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Jerome Merchant + Partners

Jerome Merchant + Partners, formerly known as P&C Legal, was started by Vishnu Jerome.
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!

27 June 2010

Sir, it is no point now crying hoarse against absconding Mr. Warren Anderson,

For, he after all did not flee stealthy from here without anyone’s permission,

He was in fact accorded a very warm send off reserved for very important person,

By none other than the top brass of the then Bhopal Civil (nigh Uncivil) administration,

Therefore, instead of shedding crocodile tears and displaying wonted sham concern,

Show some grit & determination to identify the worthy sons of our soil without whose gumption,

The principal head of UNION CARBIDE would not have dared waltzed out of this nation,

And put them on a trial in a FAST TRACK COURT under the relevant legal provision (Sec. 221 I.P.C.),

Only to see that they are meted out adequate punishment for their such a deprave action,

Besides calling upon the USA to shed doing usual gimmicking on extradition,

And instead realize the gravity of the situation and make immediately adequate reparation,

After all this involves a crucial question of human rights violation (that too by a Co. American),

And U.S. administration in season or out fervently masquerades itself a self styled WORLD CHAMPION. 

27 June 2010


India should be broken up into smaller states!

If someone said that, you would definitely think the guy is a fanatic and vehemently oppose it. One of the arguments we usually give against such ideas of disintegration is that the smaller parts that are created will not be able to survive economically.

The argument seems logical. The areas which want to be regarded as a separate state are economically backward. They seem likes leeches on the other parts of the state which are well developed. They are like the black sheep of the state. So how will they survive on their own? It’s not possible.

Well to my surprise, I found out that it is in fact quite possible. What is even more surprising is that these new states develop at a better and faster rate than the parent states. Surprised? I sure was.

Let us consider the record of three states that were carved out in 2000- Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand. We have to ignore the first three four years as they are the transitional years, the new state is still organising itself.

Let us concentrate on the time duration from 2004-05 to 2008-09. The GDP of rise in the three states was Jharkhand 8.45%, Chhattisgarh 7.35% and Uttarakhand 9.31%. Now that is fast. It is even more astonishing if we consider the fact that these areas (when part of the parent state) were considered stagnated economies.

Of course they were exemptions by the government. There are a few states like Kashmir (5.98%) and Himachal Pradesh (8.47%) that are given the same exemptions. The fact that the new states have outdone the old states in terms of GDP growth is commendable.

Although we cannot ignore the widespread corruption that is prevalent in these states. Mining licenses were ‘sold’ instead of giving them to the highest bidder. . To quote Mr. Swaminathan S. Anklesair Aiyar, “Alas, this problem affects the whole of India: Natural resources from coal to the telecom spectrum are constantly gifted to favoured parties instead of being auctioned, and this enables politicians to amass fortunes. But just as the telecom revolution has been good for India despite corruption, so has private entry into mining and processing.”

Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh account for 68% of the Maoist attacks. There is gross violation of civil rights. Inspite of all this, it has been able to achieve such high growth rates which is surprising, in a good way.  

What will happen to Telengana? I don't know. I am napster not Nostradamus. 

A foreigner who had come to India and lived here for a couple of years had once told me, “India is a Union of 28 countries rather than a union of 26 States”.

It is better if I make it clear that this post deals with only the economic advantages that have been seen due to creation of new states. I am not taking sides on whether formation of new states is good or bad. There are various other things that need to be taken care of while making a decision. This is almost like a myth buster, it just goes to show that sometimes, when economically backward areas are given the opportunity to grow separately, they can exceed expectations. I have no intention to belittle any state or region so please do not get that impression. 

All the statistics have been taken from reliable internet sources and government notifications in newspapers. This is clearly my personal view. I would love to know what you think about it.  

Constructive suggestions  and blog requests are welcome. :)



27 June 2010

[Click here to read The Recruit: Part 1]

It was a bright and sunny Monday morning. Dressed nattily in my best suit and carrying my certificates in a lucky folder, I stepped out of my hotel to catch the tube to Moorgate station. I already knew that the journey should take me about seventeen minutes and thirty-one seconds door-to-door having used a stopwatch to time my earlier expedition. This gave me an hour to spare- enough time to reach there and compose myself mentally.

Then, two things happened:

One, when I stepped out of the Moorgate tube station, I was appalled to find that it was raining. I had not accounted for the gloriously uncertain English weather.

Two, since I hadn't noted down which exit I had used earlier, I was completely lost. Moorgate station has eight exits.

After exploring each exit in turn, I found the right exit and waited for the rain to abate. It showed no signs of stopping. The clock was ticking and since I had absolutely no desire to walk into my first ever interview looking like a drowned rat, I paid a visit to the station store and was soon the proud owner of an umbrella (1 Nos., £10). I reached the office ten minutes before my interview was scheduled to start. Heaving a sigh of relief, I let the good-looking girl at the reception know that I had arrived. 

While I waited for someone to get me, I let my eye wander around the room. Expensive furniture, opulent oak-panelled doors and walls covered with tasteful pieces of art confirmed that the setting was carefully calculated to impress and/or intimidate the outsider. It definitely worked. I wondered if I belonged here.

A quarter of an hour later, I looked up to see a very thin and slightly surly looking lady walking up to me. As she came closer, I saw that she was in her late twenties but for some strange reason, she reminded me of the matron from my boarding school days. Perhaps this was because she wore her reading glasses at the absolute end of her long nose and looked at me from above them, making me feel a bit like a twelve-year old insect to be squashed underfoot. I put on my best smile and we exchanged greetings. She informed me, in her prim voice, that she was Janine, the graduate recruitment officer, and that I should follow her to the interview room. My knees shaking, I followed her obediently in complete silence.

We reached the interview room and the interrogation began:

Janine: Would you like tea or coffee?

Nandii: I'll just have some water, thank you.

(Bob's comments: I thought it best to avoid an embarrassing and potentially irreversible spillage on a suit I might need for future interviews.)

Janine: Still or sparkling?

Nandii: Still, thank you.

(Bob comments: I could not fathom for the life of me why she had offered me plain soda. I declined because I was not sure how much the combination of harmonic flatulence and rumbling noises from my stomach would impress my interviewer. However, given the state of my nerves. if she added some whisky to that "sparking water" I would have been more than willing to give it a shot.)

Janine: Shall we begin then?

Nandii: Yes, please.

(Bob's comments: The matron was my interviewer- great! This made me re-assess my place in the universe since I didn't even merit a fee-earner after being flown 6,000 miles.)

 Janine: So what influenced your decision to study law?

Nandii: Well, I have had a passion for logical reasoning and a flair for language from an early age. It seemed logical to combine the two and law presented me with the perfect career option.

(Bob's comments: Of course, I cleverly omitted to mention the part where I did abysmally in my board exams so no other college would touch me with a barge pole. Also how I I fluked the entrance test and scraped through four years of law school.)

 Janine: Why did you choose London?

Nandii: London has historically been an important international business centre. Also, since it is a cosmopolitan city and is reaping the rewards of the current financial boom it would be the ideal place for me to start my legal career.

(Bob's comments: In 2005, each British Pound could be traded in for 88 Indian rupees. For a fuller list of reasons of why I chose London please see- All aboard the Brain Drain Express?)

 Janine: Why did you choose Colby, Hewitt and Richards? What makes us different from our competitors?

Nandii: Apart from being known world-wide for its transactional expertise, Colby, Hewitt and Richards is reputed to be the firm for the go-getter. Unlike other firms, being highly ambitious is not seen as a bad thing here. As hard work, vision and creativity are rewarded richly here, it seems a natural choice for me.

(Bob's comments: Competitive cut-throats employed by the firm did not figure in my decision-making at all. Simply put, the firm had paid for my friend's trip to Madame Tussuad's and it seemed like an easy con to pull. Other firms were smarter and did not fall for it.)

 Janine: What would you say is the main thing that motivates you?

Nandii: The desire to learn and prove myself the best in my field is my greatest motivation.

(Bob's comments: A blatant lie. Sex with hot chicks- even the possibility of it- was and still is my greatest motivator. Money comes in a close second.)

 Janine: How do you react to high pressure situations?

Nandii: One of my best assets is the ability to thrive on pressure. I am a calm and collected person who focuses on solutions and reaching the best results for all concerned parties. 

(Bob's comments: I've always reacted well to such a situation. I face it every morning. Sometimes twice or thrice a day when I have eaten a dodgy curry. In fact, I sensed a high-pressure situation building even as I answered the question.)

Janine: What is more important- your job or your salary?

Nandii: Money is important but only to an extent. I think I would be quite happy doing what I love even if it wasn't very lucrative. Money always follows success.  

(Bob's comments: I didn't know why I was being asked this question. If I didn't love the money, I wouldn't be at the interview. I would be working with an NGO in a remote village, helping people who were distressed by more than the latest rise in customs duty.)

Janine: If you were an animal, which one would you be?

Nandii: A horse, because horses are hard-working, versatile and dependable.

(Bob's comments: I think the sloth bear would have described me best since I regularly spent 20 hours a day in dreamland. My greatest fear has always been the TV remote being out of reach.)

Janine: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Nandii: That's an easy one- it would have to be you, because that way I would be able to learn all sorts of things about the firm from an insider. Also, the firm would pick up the tab.  

(Bob's comments: Why on earth would I want to fantasize about taking a dead person to dinner? Creepy. Also, this way I could poison Janine's drink while she powdered her nose and rid the world of the matron menace.) 

Then, two things happened:

One, she turned a deep red and smiled when she heard my last answer. She was blushing.

Two, I realised that unless I said something really stupid, I had got the job.

The rest of the interview was a breeze. We discussed, among other things, the merits of Brick Lane's Chicken Tikka Masala and analysed England's chances on its upcoming cricket tour of India (if you remember we trounced them in 2006). We parted half an hour later on cordial terms.

Three weeks later, I got an offer letter from Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP along with a handwritten sticky-note from Janine which said simply "Dinner when? My treat". I vowed never to overdo the famed Reywal charm again. This was a price too great to pay. Since the offer letter had no date by which I had to accept, I put it aside...for the moment. Life went on.

A few months later, I received an email from Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP saying that Miss Katie, the new graduate recruitment officer, would be replacing Miss Janine (who was leaving the firm) and that Katie would be answering any queries I had.

"Bom Chicka Wah Wah" was playing in my head as I couriered my signed acceptance letter to London. 

Nandii Reywal, Trainee Solicitor. I really liked the sound of that.

26 June 2010


On 26th June 1975, a shocked nation heard Indira Gandhi’s unmistakable voice declare in All India Radio “The President has proclaimed emergency. This is nothing to panic about.” Perhaps its obvious that when someone uses such a defensive approach, the opposite is true. Indeed when Mrs. G gave the infamous radio announcement exactly 35 years ago, there was every reason to panic. 

Thousands of people were arrested and kept behind bars for months without trial, the freedom of press was largely curtailed, the right to express anything against the government was taken away, forced sterilization was carried out to control population and slums were destroyed to end poverty. These were just some of the reasons why the country had to panic.

More importantly, our public institutions failed to work effectively. This claim seems to run counter to the dominant argument that the emergency, despite all its issues, made public institutions “work”. Trains ran on time, government offices worked on time- India’s institutions for the first time was working efficiently. Perhaps the problem is with our urban middle-class understanding of what constitutes the proper working of a public institution. The truth is that during emergency, judiciary, parliament, police force and every other institution responsible for keeping the conscience of the state shamefully and remorselessly failed the people of India. 

The Supreme Court in the Habeas Corpus case ruled that the fundamental rights of a person can be suspended, the parliament without any deliberation passed laws and constitutional amendments that further strengthened the authoritarian power of the executive, the police force worked as government goons performing the important function of detaining and torturing  anyone who dared speak out against the government. Can we still say that our public institutions worked well?

35 years later, our memory of the emergency has faded. The saddest chapter of Indian democracy should not be conveniently forgotten when it still raises questions relevant for Indian Democracy today. Does some of the features of the emergency era still exist in unofficial forms? Does the judiciary and parliament have the faculty to be a check on arbitrary executive action?  Can such an emergency repeat itself in India any time in the near future? 

When we hear of preventive detention and police atrocities today, one wonders whether the state ever got out of its emergency mindset. The parliament with its anti-defection law often works like a whipocracy of the executive. Despite many criticisms, the judiciary seems to be an institution that offers some hope against government barbarity.     

Regarding the question whether the emergency can be repeated, the 44th constitutional amendment ensured that emergency cannot be declared that easily. However the emergency provision remains and any tyrant may again alter the constitution in such a way that ensures whatever he/she does is right. The question is hence regarding the response of the people. Will our public institutions, media and civil society be just onlookers of government atrocities like the last time? 

However, the emergency also saw a few individuals oppose the might of the government. JP Narayan and many opposition leaders never stopped speaking against the government, Justice HR Khanna had the courage to be the sole judge who ruled that civil liberties cannot be suspended and Ramnath Goenka and Kuldip Nayar made Indian Express truly “journalism of courage”. With enough people to draw inspiration from, let us pledge that we will oppose any executive action that resembles the dark period of the emergency.


26 June 2010

A student of law should always prepare his case pointwise keeping in mind the law on the particular subject. Irrelevant material and unwanted talks should be avoided. Generally a case involves a single important question, which should be kept in mind. Your pleadings and arguments should be brief but unambiguous and well supported by legal provisions and rulings on the subject. Before starting to come on the facts or law of a case use such a phrase or circumstances in favour of your client, well connected with your case, which may change psychology of the judge in favour of your case.
Many a times it is noticed that an advocate well prepares his case but fails to take note of his opponents case or give a suitable reply. It is all the more necessary to gather before hand all the necessary information from your client and other sources, about the case of your adversary. It is necessary to know as to how you are going to meet the case of opposite party.
You always owe a duty not only to the court and your client but also to the members of the Bar and public agencies, therefore you are advised to go through the provisions of the Advocate Act and follow them in your life.
Generally, the profession of advocates are abused for adopting unfair means and cheating their client. Such an attitude may ruin your carrier in future and may land you in trouble. You are therefore adviced to be fair, sincere and honest in your dealing with every one. In so doing you will be able to winover the court, the client and even your adversary.

26 June 2010

The youngsters in this profession must bear in mind that it would be harmful for them to depend on touts and even remain dependent on their seniors for a long time. In most of the cases it is seen that the seniors do not allow their juniors to conduct easy cases where winning a case is guaranteed. They exploit the labour and intelligence of their juniors and prevent them by applying allsort of pressure tactics to keep them under their sway. The newcomer therefore should be cautious while selecting a senior for their help. They should also carefully plan to select a special branch for their practice and should not indulge in a branch which does not suit their taste and do not attract clintage.
If a senior does not pay sufficient amount for maintenance to a junior then the junior must keep in mind to remain financially sound from other sources for his livlyhood, at least for five years or so. He should collect all types of formats of pleadings and applications and prepare notes of rulings on different subjects and learn carefully the art of drafting. Frequent changes in rules and regulations are also required to be noted. In the beginning no big library can be maintained but basic law books with commentries of eminent authors must be purchased. Collection of every information through computer networking can be cheaper and most helpful. Even when no work is left in a day with you, make it a habit to attend court every day and carefully watch the proceedings of the court and note the specialities of senior counsel which influence and convince the mind of the judges. The art of cross examining a witness is another important factor to make a successful lawyer. Remember that the good conduct to the court and even to the witnesses of other sides is always helpful in a long run. Patience and coolmindness even in adverse circumstances, will always give you an edge over your adversary.

26 June 2010

The modern judicial system was not known to India, before advance of the British. Before it, most of the cases were settled either by the community itself or by an officer of the state, who acted for and against of a party to impart a fair justice. However, in British system also assistance of a pleader to a party was considered as a benevolent act, in the beginning. As the days passed on pleading for a party has become purely professional and the ethics behind it has faded into background. Now a days the fate of a litigating party mostly hangs on the skill, tactics and maneuvering of his Counsel. No doubt, there are few exceptions to it, still the ability of an advocate to push forward the case of his client, depends on his handling the affairs of the court. Where profession of the pleading is carried through generations, there is no difficulty in getting clients, but for a new comer it is very very difficult to establish his hold. In such a situation his only hope is hard work and getting the protection of a good senior

26 June 2010

"No one is indispensable" so goes a saying. Life goes on... But how much does the transition cost individuals, is one aspect we don't analyse until we are affected!
Recently, the Bombay High Court has witnessed the elevation of many judges to the Supreme Court and a couple were also elevated to other courts as Chief Justices... In the process, there have been several cases, part heard, which will require a fresh hearing!
As long as the cases are not of very urgent nature, it is understandable! But what happens when the cases need solutions and the same doesn't reach hearing?
One such interesting case is the dispute between the Forward Markets Commission and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, which has been pending for long! Who's jurisdiction is it to deal with electricity futures? The case has been going on... with several adjournments and then later hasn't reached hearing several times... Now the same bench will no longer be available at the HC as one of the judges has been elevated.
In case of criminal appeals, one cannot say how long the process will go on because these do not end fast... in the mean time, if the bench changes, the arguments begin from scratch!
But how does this effect the applicants? The money, I'm sure, is enormous.. The counsels dates, another issue to be organised. And the increasing pendency rate isn't helping...
Where does one go to get justice?

25 June 2010

It is said that today the power lies with the associations. We should therefore develop the habit of selfless service to others and associate with the associations doing service in various fields. This habit can help us during troubles.
There is yet a spiritual cause behind every trouble which can be counter balanced by thinking in a spiritual way. First, the position of stars may turn the table against us and second, our own misdeeds may take a shape of dispute against us. So, while facing a trouble don’t blame the others personally for the wrong done to you and try to understand your own fault and remove your egoistic tendencies. The prayer with repentance is the best and easiest cure of every trouble in life.
But spiritual thinking does not mean that you will abandon all the efforts to protect yourself. It does not mean a cowardice thinking but becoming bold enough to face the truth. Sometimes while fighting a wicked and treacherous person, you may have to adopt unethical means, but while so doing it has to be seen that no illegal methods are adopted against your adversary, otherwise it may land you in another trouble.
Broadly speaking the disputes can be divided into two categories:- Civil and Criminal. Civil disputes may be subdivided as individual cases or the cases pertaining to a company, corporate body or any other institutions. In criminal side, it may relate to some offence which requires prosecution in a criminal court or imposition of a simple penality for breach of a rule. In civil side, there is also specialization of cases, courts and tribunals, requiring expert opinion. For example, there are different tribunals dealing with income tax, sales tax, excise, customs, company affair, work contracts, service matters, Labour courts, revenue board, consumers redressal forum and transport authorities etc. Many of these tribunals have power to impose penality and grant compensation or other relief according to law governing their respective jurisdiction. The general civil courts deals with cases of property and personal rights. There are also separate family courts dealing with matrimonial cases and maintence of neglected spouse. Then there are appellate courts, generally known as the court of District Judge. In most of the states the District Judge also deals with grevious offences, like rape, murder and decoity in his capacity as sessions judge, while other offences are tried by judicial magistrates and appeal against such cases lies to the Sessions Judge. The civil courts are governed by Civil Procedure Code, while criminal courts are goverened by Criminal Procedure Code. At village level, some civil and criminal powers have also been deligated to panchayats, under different laws enacted by different states.
High Court, in a state is the highest court to hear appeal both in civil and criminal matters, besides hearing appeal or revision against orders passed by different tribunals working under its jurisdiction. The High Court under its constitutional power grants writs to protect fundamental rights of the citizens and examine valadity of laws passed by the legislatures. Its rulings are to be followed by all subordinate courts and tribunals operating in a state.
The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all the High Court’s and national commissions of the country and it has power to examine any law passed by the Parliament or State legislatures. It can protect fundamental rights throughout the country and grant any relief in public interest. Its rulings are binding on all the High Courts, tribunals and national commissions.
Although in case of serious offences police report has to be lodged without delay in the nearest police station or where the offence is committed, however in other matters of petty nature attempts should be made to settle the disputes amicably. Insofar as the disputes of civil nature are concerned it may require first to collect necessary documentary evidence and experts legal opinion. For obtaining information at government level recouorse may be had to the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005, under which the Centre and State governments have appointed Public Information Officers in every department. In case of their failure to act within 30 days appeal can be filed against their inaction within 30 days to the appellant authority of the same department. There is also provision of second appeal within 90 days to the Central or State Chief Information Commissioner, who has power to impose penality upto Rs. 25,000/- on the defaulting Public Information Officer. This right to information extends to inspect documents, record or manuscript or obtaining its certified copy, which include taking certified sample of material and prints of computer device.
The Government has also established many agencies for settlement of disputes at an early stage. For example, the police department tries to settle minor disputes between husband and wife. Woman Commission looks after the atrocities committed against ladies. Human Rights Commission deals with various types of breaches committed against human rights or atrocities. At village level panchayats have rights to settle and investigate minor disputes. Similarly, so many non-governmental organisations (NGO) take up the cases of different types and provide their free services to individuals or group of individuals who are unable to defend themselves. The states have also established legal aid authorities at different levels to provide free legal aid to poor person, which includes free councel and bearing litigation expenses.
Here it is also felt necessary to sound a word of warning to a litigant or any aggrieved person about a net of touts operating in and around every helping agency, either governmental or non-governmental. So is the case in choosing a right counsel. In this respect, prior and full information should be obtained about the person or agency of which we are seeking help. Invention of information technology can prove of immense help in this respect. From so many web-sites you can have online correct informations about different agencies and organizations, who can help you in your hour of crisis.
After filing a case before a court or tribunal you can also have the correct information about the position of your case, date fixed or order passed through computer networking. In case of your aggrievence or complaint about any employee or counsel you can sent it through e-mail to the higher authorities or can get necessary guidance in this respect.
Gone are the days when a senior advocate assisted by an army of the juniors and possessing a huge library of law books was considered necessary for winning a case. Now, with the development of the information technology and vast changes introduced in the field of law, youngsters are considered a better choice. So much so that the students of law in five years course are even selected by big business houses, during their study. Since the entire literature of law, law book and latest judgements of Supreme Court and various High Courts are readly available online in a computer or laptop, the maintenance of a huge library and staff has become redundant. Intelligent young advocate can provide more time, information and assistance and can be affordable to a middle class litigant. Unfortunately, even the truthful cases are lost today, because of various reasons. Chief among them is the fear and insecurity in the mind of those, who are willing to support a right person. On the otherhand wicked and anti social elements get support even from the state agencies involved at the early stage of a dispute. However, here also the person fighting a right cause, need not to loose his heart, because India is a holy land of Rama-Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi, where people ultimately come forward and unite for a right cause. Still the satruggle for truth is hard and requires much patience. Such a struggle has to be fought with purety of means and Gandhian way of non-violence and satyagrah. It is wrong to say that Gandhian means and ways to fight for truth are impracticable, as we see even today in so many cases that the truth is ultimately upheld.
Print and electric media is another strong mode to work for good or bad purposes. They are mostly controlled by capitalists and influencial politicians. Still there are certain news papers and T.V. channels which aims at social good and then there are also rival groups between themselves. In case if your case is based on truth or you are going to be falsely implicated under some conspiracy, you may expose your opponent through such media or agency. A press club can be approached in every big city, where you can lodge your complaint and request the media channel to take your cause to public or divert the state machinery to investigate your case effectively.

25 June 2010

Its about 8 30 am, this place is bustling with all sorts of people.There are of course the gentlemen in flawless linen and two  ply cotton shirts, the rich brats with shiny, pointy hair carefully manoeuvred to like they had never been combed in the first place and then theres our type.

Clad in pyjamas, sleeveless jerseys and loose shorts, there just for one purpose - to eat.

Halfway through the numerous helpings of bacon, pancake and sausages I clear my mouth - for a guy who doesnt drink or smoke , being full with the best kind of food there is, is the closest one gets to being 'high;.

"Guys, im leaving delhi in ten days. I can't believe i will be out of here ''

" Excuse me waiter, can we please have a refill of out watermelon juice'. My friend sitting infront of me smiles politely at the waiter  - 'thanks'

I throw him a quizzical look asking him if he was ignoring the question on purpose or something of that sort.

He looks at me , smirks and says ' what you wan to do ? hold hands?'

No best of luck wishes, no reassurances and no reminisces - not what i was expecting.

Three trips to nehru place , four trips to the dentist and several get togethers later.

Here I am, at my table looking at a collage with various photos of my friends and i - needless to say, each one has a story behind it.

I could stare at each one of them for hours, but that doesnt serve the purpose , it just defeats it. In my head, i have these weird notions of law school - and a list of many ' have- to's '

'i have to get in the mooting society, i have to get a good cgpa'... blah blah and the like.

And its tough not too be mired with doubts right now, for as of now i have nothing but anticipation and a destination i have never been to.

And after hours of fantasizing about the future - a line from one of my favourite characters comes to my mind....

And who's to say this isn't what happens? who can tell me my fantasies won't come true?

just this once.

And hence  a vague optimism engulfs me.

I have a peek at the calendar, five more days to go to law school =)

ps - im a first timer when it comes to blogging, any constructive criticism will be appreciated.


25 June 2010

The following poem is inspired by those Government Officials who strive hard in hostile environs, wherein 'corruption and bad governance' is the name of the game! I have been particularly inspired by Justice Hegde, whose recent resignation from the post of Lokayukta has opened up a hornet's nest. My other inspirations include my parents (both of who are honest Government Officials), Napster's latest blog post on law students and DisplacedBong's cynical yet highly engaging take on Govt. Officials (Civil Servants in particular).

* The Statements in Italics are spoken by the Boss in 'Hindi'. For those who are not familiar with the language, a loose translation is given underneath.

Read on... I hope you enjoy it!

Honest Govt. Official: ENDANGERED SPECIE

"Who are you?" asked the shrewd superior.

"An Honest Government Official", said he.

A smile broke across the the boss's tough exterior,

"Aise mazaak kyun karte hain, ji!"

(What kind of a joke is this?)


He had grown up in an honest village home.

His family did, in him, great courage hone!

He understood the plight of the deprived masses!

After all, he'd grown up on broken promises.


Like everything else, it started with a vision!

He dreamed of challenging this rot one day.

His toil paid off when he cleared the examination.

Ahead of him, his Government Office lay.


He was in the right, Corruption he would fight;

Yet his boss questioned his integrity.

The boss encouraged the bribe, with that stinging jibe:

"Aise Mazaak kyun karte hain, ji?"

(What kind of a joke is this?)

It was his very first day of Government work.

He was now part of a rotting system.

Where at every corner a hungry shark did lurk,

And abiding the law was against the dictum!


When the wealthy businessman stepped in,

He brought along his bunch of fake papers.

But with it, came big wads of green!

Franklin and Lincoln waited for his signatures!


The Bribe was the easy way out,

But he couldn't give up now, could he?

His Boss warned of transfers and political clout:

"Ab mazaak karna chod bhi do ji!"

(It's about time you put an end to this joke)


He was now in the heat of battle!

He would prove he was the people's saviour.

His honesty could, by mere threats, not be rattled.

Having studied law, he looked to the Laws of 'Labour'.


While his colleagues avoided this raging battle,

And did in the process, their wealthy coffers fill.

He soldiered on, bearing Truth's heavy mantle;

He would try and bring corruption to a stand-still!


Unaware of his plans to name and shame,

The boss soldiered on like a busy bee.

As if mocking his tireless efforts, he claimed:

"Tumhaari mazaak karne ki aadat kab jayegi?"

(When will you put an end to your habitual jokes?)


The village boy had grown into an honest man.

The respected Lokayukta did hear from him.

The Whistleblower's Protection Act sheltered his clan;

While the corrupt faced a future grim!


Political Clout did play its part,

But the Judge did know his duty well!

Defending his wrongdoing, the Boss couldn't start.

Honesty had won! The Cat was belled!


As the corrupt boss was whisked away:

"Dekh loonga tujhe" (I'll make sure you suffer), he shouted in agony!

To this the Honest Official retorted:


(What kind of a joke is this?)





24 June 2010

A very intelligent acquaintance had once told me, “The reason why you want to become a lawyer and the things you do after becoming a lawyer are mostly different.”


Mostly people decide they want to do law ‘to serve the society’. It is indeed a very noble thought and definitely a strong motive to join a course. What happens after you pass out? You look for money and recognition and more money. The ideal thoughts that got you into the course are nowhere to be found.

Hell! It has even happened to me. I wanted to get a law degree because I thought I would be doing something for the society after I pass out. Helping people get ‘justice’. Improve people’s lives. I thought I would intern at places that matter, which affects the society directly. I will make a difference.

 I am still studying and it seems I am already too far away from my dream. All I am worried about right now is CGPA, Moots, Conferences and Seminars, Recruitment and what not. Where did the old me disappear? The one who would give a damn.

I do not care about Human rights, Legal rights or Legal Aid. I don’t care if people suffer just because they don’t know their rights. I have become insensitive. I have become selfish. I have become greedy.

I have already completed a few years in college and so all my acquaintances think that I am a career councillor when it comes to choosing a law as a career and then choosing a law school. All the above things came to my mind when I asked a young aspiring law student why she wanted to get a law degree. She had come to learn things from me but instead taught me something.

I would like to quote another friend, “See I took up law because I'm one of those freaks who say that we should change India, change the system etc. etc.


After this incident, I have changed. I am trying to go back to the ‘old me’.

The question is not if I will be successful, it is whether I tried or not.


24 June 2010

Hiranymayen patren Satyasyapi hitam mukham.Tatavam pushanpa branu satya dharmay darstay.(Truth is hidden by a golden lid. Oh Protector you open it for me to perceive Satyadharma.)

Mahatma Gandhi defined Truth as a religion and synonymous to God but truth is not only a means but also an end of human life.

It is truth which control life and maintains security among different warring, camps of the human society.

However, in practice it is seen that a person expects truth and good conduct from others, while himself indulge in causing harm to others in various ways. It is in order to check the practice that the State was created and the agency through which it’s laws (satydharm) are enforced is called court.

The complicated modern life and various developments of science has rendered it most difficult to get justice for a wrong done in personal life. The more become the laws, easier become to break them. The good is plundered and the bad is enjoying it at the cost of the state.

It is because the truth and honesty is not taught in educational institutions and there is scarcity of good and honest leader, administrators and judges to manage the affairs of the state.

Even otherwise, ignorance in making proper management of judicial system is also an important factor which causes failure or delay in getting justice. It is at three stages that the guide lines are required to mend the judicial system. First, at the personal stage, when a dispute arises. Second, when a counsel is required and third, when steps are taken to redress a grievance in a court of law. We have, therefore divided this subject in three parts - for common man, for a pleader and for judges

24 June 2010

It seems that the woes of production houses and television channels are not going to end anytime soon. In a judgment delivered yesterday, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that YouTube was protected by the “safe harbor” provision for service providers in spite of the fact that almost every other song or video is available for viewing on YouTube. YouTube was acquired by Google for a staggering $1.7 billion but can it be said that its value was built largely on the unauthorized appropriation and exploitation of copyrighted works belonging to others, – at least Viacom thinks so!

In its complaint filed on March 13, 2007, Viacom alleged that YouTube knew and intended that a substantial amount of the content on the YouTube site consisted of unlicensed infringing copies of copyrighted works and had done little or nothing to prevent this massive infringement. With respect to YouTube’s duty to remove copyrighted material, Viacom argued that YouTube proactively reviews and removes pornographic videos from its library, but refuses to do the same thing for videos that obviously infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrights.

It is to be noted that the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Broadcast Music, Inc., Sesac, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., NBN Universal, Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Association of American Publishers, Center for the Rule o f Law and a few others had filed an amicus brief in support of Viacom’s complaint against YouTube whereas Ebay Inc., Facebook, Inc., Interactive Corp, and Yahoo! Inc. had filed amicus briefs supporting the position of YouTube and Google in this case.

On April 30 2007, YouTube filed its response and argued that Viacom was trying to challenge the careful balance created by Congress when it enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. All claims made by Viacom with respect to primary or secondary copyright infringement were refuted by YouTube and it moved for summary judgment. In that motion, YouTube even outlined the public service it had been doing by affording political candidates and elected officials a new way to communicate with the public; enabling first-hand reporting from war zones and from inside repressive regimes; allowing unknown performers, filmmakers, and artists to rise to worldwide fame; inspiring laughter at the antics of dancing babies and skateboarding dogs; letting students of all ages audit classes at leading universities; and giving creators of all sorts a powerful new way to promote their work to a global audience. Taking the ball back to Viacom’s court, YouTube alleged that Viacom had previously authorized many clips to be on YouTube and were now suing for hosting the same.

Section 512(c) of the DMCA sets out the safe harbor applicable to Internet sites hosting user-submitted content and it was argued that YouTube, which had pioneered efforts to protect copyright while maintaining an open environment for creative, political, and personal expression, was exactly the kind of service that Section 512(c) was enacted to protect. The motion for summary judgment read:

“At the heart of the safe harbor was a notice-and-takedown procedure that required cooperation between content owners and service providers. To claim the safe harbor, a service provider like YouTube must remove purportedly infringing materials when notified of their existence and location on its service. This regime gives copyright holders a quick and efficient way to stop any misuse of their content, while protecting service providers against the fear of crushing liability that could stifle technological innovation and free speech. In this way, the DMCA balances the interests of copyright holders with those of online services and the First Amendment rights of their users.”

The Section 512(c) safe harbor presumptively applies to a service provider that meets the threshold “conditions for eligibility” set out in Section 512(i) and designates an agent to receive “notifications of claimed infringement” (§ 512(c)(2)). The agent’s role is to facilitate the notice-and-takedown regime at the heart of the safe-harbor. Using the procedures described in the statute, copyright holders can avoid a costly and time-consuming judicial process by notifying service providers that certain material stored on their systems is not authorized to be there. § 512(c)(3). The copyright holder must identify the work that it owns and believes to be infringed, identify the location of the allegedly infringing material on the service provider’s system, and certify its claims under penalty of perjury. § 512(c)(3). Service providers in turn must respond expeditiously by taking down or blocking access to that material. § 512(c)(1)(C). The DMCA also gives the users who posted the material subject to a takedown notice an opportunity to contest the copyright-owner’s claim by filing a counter-notice confirming that they have the authority to upload the work in question. § 512(g)(3).

The critical question to be decided in this case was the determination of “actual knowledge” and “facts and circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent” as mentioned in § 512(c)(1)(a)(1) and (2). The Court looked into the legislative history of the provision and noted that the above mentioned phrases described knowledge of specific and identifiable infringement of particular items and not a general awareness or knowledge of prevalence of such activity in general.

Talking about the burden of notifying the infringement, the Court reiterated that the burden of notification under the DMCA was on the copyright owner and could not be shifted to the provider. (See Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill Inc. 488 F.3d 1102). The Court also noted that the “safe harbor” protection was unconditional and was not limited to a pro-active provider who took affirmative action to remove infringing activity.

It was held that the DMCA provisions were effectively followed by YouTube as it had removed virtually all the content mentioned in the take down notice sent by Viacom. Summary judgment was granted to YouTube.

While many would argue that this would promote more copyright infringement and work as a legal approval for service providers to turn a blind eye to the same, it needs to be seen that the world at large would suffer in the absence of such services. However, it will be unfortunate if this law is applicable to all kinds of service providers through a straight jacketed formula. Websites providing access to movie torrents, which are again uploaded by individuals, cannot be put with YouTube on the same pedestal. Such cases need to be decided on their individual merit and while the Court seems right in upholding YouTube’s safe harbor protection, judges should look at the nature of the website and the overall content that is available to the users before determining whether availability of copyrighted materials is just a small part of the game or is it the game itself!

Written by: Ashish Arun and Rajni Ghosh

About the Authors: Ashish Arun is the Managing Partner at ORP while Rajni Ghosh is an Associate at ORP

23 June 2010

On June 11th, the world witnessed a mind-blowing extravaganza kick-off! The FIFA World Cup 2010!

As Fans thronged the air-ports and streets of the host nation, there was an air of excitement that had never been witnessed at a World Cup before. This was because the World Cup was being hosted in a continent that is home to all human kind. No matter where you hail from, you are, in fact, children of Africa. But what has all this got to do with Law, you may wonder. Well, just like this World Cup brings forth a completely different experience, so too does your life as a law student! Here, I shall acquaint you with some of the queer experiences on display at the World Cup and try to bring out the quaint similarities they may hold with your experiences in  and around Law School!


1. The Vuvuzela:

A 1 metre long plastic trumpet that has become the hallmark of this WC. In the news for the blaring noise it creates that can reach 130 decibels (30 decibels more than a chain-saw). While this instrument gives great glee to the fans who play it, it is absolutely irritating for listeners.

Similarly, your uninitiated Neighbours and Family Friends sound just as irritating as vuvuzelas, when they adopt a deeply irritating and sympathetic tone on hearing of your success in a Law Entrance Exam. These people, who have grown up on fodder that "Engineers and Doctors are the only professionals worth anything', genuinely believe that they are serving a useful cause and passing on wisdom; they are in fact merely causing stress to those who are trying to enjoy their success.

(For Example, I was sympathetically told 'Law is also a viable option, but why didn't you try out for Engineering?' by most of my neighbours.  A good friend of mine was asked if he couldn't clear the PU Exam when he was all set to join one of the Top National Law Schools)

2. The Jabulani:

The Jabulani is the official World Cup Football manufactured by Adidas. It has come in for much criticism with respect to its unpredictable swerve and extremely light weight. Adidas still maintain that the ball is the roundest football ever made and that the fault lies with the players as they have not practiced enough with the football at high altitudes.

Some of your professors in law school do sound very much like Jabulanis don't they? When one enters law school, there is much talk of how qualified a particular law school's professors are or which law school has which reputed professor teaching. Well, reputations count for zilch, just like the Jabulani's. The Jabulani was decorated and brought out as the 'roundest football'. Professors in law schools are decked up similarly, with a huge number of degrees, scholarships and publications. While most of them turn out to be decent if not great; one can not deny the presence of the ocassional Jabulani, who will try to shift the blame of his/her own incompetence onto the students.

(You can come up with examples yourself.)


3. The Calabash:

The Calabash is an African Pot, which is a symbol of hospitality in the continent. The design of the 94,700 capacity 'Soccer City' stadium in Johannesburg has been inspired by this pot.

Just as the Soccer City stadium was a welcome sight to all football enthusiasts on June 11th, the first glimpse of your college is a welcome one. Your results may have come in weeks in advance, but that first glimpse of the hospitable environs of 'your' university is necessary for the news to sink in!

(For Example, My own experience of viewing the NUJS building for the very first time will always remain close to my heart. However, to be fair, it's not the building but the people who make it hospitable. WARNING: There are some who may find their respective buildings too old for their liking (NUJS Students take special note). This correlation doesn't apply to them

4. The French:

In all fairness, the French National Team wasn't expected to do exceptionally well at this World Cup, given the fragile team structure and an eccentric coach. However, crashing out at the group stage after a huge player revolt (Players refused to train and shouted at the Fitness Coach after a player was sent home following a half-time bust up with the manager) is something even the most experienced pundit couldn't have predicted. From now on everyone would do well to take tall French claims with a pinch of salt.

You guessed it! The much-talked-about Law School Rankings published in various newspapers and magazines have turned heads everywhere. Going by previous years' experiences, one should not have expected much in the first place; but now that they are out, the researchers behind them do look a lot like the stubborn and ignorant France Coach Raymond Domenech and the protesting law students resemble the French National Team that boycotted training (This is meant in the best possible way)! My advice to everyone is, please take these rankings with a pinch of salt!

(For Example: Read Legal Poet's Blog on Nitish Saxena. He clearly took these Rankings with a pinch of Salt)

5. The World Cup Trophy:

This is a 36 cm high trophy weighing in at 6.175 kg, and made of solid 18 karat gold. This, to every footballer, is the most glorious prize he could ever get hold of. The biggest stars in the world spend years training with one, single dream: To lift the World Cup. Only World Cup winners and Heads of States of various nations are entitled to lift this trophy (Though an Indian minister, oblivious to this fact, got his taste of glory rather cheaply).

To each his own World Cup! Each of us have our own dreams while entering law school. This is our World Cup Trophy.

Some dream of the lucrative foreign job placement,

some a more homely firm.

some dream of earning enough to pay their rent,

Some look to Litigation to cleanse society's germs.

Some may dream of working from home,

While Legal Poet still dreams of his next poem!

Hence, just as your favourite footballers dedicate their life to that one moment where they can proudly lift thefamed World Cup Trophy, so too must you urge yourselves to lift your own World Cup!

(If you are expecting an example for this one, well... look in the mirror!)



22 June 2010

Moot Court

Just the phrase will make heads turn in a law school.

Anyone and everyone who moots is to be treated like a superstar.

It fascinates first years. No doubt. When I started off with law school, I also looked up to mooters as Demi-Gods. Suddenly towards the end of the first year, I asked myself a question, so what’s so great about mooting? I mean, it’s just another competition like a debate or a MUN.

 So I started thinking on these lines:

       Mooting helps if you are planning on litigating

The above statement is something mooters have come up with to lure people to moot. :D On a more serious note, Mooting is something which is purely utopian. In the real court room, all this doesn’t happen. It is never so (organized), you don’t have to give the judge SO much respect. Judges don’t ask you definitions or question you on why is the formatting improper. Real court room is a lot more casual than a moot. Litigation requires a lot more than just mooting experience. [My future blogpost topic].

      Mooting helps in finding a job

Okay, this is a bit two sided. I know that sometimes it does but the way in which it helps is what most people don’t understand. People think that just by participating in a moot and writing it down in your resume, you have a better chance of landing a job. False. It takes more than that, a lot more.

First, just participating doesn’t count as anything. You have to win it, or atleast be a finalist or get an honourable mention. If none of that happens then you are just another person for the recruiters. I guess it is safe to say that with so many moots coming up, almost everyone will moot once in five years, even if it is for a so called ‘third tier’ moot. Winning is all that counts. Even if you win a ‘third tier’ moot then it is better than just a participation in a ‘tier one’ moot.

Secondly, you have to make contacts when you are out mooting. It can be with judges, with other participants and with organisers. Lawyers life is dependent on networking. [Some would call it Jugaad, it would agree completely]. So don’t just go there to stare at everything. Talk to people, meet interesting people. It’s always fun to meet new people and it is better if these new people can get you jobs/internships. :D

         The college can be judged by the its mooters

This is one thing that I personally hate. I mean, how can you judge a college from the 3-4 students that have come for the moot? You simply cannot. It is not fair. Yet, a lot of people do it. I have heard a lot of people say,” Did you see what he/she did? I bet            he/she is from ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ college. All their students are like this only.”

My physical appearance has nothing to do with my success in mooting

I have not participated in many moots much but I have been witness to a lot of them. One thing that always surprises me is why do some participants, even after not performing well, succeed. It is not completely my decision on whether they have performed well or now, I have discussed it with a lot of friends too and they agree. We they started to look for a pattern and we sure as hell found one. Physical appearance, glamour, call it whatever you want to but it is a well known fact that good looking boys/girls have it a bit easy when it comes to impressing judges in a moot. First of all when I found out about it, I was surprised. I questioned myself. It was during an intra round in college that I finally saw the theory in action. A girl was supposed to be arguing from the respondent’s side. She was looking hot! (This was the common opinion of a lot of boys that were there near the court room). She started off. She fumbled a lot. She almost stopped for more than 30 seconds on a simple question. In short, it was an average performance. We all expected her to be around rank 30 or so out of 50. Surprisingly she got a rank in the Top 10. According to a fellow student,” Looks like the judge too thought that she was hot”. This made me laugh at that moment and then think hard about it later on.


I guess this one requires a lot of clarification.

I am not against moots. What I don’t like is the excessive importance it is given. I have mooted once and I might just moot again. People who like mooting are not bad people. It is a choice they make and I respect that. Some of the incidents mentioned above might offend a few people. I am sorry if it does. I have no intention of doing so. I just wrote down what I had seen, heard and experienced. Point number 4 is not restricted to females only, it is gender neutral (unlike some of the moot court judges, Ha !).

These are all my personal views. Difference of opinion makes life beautiful. 




22 June 2010

Someday I hope to see this on the front page:

The government of India has finally taken notice. The Home Ministry will soon table a Bill that is bound to create controversy. Many observers believe that this Bill assumes that India is a racist country.   Shishi Rudra, an eminent sociologist, says


Last summer, I went to Delhi to work with a law firm. In order to save money, I stayed with an old friend of my father who had just come back after spending thirty years in London.

When I arrived, I didn’t see an Indian really. He was a fair man with a British Accent sometimes twinning with his Irish accent, fairly inherited by his marriage of twenty years to an Irish woman. After surviving for nearly ten years with little company in the one of the costliest cities in the world, he decided to return home. It took us a few days to break the ice and before we knew it, we were getting along fabulously. We would spend hours talking about his life in London and how he went there.. I guess it was liberating for him to speak to someone about a life he once had.

Of all our conversations, I will always cherish one the most. When I told him about how I thought my skin colour affected my self-image, he told me the most beautiful thing –  without this tone of your skin, you’d never be half the man you are right now. You are who you are because of your skin colour.

I had never thought of it like that. I had accepted the fact that we Indians loved white skin. We wanted to date fair girls and liked helping white people. I got through school hanging out with a group of boys who were far too nerdy to make friends based on colour. However, the reason I became their friend was because I didn’t understand how we were so shallow. Only the fair boys and girls dated, and the darker kids were participants in a play they had no role.

No matter where I went, racism was systematic and imbibed. I seldom see Indian companies celebrating our dark skin. The only time we even possibly see a dark person on television is when it’s a fairness cream advertisement. And we keep quiet.

Law firms in India clearly lack a non-discrimination policy. Having worked at some of the top law firms across the country, they all seem to lack a diversity policy. No wonder I don’t see many north-east Indians around. Are they really not smart enough to get into these law firms or is the reason something that goes into the Indian Psyche?


There was a movie that Salman Khan acted in some time ago. A cheap copy of Bruce Almighty. In the movie, Salman’s sister doesn’t get any marriage proposals because she is dark. However, when he gets the same powers as God, he makes her fair. Proposals start pouring in from every place on earth. I was disturbed because I knew how this would affect the young minds who would watch this.


Everyday we’re bring conditioned to white skin. And I don’t know how or when we’re going to change. Racism is so imbibed in me that it takes me a moment to judge people of different skin colours objectively. I’m still waiting for a day when we start seeing the pattern in which racism in India functions. Maybe then we’ll have our Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.


See John2010's other blogs:

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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