled a suit claiming 3 billion Dollars which could have been achieved only through attachment of UCC’s assets in the US.

The Indian Mistakes

A significant order was passed by Justice Deo of Bhopal District court which directed UCC to pay Rs. 350 crores as interim relief. The order being  interim could not be decreed. And without a decree UC could and did refuse to pay it.

On February 14, 1989 the Supreme Court directed Union Carbide to pay up US $ 470 million in “full and final settlement” of all claims, rights, and liabilities arising out of the disaster in 1984. The victims and legal heirs of the dead, were not informed  before this settlement took place.

None of the courts ever directed UCC to reveal any epidemiological information that it had. It refused to render any toxicological information as it formed an integral part of its “trade secrets”. It denied that the gases released during the disaster could cause any adverse health effects in the victims. Moreover, UCC was never ordered to clear the toxic material present on the disaster site which it could have been under the “polluter pays” principle evolved in Oleum Gas Leak Case.

The SC refused to consider UCC liability as unquestionable and absolute. The principle of absolute liability was never evoked by the SC. According to this theory where an enterprise is engaged in a hazardous or inherently dangerous activity and an accident in such an operation results in the escape of a toxic gas, the enterprise is strictly and absolutely liable to compensate all those who are affected by the accident, and such liability is not subject to any of the exceptions under the rule of strict liability.

SECTION 304 TO 304(A)

Originally the charge sheet was filed under Section 304 of IPC i.e. culpable homicide not amounting to murder specially paragraph 2 which deals with the accused having the knowledge that the act would cause death. The charge sheet clearly stated that the UCC plant in Bhopal was deficient in safety and design measures. It further stated that the management was aware of these defects and their probable consequences but it failed to inform the district administration.  In 1996 the two judge SC bench held that the charges under Section 304 were not made out and the accused could only be charged under Section 304(A) for causing death by rash or negligent act. Justice Ahmadi while delivering the judgment observed,

“Even assuming that it was a defective plant and it was dealing with a very toxic and hazardous substance like MIC the mere act of storing such a material by the accused … could not even prima facie suggest that the concerned accused thereby had knowledge that they were likely to cause the death of human beings.”

Hence the diluted charges ensured that accused could now be awarded merely a maximum punishment of 2 years and not 10 years.

How was the UCC benefited?

The long trial benefited UCC in various ways. First of all, the fear of length prompted the government to enter into a swift settlement. Secondly, the adverse public pressure on the government also evaded with time. Lastly, UCC saved interest on the sum it finally had to pay.

Are we still left with a remedy?

1. A curative writ petition must be filed under article 32 r/w 142 of the Constitution to set aside the 1996 judgment; seeking the relief of a fresh trial under Section 304 Pt 2 of IPC.

2. An appeal to the sessions court under Section 377 of CrPc on ground of inadequacy of sentence because of lesser charge under Section 304 A IPC can also be filed.

3. Pursuing Extradition is significant for the effective trial of Warren Anderson.

4. Civil Liability of both the government and the UCC needs to be re-addressed. Cleaning of the affected area, proper medical treatment of the victims and distribution of compensation are some of the vital steps that need to be taken.


Bhopal Gas Tragedy is aptly referred to as the night that never ended. The long legal battle benefited none but the accused. The victims were continuously victimized by the fluctuating judgments rendered in the country. The media, bar, bench, authorities, central and state governments all failed to effectively fulfill their responsibilities.

“The greatest disaster in India was not on day of Bhopal Gas Tragedy but on the occasion, when we failed to protect our own countrymen and decided to sell the living dead to a multinational for some dollars.”


The article is a duplication of author's post on her blog www.legaldrift.com.

28 June 2010

This is an article for all those students aspiring to get through CLAT 2011 and onwards. Of course many many many articles have already been written giving tips to all you guys out there but I’ll try to make this one different from the ones you have already read. Also I will try to make sure to provide tips that you can easily follow.

In this article let’s talk about two of the most talked about sections in this year’s paper-GK and Maths. GK because it was too random and Maths because it was too easy.


As you all must have heard, read, probably seen-the type of GK questions were extremely random, like many students said, “we really didn’t see the point in such questions being asked.” Asking questions like-

 when was the first university set up in pune?

 When did Akbar die?

 When was Prophet Muhammad born?

What was the name of the group of islands that Darwin went to conduct some experiments on birds?

Like I said very random-seriously, what exactly were we being tested on?

Now since we have already attempted the CLAT, all we can do is sit and whine about it. But what the future candidates have to do is find out how to come out with flying colours despite the questions being random and ‘crappy’.

One problem with random questions is that you have no idea where to study about them from. I can’ t give you a foolproof method, but i can tell you something that i did which helped me A LOT.

I have this habit of reading stuff written like everywhere; say on the advertisement boards, on the labels of foodstuffs, in public transports, behind the buses, everywhere. I do this almost always when I’m travelling alone. I stay in Mumbai. So I travel by local trains a lot. Once I read this near the door-travelling on the footboards or roof of trains is an offence under section 156 of the railways act, 1989.

Also there’s this thing about smoking-punishable under section 167 of the railways act, 1989.

What happens with reading stuff written here and there is, you don’t have to consciously memorise all of it like you would do from a book. It gets stuck in your head and if and when you need it (during the exam) it comes to you very easily.

Now all i am saying is when you know that within a year or two you are going to appear for a national level exam which asks 95 questions (almost 50% of the paper) whose nature is “anything under the sun”, why not read anything and everything you get to read? You never know what might help you!

Whenever you see a book, read the title and its author. Just read, don’t memorise. It automatically gets set in your brain.

When you watch a movie, take a look at the director’s name and the music director’s name, along with checking out who the actors in it are.

I’m sure all of you very easily remember lyrics of various songs, why not remember the lyricist’s name too?

Whenever you go anywhere, to a movie, to a park, on the road, to a zoo, anywhere-there are always these signs warning you about various things. Take a look at what is prohibited under what act. Trust me it’s not at all difficult. I’m a person who hates memorising stuff, so i wouldn’t be giving you this advice had i not found it to be very easy myself.

Abbreviations-whenever you read some abbreviation, try to find out what it stands for. Ask people, search on the net. My easy funda - I send an sms to 9773300000(it’s google on mobile) with the abbreviation in it. I get the reply in a jiffy. Make GK a part of your everyday living. It takes no extra time, almost no extra energy. All it needs is a little bit of enthusiasm from your side, and some money to send that sms too but you can cover that by subscribing to these various free sms packs. Hell, I think you already have! J And you can literally learn a new thing everyday.

 Actually the above exercise can be used to find out the meanings of words too.

Now, people-whenever you read, see or hear about any award, or some post of some company, say chairman, always try to find out 3 things about it, actually 4-

  1. Which year did it start?
  2. Who was the first recipient? Or the position holder?
  3. Who is the latest recipient?
  4. And who is the second latest recipient?

Pay extra importance to the 4th question, because there’s this trend in CLAT-they always ask you about the second latest-almost always.

I could go on and on with these little little things that you could do, but then i also want to write about my favourite subject (seriously) –maths.


Well maths this year in CLAT was extremely easy. Much to the delight of all the students who slogged and slogged and slogged to try and understand what this subject full of numbers is all about??!!

Still, just because it was easy this year, there’s no guarantee it will be easy next year too. So you gotta practise. A lot. There’s no short cut to that. Practise so much that no question seems new to you in the exam. This isn’t IIT, so they aren’t going to ask you new questions (thank god for that!), so practise. Not just that, if you have practised a lot, you will also take lesser time solving those sums, and as you all know-time is the essence of all competitive exams.

One very important and very easy tip i would like to give you to increase your calculation speeds-addition, division, etc.

Whenever you are on the road-look at the number plates of the vehicles in front of you. Check their numbers out. Add their digits up. Subtract them from one another. Try to see which small numbers are those big numbers divisible by. The point of all this? Nothing. It increases your calculation speed.

This is something I used to do without really being aware of it-it became a habit. And believe me; I finished the 20 maths questions in CLAT 2010 in hardly five minutes. No kidding. And once you make a habit of it, it becomes interesting too!

Another advice-

Make a list of the squares of the first 30 numbers and cubes of first 15 numbers. Hang it up in your room. Keep looking at it everyday. Eventually it will all get set in your brain. And this helps a lot too.

Be very good and precise and quick with your divisibility tests.

Befriend numbers. Whenever you see them, anywhere, add them up, multiply them, divide them, and subtract them. No, don’t use paper and pen. Use your mind. It sharpens your mind, makes it quicker and also some studies suggest that a sharp mind keeps you young.


So try all these strategies. If and when anything else comes to my mind, I’ll post it here. And do give me your feedback.

All the best!

28 June 2010

Suave and dapper,

quick to flatter,

he knew his way,

and groveled all day,

loath to labour ,

he curried favour,

sly as he was,

he concealed all flaws.


His senior was portly,

and bald as a coot,

the hue of his face ,

bore semblance to soot.


When asked to report

the word of the court,

the languid lump

refused to yield.

The lordly senior,

in a regal tenor,

blustered and bragged:

"When I was your age,

I came, I saw,

though rustic and raw,

I mastered the Law."


To which the intern then replied:

"Why, of course,

you are the king,

the ideal foil

for a lesser being,

you are so handsome,

and orate so well,

blessed I am,

truth to tell."


The senior was flattered,

and pleased as punch,

he took the intern

out for lunch,

and once the duo

had their fill,

the lazy bum

was paid a princely sum!

22 June 2010


a)The India Today law school rankings have been a topic of constant debate over the years and for the most part, can be a redundant topic. However, do read on to see what is the best way in which a law school ranking system can be undertaken and who should undertake the same.                                                

b)The views espoused in this post are completely unbiased.                                

c)Expecting that students from colleges whose names appear in the top 10 list would be dead against criticizing the rankings, I would request objectivity on their part while reading the post so that a better ranking system by the BCI or any like governing body can be suggested.

The famous India Today ‘India’s best colleges’ rankings are back. And yet again, they have delivered according to their expectations. While more NLU’s have made it to the top 10 list this time around, which evidences the fact that a preliminary research to understand the system of the CLAT has been undertaken, the rankings have still been poorly researched and have been compiled according to convenience. Merely interviewing NLSIU and NALSAR Vice Chancellors while mentioning NLU Jodhpur as NLIU, Jodhpur on Rank 8 and bringing GNLU into Rank 9 while making its entrance exam as a separate one, distinct from the CLAT, again raises questions as to why India Today even makes the effort to rank law schools.

The India Today rankings have always been the most awaited college ranking system and on a closer look, it can be observed that apart from Law, other avenues of education are more deeply researched and are better compiled. It is based on a perceptual and factual scoring system which grades colleges on a pre determined scale.

Law has seen a recent surge in terms of awareness, exposure and development and therefore, college rankings have never been more important for a college student in India. But, dependability upon a ranking system has always been questionable.

In the US, the American Bar has almost by custom, made it a point to not participate in law school rankings, at times even stating that ‘these rankings are a misleading and deceptive, profit-generating commercial enterprise that compromises U.S. News and World Report's journalistic integrity." Standard factors considered for the ranking are placement, academic exposure, and selectivity in admission, faculty resources and expenditures. There was even a report (Maccrate Report) by the American Bar Association in 1992 to streamline the education system in 1992 which was met by vehement opposition by the top 14 law colleges appearing in the ranking list.

In the UK, The League Tables of British Universities published by various sources such as the Guardian, the Independent etc. is the most preferred ranking system. This ranking system is much more holistic with reliance not purely on academic/research oriented factors. The factors used to assess universities include not only the quality of research but other factors which are relevant to undergraduate students such as teaching quality, entry standards, drop out rates, student satisfaction and graduate job prospect. Even these rankings have been criticized for the varying weights given to various factors before they are actually published.

Coming back to India, the situation as stated above, suffers from a combination of multiple drawbacks. To begin with, factual errors such as stating the name of a law school incorrectly, speak volumes about how reliable these rankings are, in addition to this, law as a field requires specific criteria to be assessed for grading, Always, a common mode to assess law schools has been through ‘Placement’, and this gets reflected in the ranking as well since perceptual criteria would be based on it. Therefore, most people only look at the placement and how compatible the vice chancellor of the college is with recruiters and the media, completely missing the issue as to whether a student is holistically developed in the environment he is given.

 Other factors mentioned are also very abstract and subjective and don’t really indicate the true picture, for instance, student care, exposure and quality of academic input in colleges apart from NUJS, NALSAR or NLSIU would always be questionable since they are older and better equipped, at least as far as general perception goes(subject to correction of course). Therefore, there exists no authenticity on which any of the scores given to a law school for a particular aspect mentioned can be verified. Most students would rely on a magazine ranking to decide where exactly they are heading blinded by rankings which by itself are unsure of what they portray. For instance, University Law College, Bangalore could provide better academic input in terms of the number of guest lectures and legal luminaries who teach students compared to any of the newer NLU’s. Reputation of a college in a law school ranking can be adjusted at will through means most people are aware of but this adjustment of reputation comes at the comforting convenience of a student taking admission into a highly ranked law school even though it does not offer what he may require.

The Bar Council of India has undergone a sea change in terms of the number of reforms it has introduced. The announcement of the Bar Exam was a brilliant move, so was the plagiarism software. A ranking system devised by the Government based on factors determined solely by the Law Ministry to be released on a periodical basis can be the best means to assess the true caliber of law schools. India can be a first in this regard, and it would go a long way in helping students choose the best college according to their convenience and requirement. Not every student looks for a placement, students interested in research could go to a law school which is best suited for research, if the ranking does rank colleges properly in each criteria instead of stating that a college is ranked 5 and randomly puts rank 5 in all categories mentioned. Government approved ranking systems do exist in other fields such as engineering and students taking up courses in Engineering have the dual benefit of being better informed and better equipped; Law too can be a field which can be benefited almost immediately from the same.

Here’s the link to the India Today Law School Ranking

18 June 2010

Tug of war.......

Coming from a family of docs..it was like an obvious & pre-decided option for me to join medical school once i graduated from high school.  No one even  thought of  asking my opinion. But luck, fate or whatever has its way...things played out differently when i somehow miraculously managed to crack both the entrances e.i. either be in a white coat or in a black one.

Soon started the worst tug of war i have ever faced...on one side was my hand me down faith on the medical profession   on the other hand was a less trodden path of law. Needless to say the people with whom i shared my DNA with preferred the first option. but somewhere down a small squeaking voice kept poking that faith. Like what am i going to do after mbbs.. i hate blood and the smell of spirit send me into a vomiting phase. what is the use of a doctor who is even more scared than a patient ???  On the other hand law stood firm. but as usual with a twist. To describe myself with the kindest words i am kindda a sort person who is best described as an introvert. How am i going to speak up for the rights for myself let alone others ????????? Neither side has a majority. 

Whatever.. i know you might be thinking what a physcho this girl is!!! Well cant help it... 

So now my tug of war is still on hold waiting for some miracle to sort me out.....



17 June 2010

Note: This article is not meant to demean those who did well in CLAT 2010. It's a purely personal opinion of the test.  

Well, I resisted dissing this whole CLAT rigmarole for a while because I did not want to sound like I was moaning and making excuses if I didn't get through. But it turns out that I did well enough in the paper. 

So now it's time to rip that horrendous test to bits.

Seriously, what were they thinking? That they'd pick the best lawyers in the nation based on a set of dates and some ridiculous facts? When pyorrhea features in the logic section, you have much to be afraid of.

I wrote the LST mocks. They were "tough" too. But such a different kind of tough. If you didn't score well in logic it was because you couldn't work it out, not because you didn't know the answer! If you scored badly over all, you blamed it on the fact that the paper was way too long to complete and that math was really tough (or something like that) not that you knew nothing. I'd much rather leave 5 questions undone than finish 20 minutes early and still not be able to better my paper.

Since when did we start measuring intellect by memory? For that matter, how do we even measure intellect? From which angle does CLAT test ANY of the skills required by a lawyer? Does it check one's ability to form opinions? NO. Does it check one's ability to write or speak coherently? NO. Does it really check one's knowledge of important matters of local, national or international concern? NO. (At least, this edition of the test did not.) Does it check whether the candidate has the strength of mind and the ethics that a judge or a lawyer requires? NO.

I finished that paper really early. Since there was no way I could add value to any of my answers, I counted the number of history questions asked. There were around 20 out of 50. I'm sorry, but knowing when the University of Bombay was established, which country hosted the 1970 Asian Games, which year Prophet Mohamed was born, which year Akbar died, etc. is not (under any circumstance) a test of one's aptitude for law.

I might sound bitter because I knew the answers to none of those questions but, trust me, even if I had got the highest score, I'd be saying this.

Add to all of this the fact that they do not give you the question paper (This, I'm afraid, I'll have to term as sheer schadenfreude.) so you have no means of knowing exactly how much to expect. And there ARE times when multiple answers make sense in critical reasoning but there is no way of knowing what the right answers are. See, they even refuse to let you learn from your mistakes!!

If I got into NALSAR, it's because I guessed well. I didn't get into NLSIU: it's because I didn't guess well enough.

Okay, I'll give myself a little more credit than that, but you get my flow.

14 June 2010

A lawyer's life is a tale to tell,

a story of strife and verbal duel,

with facts to fudge,

and an eagle eyed judge,

the robed fox ,

teases and talks.


A client once asked,

"My motives are masked,

and my deeds are dark,

will His Lordship hark,

when you bumble and bark?"

The lawyer groped, 

for an answer he hoped,

would please his client ,

and make him compliant.


He then replied,

to the client's delight,

"I will wax eloquent

to such a degree,

a seasoned delinquent

will walk free!"

This my friend,

was a lawyer's tale,

You've done well to lend

an ear so hale.

12 June 2010

Hi all, I am not here for a prize in the blogging competition. Its too late for that. I want to use this forum to reach out to as many of you as I can.

I am putting together a group of people who intend to make a difference by filing 7 RTI applications a week. Details have been put up here.

Please use this blog to bring to my attention issues you think are relevant and merit being taken up through the RTI route. Every week, I will publish here a summary of the RTI applications filed pursuant to communications on this blog.


10 June 2010

I'm a student - used in the most elastic sense - at an NLU.

Like most law schoolites I know, I've been reading Legally India with interest these last few months. Like all good websites, LI appeals to every mood of a law student. Taken too long a lunch break while interning at your legal sweatshop? Feeling guilty? Want to assuage that guilt by reading about Important Things like court orders, conveyances, mergers and stamp duties? Open up the Legal Pulse page and scratch your academic itch. Feeling lazy of a weekend afternoon? In the mood to make some popcorn and watch a K-serial?Open up the comment space on any blogpost on any blog on LI, and lo!
Welcome to the Great Inter-NLU Bitchfest.
It's true. Imagine - tens of law students and associates from a pan-Indian spectrum of law schools, gathered in one place with their metaphorical loincloths tightened and their metaphorical muscles oiled, ready and willing to sacrifice temper, dignity and (not least) grammar at that most holy of all altars - Validation on the Internet.

Validation of what and by whom, you ask? Validation by anonymous commenter Tintu (college unknown) to anonymous commenter Pintu (college unknown) that NLSIU is better than NALSAR.

Well! Everyone holding their breath in trepidation at NLSIU can sit down now! Everyone biting their knuckles, the suspense is ended! The battle is won! What your moot court trophies and Harvard Law Review papers, your placements and your festivals could not achieve, an anonymous argument on the internet has. These are people, you realise, who have taken a national competitive exam to secure a seat at institutes that blushingly revel in the title 'the IITs of law'. These intellectual powerhouses, these cerebral champions, cast aside their projects and their football games and their sitcoms,  their sutta-breaks and their siestas, their due diligence and their DRHP drafting, run to the closest telephone booths, don their red capes and red chaddis, and fly to Legally India to take offence and launch offense in defence of their beloved alma maters, whose existence and reputation (undoubtedly!) is entirely dependent on the result of these anonymous catfights.

The sheer futility of it is stunning.

But so is the hilarity. Which means I'm, for one, not complaining; I'm merely sitting back, balancing my bowl of popcorn more carefully on my potbelly, and watching the Kasautii Zindagi Kay of the internet.

(Which is not to say that Kian is Komolika, because Komolika was a mean and evil person with a taste for dramatic prints in sarees, whereas Kian is nice and hopefully does not wear sarees. )

(Kian is, however., the Ekta Kapoor of the internet, and for this I thank him profusely.)

Note - If you do not get sarcasm, kindly avoid this blogpost. Note 2 -NLS being better than NALSAR is a hypothetical example chosen at random, and of whose veracity I am not guarantor.

10 June 2010

Disclaimer: This obituary has been prepared on a presumption that Warren Anderson who is now 90 is likely to die soon, much to the relief (and yes, I mean relief) of all the victims of the gas tragedy of 1984 in Bhopal. This obituary can then potentially appear as a one page premium obituary which has been posted by the Indian justice system in a newspaper circulated at New York. Any resemblance to the above mentioned character is completely intended.



Warren Anderson was the former Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide, a company which had virtually colonized India for the second time around in the 1980’s. Anderson was always a good sport, always playing the cat and mouse game with me. While he lived comfortably in his Long Island home, my caretakers had facilitated his present carefree state through a series of events ranging from him being released on bail to him never being extradited for the heinous crime that he had committed . He was a tough taskmaster, and always made sure he knew the right people in power. My caretakers and him were the best of friends and their friendship was based on the principle of mutual cooperation with many gifts being exchanged in between them. While my caretakers, have done a lot for my benefit, ranging from vehemently opposing the entry of foreign law firms in India to being engulfed by media pressure to bring to trial molestation cases nearly 20 years after its inception, it is people like wise old Warren who have made me realize time and again that power speaks and absolute power speaks absolutely. He was a man who lived by principles, and these principles were based on the premise that Indian lives come cheap. I am grateful to him for making me realize that corporate manslaughter can never actually exist in principle and more importantly in practice, especially if the country happens to be a third world country. Let us all take a moment to remember the heinousness and heavy headedness that this great man of a powerful land exhibited. As I now watch the media pointlessly covering him non stop, let me take this opportunity to thank him for his most hallowed contribution till date- the absolute liability principle.  

May his soul never rest in peace.

With the worst of Regards,

The Indian justice system and its principles of justice, equity and good conscience.



08 June 2010

I have here in this blog intended to write and comment on the international legal perspective surrounding the flotilla incident but since it is difficult to comment on any aspect of International Law without analyzing the real or projected politics behind it, I wish to put this disclaimer, before continuing my blog, that any political or legal analysis here is purely for personal purpose, and I as the author of same, have no affiliation nor subscription to any political wing or ideology; neither to any organization which might have any commercial interest in such writing or ideas. This piece is intended to be purely innocuous analysis of the event, and not intended to hurt sensibilities of any individual, group of individuals or any kind of organization. And this holds true and applicable to my previous and future blogs too.


While the last piece analyzed and discussed the flotilla incident from the perspective of media reports from major (and prominent) channels, this piece I am writing tries to take in view a larger picture and takes into account the small but forceful voices which claim and try to convince that the picture is very different from what is portrayed for us to see. And these voices, mind my friend, cannot be ignored nor rejected.

Some channels of media have suggested on the possible connection of the flotilla and its members from the terrorist organization and it has been alleged that they have been carrying arms and ammunitions to the Gaza Strip, where the naval blockade and embargo still exists. In fact some reports claim that flotilla was sponsored by a terrorist organization that is responsible for quite many attacks on Israel. These counter claims to the popular media reports have come with audio – visual proofs which are loaded in thousands of numbers on You tube. The said videos show a group of activists singing in Arabic, a song that indicates towards killing the Jews. Another video shows a lady activist claiming enthusiastically that there is a victory for them if they are able to break naval blockade and even if they become martyrs for the holy cause. Another powerful video shows the combat between the activists and the Israeli commandos, which shows that the commandoes were really attacked as soon as they touched the board of the ship, and the ‘peaceful’ activists fought with them quite gallantly to say the least. Related to these are reports that many of the Israeli commandoes were just armed with paintball guns.

There are also vociferous reports on how Gaza is practically a developed place with a high standard of living, and one report even claiming that majority of Gazans belong to Upper Middle class. All this is due to their rampant smuggling through the tunnels that bypass into Egypt. These tunnels helps Gazans get the goods in less time and lesser price than what comes through Israeli Naval blockade, thus rendering the external aid unnecessary.

All these reports (presuming them to be true) made me ponder on few points – If it is true that flotilla was sponsored by terrorist organizations, and if the peaceful activists weren’t so peaceful either, then what reasons can be constructed around this event, and what will be their legal status from the point of view of International Law.

The reason that I could construct for Israel’s action against the flotilla is that of Self Defense. And this term self defense, as easy as it sounds, opens a Pandora’s box and hence, the classic debate on limits and legalities of Self Defense starts, which shall be discussed here in context of flotilla incident. And this is to be done while keeping in mind the basis for such discussion that is the possibility of terrorist nature of the flotilla, which opens another thread of discussion related to the State Responsibility in case of terrorist attacks.

Firstly, addressing the classic debate on limits and legalities of Self Defense, this debate is known in legal circles as the debate between in Article 2(4) of the UN charter, which prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”, and Article 51 of the charter, which impairs “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”. (For a meaningful reading of this blog kindly look up to the full text of the articles so stated here). For the purposes of our discussion, our focus point in this debate will be the legality of anticipatory self-defense, which is know as Doctrine of Preemption. The world of scholars is divided in its opinion, as it the opposing block says that it is difficult to measure or prove the anticipation of threat, and hence conferring legality on something as abstract as anticipation, is perfect recipe for disaster, as then for every offence, best defense shall be the doctrine. But the supporting block has its arguments rooted in the need to nip the evil in the bud. This block vehemently argues that one cannot wait for real damage to happen before legally acting in self-defense, however it should be proved that the threat was immediate, imminent and real, thereby tracing the language and terminology used in Caroline Case. As far as my humble knowledge in this subject goes, preemptive strikes are legal, provided it is proved that the threat was immediate, imminent and real.

 Coming to the question on how to tackle a terrorist attack, and seeking the answer of this question in light of this debate, two things that have to be noted, firstly, Article 2(4), prohibits the use of force or threat of use of force against any ‘State’, and secondly, Article 51, upholds the Right of Self Defense in case of ‘any attack’, on the Member State. Construing thereby, ‘any attack’ on a member state by a terrorist organization, regardless of the legal personality of such organization, will give it a right of Self Defense (anticipatory self defense too) against such offender. And the act of defense by the State shall be legal, as technically reading Article 2(4), the use of force or threat of use of force is prohibited against any ‘State’ and not against a personality that is not a state.

Therefore coming to the flotilla incident, and looking it from other end of the spectrum, we find that what Israel did was legal as it has an ‘inherent’ right of self defense, which includes anticipatory self defense, which it used against an organization, which Israel suspected to be having terror links and mala fide intentions against the State of Israel. And this action of Israle can get a sanction too if it successfully proves that the danger was imminent, immediate and real.


However, such interpretations of existing laws should not be taken as only means to justify or accuse any State with respect to its acts against or in support of terrorism, what is needed is a solid body of International Law for this contemporary and ever growing problem of Terrorism which is eating into practically every part of the world.

But then, as I always say International Law is a reluctant law of reluctant nations, it is International Politics which carries the real sanction

06 June 2010

This week Israel’s attack on flotilla ships carrying aid to Gaza strip found its place in headlines of all major dailies. This legally and politically sensitive issue has refused to die down and media is splashed with passionate anti- Israel sentiments from Arab countries, disapproving statements issued by other countries, breaking of diplomatic ties by Turkey, and a confounded US trying hard to make its commitment to ‘independently enquire into actual happenings of the event’ sound like neutral. But even with all this opprobrium surrounding Israel, from enemies and allies alike, it has refused to lift up the embargo it has put on Gaza strip since the 2006 siege. And has taken into the control second flotilla coming with tones of aid just days after its naval commandos stormed the first flotilla of civilian aid ships.

Politically, the embargo on Gaza and this development in Israel – Palestine Conflict, is elusive yet very interesting. Surrounded by a ring of unfriendly Arab Muslim countries, and sustaining pro- Palestine West Bank and Hamas controlled Gaza strip in the heart of its territory, Israel’s struggle for maintaining its existence is multi fold. Therefore for years it gained sympathy from major blocks, and inspite of  ever growing conflict since 60 years of its existence, it is a developed country with a one of the best Human Development Index in the world. But since the siege of Gaza and the storming of civilian aid ships last week, it has distanced its allies so much so, that its staunchest ally US is also seeing Israel more as a burden rather than asset, a fact conceded to by Isarel’s foreign intelligence, ‘Mossad’.

The latest misadventure of Israel has made it look more like a bully (an art it must be learning from its best friend US!) rather than a country continuously struggling with its enemies inside and outside its borders. And what I do not understand is that how did Israel miss the point that this power show by it could be such a politically and diplomatically damaging move, as had the aid ships reached Gaza, the volunteers would have considered it as a victory over strict embargo imposed by Israel, and if they were to be attacked (which they were eventually) they would be seen as martyrs and Israel would have been bombarded with international comdemnation (which it is being done presently). Therefore it was a win win situation for those protestors. How come Israel did not see through it, or on a second thought, perhaps it did not care much. And it did not care because may be it has stopped caring at all as centuries of violence and persecution faced by Jews has made Israel quick to act defensively, and since offence remains the best defense, the sharp and lethal actions/ reactions of Israel point towards the inherent and deeply embedded sense of insecurity and the constant need to ferociously protect their interests. Perhaps they have learnt from their disturbed past the might is right  - and may be it is!

Legally speaking, Israel has broken an array of International legal rules and standards. However the focus in this blog will be only on Law of Sea, and analysis of other laws shall be dealt in later blogs.

Starting with the law of seas, Israel challenged the most sacrosanct rule of freedom of high seas, the very fact that the ship was seized in International Waters, makes it guilty of breaching the freedom of any vessel in high seas. Any defence or justification forwarded by Israel on the grounds that the flotilla was violating the rules and regulations it has imposed in its territorial sea does not hold ground, as, the laws which are imposed on territorial sea by any State in exercising its sovereignty over such waters do not extend to territorial sea nor even to its EEZ (exclusive economic zone). Here in this case though the news reports explicitly mention the waters to be International Waters and I have been unable to find data as to where the flotilla was exactly located and if those waters had any sui juris status, therefore, even if presuming that those waters had sui juris status, the offensive action of Israel will still not be justified. At this point, MV Saiga No.2 case holds comparative value, wherein a foreign ship was held not subject to Guinea’s general custom laws in latter’s EEZ regime.

Alleviating the option of ‘Right to Hot pursuit’ (enshrined in Art. 111 of UNCLOS 1982) which does not (legally, technically and physically) apply here as right of hot pursuit is given to pursue an offending vessel from territorial waters to High seas (and not other way round!!), one solution, which I, as a humble novice of this law, can think of, is the peaceful arrest of the flotilla as soon they touch the Territorial waters. As the it would be legally viable (also technically and physically) to arrest a vessel which is breaking the laws and rules imposed by the state which in this case would be bringing the non permitted aid items to Gaza by those ships. This would have at the most, invited or rather sparked off the old debate on Israel’s strict naval blockade which regulates, monitors and blocks the unlisted aid items brought to Gaza, and would not have invited international condemnation and wrath to Israel over killing the human rights activists. And now more than all the condemnation what is more deteriorating for Israel at this point of time is that, that due to the killing of 9 Turkish volunteers it has put in the peril its diplomatic ties with once close friend and neighbor Turkey, and distancing its ally US due to such rash and irresponsible act.

Next comes the flouting of procedure of seizing a vessel. The standard procedure is – Visit, Board, Search, Seizure (VBSS). Not wanting to go in details of same and assuring the reader that there is nothing more to the procedure than the standard meaning of words used, it is to be noted that even the Israeli military has admitted that failures of both planning and execution led to the botched raid on a flotilla. If they had been acting according to procedure they would have first landed on the ship, taken it into control, one team would have searched the ship while other would have guarded the crew and passengers, and all this mayhem would have been avoided totally. Instead the commandos landed on the ship and got engaged in a violent fight with the pro Palestine protestors, who were unarmed or scarcely armed with non lethal weapons rather objects like sticks and golf clubs. Thus cornering itself and snatching away any defence Israel might had claimed on the basis that it followed all the international procedure before seizing the ship. But this messed up strategy has made this venture look more like a pirate attack on the flotilla.

The bad idea, strategy and planning has pushed Israel on brink of isolation. I do not know whether there would be any punitive action against Israel for breach of international legal obligations, as I always say International Law is a reluctant law of reluctant nations, it is International Politics which carries the real sanction.


05 June 2010

All right let me confess.. the title is bit weird, it was hurriedly chosen. I know I know it makes me sound like a bimbette, but then you know a bimbette when you see one..

And this blog is not about law either.. as of now .. at least.

So this is why I wrote it.. (yes yes, under this stupid title)

Hmm.. so like every law school student I also feel morally obliged and professionally committed to poke my nose in anything related to legal world. It was almost four months ago that I quite enthusiastically joined this site and swore that now I will be up to date with every legal news. And right from next day I forgot about this promise to myself. No worries, as for few weeks I had email newsletters which I conveniently promised (again!) to read it when i have some time (read 'mood'), then finally I connected myself to this site, and the motivating factor for this was Legal Poet's some funny poem on 5 th year passouts. Kudos to you Poet!!

After reading his poem I was again morally obliged and professionally committed to read other 'serious' blogs and legal news. And it was then when it striked to me, hey, there is no space for international legal issues out here. Since I always had this urgent urge to comment on issues I know nothing about, (I attribute this habit of mine to the fact that I am youngest at my home, so I always had to poke my nose in matters I understood nothing of!)  I decided to take this matter in my hands. So from now on I will banter about international happenings, of which I know little (courtsey newspapers!) and about international legal issues of which I know nothing (courtsey.. lawschool?? thats the safest person to blame :P ) and will expect everyone to take me seriously. 

'LAW' ve you all!!

muah muah