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Jerome Merchant + Partners

Jerome Merchant + Partners, formerly known as P&C Legal, was started by Vishnu Jerome.
21 June 2010

When I started law school in the year 2001, most of us would have sold our souls to land a job with Ramachand, Saunf & Family which paid the princely sum of Rs.30,000 per month. 

Then, two things happened:

One, with the economic boom going strong in the west, ambitious international law firms began to look eastwards for hard-working English speaking lawyers that they could hire who would, at some point in the future, help them set up shop once the Indian market liberalised.

Secondly and more importantly, in my fourth year a close friend of mine at law school disappeared completely for a week. I found out later that he had an interview in London with Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP and that the firm had paid for this trip.

You see, way back in 2005, when law firms in the UK didn’t cut costs by flying down once a year themselves and interviewing in a hotel room for two straight days, they would fly you out to the magical city of London for interviews.

I was hooked.

So I immediately updated my CV and sent it in along with a snazzy cover letter. Of course, I then completely forgot about it.

A couple of months later I got a call from a friend who was a part of the recruitment committee of another law school. It turned out they had received a letter inviting one Mr. Nandii Reywal to London for an assessment. This was my first glimpse of the efficiency that defines Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP.

I became a minor celebrity in college overnight. Classmates who had sneered earlier, now stopped by to shake my hand. Hot junior girls I would only ogle at from a distance asked me for tips on how to draft a good CV. Even the mooters acknowledged my existence before drifting back into Oppenheim’s International Law (ed. Sir Robert Jennings and Sir Arthur Watts, 9th edition, 2003). 

My tickets were booked, my hotel reserved and I set out on my journey with much fanfare and trumpet. Not even a non-reclining seat and a Jain meal booked by an overenthusiastic travel agent could dampen my spirits. I was actually going to London for free!

The flight itself was uneventful. I watched a movie I had already seen back in India and shoved my Jain meal down my throat. Then, two things happened:

One, as I looked out of the window while landing, I saw lush green meadows bathed in sunshine that were straight out of the Yashraj films I was addicted to. Coming from a parched brown desert, I decided this was a scene worth falling in love with.

Two, as I stepped off the aerobridge and into Heathrow airport, I was hit by the weird kind of silence that I would later discover is peculiar to England. However, coming from a violently noisy atmosphere, this really unnerved me.

After I had negotiated the incredibly long line for non-EU passport holders at immigration, I was asked very politely whether I could answer some questions for a survey. Apparently, I was one of the lucky people in a thousand who were given this honour completely at random! I wondered what dinner in Guantanamo Bay was like. 

Anyhow, I got out of the airport and hailed a black cab like I had seen Hugh Grant do in Notting Hill. I soon found out why this is not the recommended mode of transport around London. We stopped at every traffic light on the way and I got to my hotel in Russel Square an hour later lighter by £97.

I figured that now that I was here I may as well try and get a job. For the next two days, I memorised the list of awards the firm had won and pored over all the news articles with amazing things written about it. I listed my strengths and weaknesses. I spoke to myself in the mirror and practised my facial expressions. I found words to put my meagre achievements in context, glorifying them to make them sound grander without deviating too far from the truth (eg. Coordinator of a moot court competition sounds way better than a mere bailiff). I polished my shoes and brushed my suit over and over again. I travelled to Moorgate station, found my way to the Colby, Hewitt and Richards office and gazed at it lovingly. I tried to decipher the English accent by speaking to as many tube officials as I could.

The night before my interview, I went to sleep at about 10.30 pm. “Tomorrow is going to be the biggest day of my life”, I thought to myself as I drifted into sweet dreams of mergers and acquisitions.

(Click here to read The Recruit: Part 2)









21 June 2010

If ever you happen to be embroiled in an unsavoury critical situation,

 Telling upon your reputation (whatever that be) and seeking your resignation,

Experts who have always stubbornly remained unmoved, unfazed or unshaken,

Even in gravest hour of crisis have set an ideal example for emulation.

Do not ever be goaded by vintage things like ethics, morality or compunction,

That is why they find no place in curriculum of our present day education.

So, never ever hurry up to own up your responsibility and tender resignation,

You would do well for your dearest KITH & KINS and your well founded position,

To lookout for some alibi that could create in people’s mind some distraction or confusion,

For this, act of foreign hand, previous government, opposition are some handy props for consideration,

If it works well you surely sail through easily with grand distinction,

Earning encomiums to boot as one TACTFUL and gifted with rare acumen of administration,

Even if it doesn’t work there is no cause of worry, tension or dejection,

You still have to practically do nothing but simply seem to be in mode of action,

If it is a case of Rail accident, Drought or floods immediately rush up for site inspection,

In other sundry cases order and enquiry and set up some high powered commission,

Make a flurry of anodyne statements and announce payment of ex-gratia compensation,

Always remember whether victims get compensation or not ,should not be your botheration,

You should not brood over ONE situation as such situations occur in quick succession,

Also remember that there would be no dearth of people in whose opinion,

You would nevertheless be adored as a smart person of great VISION,

Whose contribution to the society would never be forgotten by this NATION.


19 June 2010

Every disaster (Natural or otherwise) brings in its wake untold miseries to the affected victims and arouses anger and anguish against the establishment. It sends us in a deep contemplative mood to probe what went wrong, how & why? This public resentment & outcry then wakes up the government of the day from deep slumber and galvanizes it into action. Most often, in such cases authorities in power are made the target of public fury and anger whether they are truly responsible for such mishap or not. In such cases public passions are so virulent that their faculty of reason and rationale is often overtaken by emotions, and they start indulging in unsavory violent activities in a wanton & irrational manner – Though not justifiable.

It is widely perceived that action taking exercise undertaken by the government is also not undertaken with requisite promptness nor the proposed measures seem adequately in proportion to the enormity of the misery befallen on people. It appears to be a mere sham exercise undertaken mainly to subdue emergent upheaval rather to address the main issue to curb the recurrence of such mishap in future in genuine manner. The measures, it is believed are taken keeping in view how high and stridently the embers of raging fury and ire of the people would reach to singe the conscience of the government and to what extent. Thus the whole exercise which ought to be purely a humanitarian exercise gets pulverized into a political game plan where unscrupulous vested interests don’t shy from deriving mileage out of such situations.

It is not that this virus of politics affects only the establishment of the day. Public at large is also not spared from its rabidity. The public fury is generally divided on political lines ranging from stoic reticence to strong indignation via muted response. This prevarication allows a lee way to the government to play the nefarious blame game simply to somehow bide time to mellow down the public anger in due course. As a result the public welfare gets subsumed in the welter of confusion that ensues owing to such shifty indulgence of the government.

But, significantly the Bhopal Gas Disaster is perhaps a singular exception that has raised the hackles of one and all regardless of one’s political affiliations. It has aptly aroused the conscience of the whole nation in a unified manner and discomfited the government to see this remarkable change.

The verdict of the local court at Bhopal (7th June) in this case has worked as a catalyst to bring about this change. It has revealed that public anger by and large veers round two distinct strands of grievances. Firstly the inadequacy of the compensation given (Reportedly not at all given in certain cases) to the victims and secondly and more importantly inadequacy of the punishment meted out (Rather not at all meted out to some who still are at large) to the authors of this worst human tragedy.

It is also true that having witnessed a spate of tragedies and disasters, we have virtually become immured to the sort of cynicism that permeates our society. The denouncement of this great human tragedy has highlighted how inherent public amnesia often abets such cynicism and allows our irresponsible political establishments to play political chicanery in an unabashed manner even in such grave situations.

The sordid aftermath of this disaster especially the verdict of Bhopal Court has brought into sharp focus the rank failure of our governing ( neigh non governing) TRINITY – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in equal measure for their respective acts of omission and commission. But this certainly is not the time to indulge in mutual bickering or baying for one upmanship. Larger public interest would be better served only when they get their acts together in all sagacity with honesty and diligence not only to secure requisite adequate punishment to the real culprits of this great crime against humanity expeditiously as this is the root cause of public clamour and also to spruce up / revamp the whole system in such a way that we never happen to witness such tragedy ever again in future.

It is a popular belief that the situation can improve only if we have an Effective legislature, Active executive, and Pro- active & assertive judiciary in our country. The present setup doesn’t make any sense and is a meaningless dispensation which hardly caters to the public cause.

It is high time that we learnt some lessons from this disaster – though belatedly and do something plausible and concrete to shape a really viable functional and reliable dispensation which is genuinely responsive to the hopes and aspirations of our people and competent to secure a safe and peaceful life to them. May be we may have to revisit our constitution afresh to do away with certain provisions as appear to be impediments rather than facilitators to achieve our ideals and objectives. It is also high time to ponder seriously about desirability of having entities whom we adore as constitutional icons, amidst us who apart from proliferating a culture of sycophancy and false vanity and stand in our FAST TRACKING procedures as stubborn blocks only. Do we need such white elephants in this fast age? Is however a moot question begging an answer from our intelligentsia.  So let us give a thought to this proposition in larger national interests.

19 June 2010

The UnCivil Service…..a legacy of the people who loved tea "with a spot of milk"


The Indian Uncivil Service…is a career option seen by many law students as the ultimate goal and clearing this exam is considered to be nothing but the pinnacle of success…..the acme of achievement…by many

I just wish to tender my own humble opinion and voice my personal views…

IAS is NOT the only service..there’s IPS IFS IRS IAAS IRTS IRPS IRAS IDCS ISS etc..among the Group A uncivil services…

You crack the exam and you re herded off to Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie (excpet IPS who re trained at Sardar Vallabbhai Patel National Police Academy) wherein it is drilled into your head that you are the crème de la crème and you are the “Steel Frame” of the Indian administration….You are also told that you are A class…top drawer etc…

You come out with a bloated ego and are posted as a probationery officer as SDM/SDO ,designation varying from state to state…

Your office is a government building typically of which the paramount difficulty lies in identifying the colour of it ..is it pink? Or was it yellow? But then wat about the patches of green??

You get “a sprawling bungalow” with snakes and frogs abound in the bathrooms…the Old Victorian ones are scary though architecturally excellent except for the fact that your servant thinks its proper etiquette to dig his nose looking for a goldmine in front of the “sahib” and your gardener farts loudly as you pass by…shielded by the Welfare State’s white ambassador and a red beacon glaring out at the undeserving menions who crouch down low and salute you as you pass by…..

Slowly over the years you rise in rank and the bungalow is reduced to a flat in a government appartment block in the city ,ie, the state headquarters…servants are non existent now and there’s but only one official car which of course “as per tradition” should be waiting outside your home (whilst you are in office) to take your wife for her daily shopping and kitty parties…and ferry your kids to the club to play tennis

Your office:

A nice chamber ..wherein you ll be invisible behind the piles of files….(era of e governance) as you ring the bell for your orderlie a man in khadi( once brown) will enter your office giving you the look of deepest disdain for interrupting his midday siesta and ask his sahib for instructions…..

AS the feeling of utter frustration and despondency envelopes you..you curse yourself for having a mind of your own…and for having entered this service….

Your phone rings and your PA says “Sir…CMO Secy on line 1”…you pick up and “Sir”him…

CMO Secy-“ you sent the proposal?”

You    -“sir”

CMO Secy “ Have you taken into account the MLA’s wishes?”

You   -“Yes sir”

CMO Secy-“ Accha btw listen the new irrigation minister’s wife runs an NGO…your department shall sponsor the AGM”

You “Right Sir”

CMO Secy Slams the phone down


The rigid seniority demands your absolute psycophancy and one toe out of line and you will fall out of grace and be shunted as the next Commisioner Bicyle Licensing and Officer on Special Duty to evaluate the Milk tax to be levied on the more productive of Indian cows where your job shall be to submit a report that must argue which department should be incharge of the mating between Indian and Australian cows….and then the Ministry of External Affairs shall sit on your proposal thinking about the recent spate of racial attacks in the said country and Finance shall obviously turn it down(that's why they are there) siting "paucity of funds in the budgetary allocation for current year...ministry may seek transallocation of funds by resubmitting the case in question to the undersigned hereafter henceforth whereunder"....... and the rest of those similar sounding words....


You shall speak in Uncivil Service tongue which has different meanings from the ordinary language as people know it:

You: “We are looking into the matter”

Meaning: “my clumsy clerks have lost the file and I don’t give a damn about it”


You:”The matter is under consideration”

Meaning:”ok fine…I ll send the clerks to look for the file”


You:”the matter is under active consideration”

Meaning:”I m in the line of fire from the CMO…I myself m searching for the file”


You shall not be a part of the bureaucracy but the “ambassadocracy” and mind you only "white" in colour….

The colour of all official paper shall be however off white and your official stamp an illegible mess of blue/black….

You ll assiduosly write IAS after your name…even if it goes to a level of ridicule….even after retirement you shall write IAS(retd.) after your name…pardon me but how about IAS(departed) after you death???


You shall be paid a meagre salary by which the welfare state expects you to honestly raise your kids and have two decent meals….


You shall revel in the glory of your lal batti and render “public unservice”…being the” public servant” that you are…..

You ll look at your friends’ Mercs and property and tell others about the pride honour glory of your service…the chance it offers to serve the nation and attain self actualisation but in your heart you shall be green with jealousy and curse yourself for choosing this proffesion…


Your colleagues…especially some who hail from the cow belt shall quote the present rate of IAS grooms…(the last I heard was 1.2 crores and a decent sedan)…and you shall be appalled at the level of corruption all around you (presuming you have scruples yourself and thats not the reason why you youself are there first)…

Life will drudge on and you shall only crib and wait for the next pay commission and the pay rise you receive and the once in a blue moon foreign trip shall give you ecstatic pleasure….and your Performance Appraisal Report shall be the sword hanging above you…..


This might seem to be a very cynical perspective but since I had the opportunity to observe some civil servants ...........
 I shall give you the other side of the story too…in my next blog…comments are welcome and I would love to give some more “inside” stories…..and cynical takes…on the Uncivil service...if people seem interested...


To end with a uncivil service joke  :


An young IAS is posted as Collector of a district…….he gets an order from the Secy Agriculture to count the total number of cattle in his district and send a report…he is flabbergasted and cannot comprehend the sheer riduculousness and futility of the work  and the immensity and complexity of the entire procedure…….he calls a subordinate and asks him what to do…..who says “not to worry sir…..this is regular work…comes evry year….we have the figures…we do an annual increment of 7.5%  and send the new figures”…so the collector says how did u arrive at the exact 7.5pc …how do you know the growth rate of  cattle population?.....he says oh sir its simple….i got it from the data published by the agriculture department who compile all the data sent by the different districts like ours and arrive at a final”….collector says ohk….”just add two to this year’s figures….1 .ie you for doing this intellectually "stimulating" work over the years and I m the other one..the 2nd…for ever having joined the UNCIVIL SERVICE”………..


More to come….    Satyameva Jayate...!!!!!!!!!!



19 June 2010

This post is about the fees that some NLUs charge. 

This table contains the amount of fees that the respective college is going to charge for this year's batch. Last retrieved on 18th June 2010 from the respective college's website. 

Sr. No.

Name of University

Fees (Rs)








NLSIU- Banglore




NALSAR- Hyderabad




NUJS- Kolkata




NLIU- Bhopal


Exemption for ST/SC of MP only.


GNLU- Gandhinagar




RMLNLU- Lucknow




There are a lot of things that come to mind when we look at the above table. Just by looking at it for a minute. The 6 randomly chosen colleges have been arranged in the descending order of their fees. The fees for General category and ST/SC's is different.  None of my concerns are related to any particular college. They are all general in nature. I have voiced these concerns to a lot of people and I was not satisfied by the answers they gave. I thought this might be a good place to ask.

My concerns

1)      Exorbitant fees


I mean c’mon. How can common people afford such high fees. It is not something that a middle class citizen of India can afford. This would make the colleges elitist. Only rich people can study here. I don’t think that was the motive behind the creation of NLUs.


Add to the fees, the pocket money and other such expenses that are to be taken care of. Hostel and food are covered in some colleges. Books are a very big expense too. You cannot always depend on the library, especially not during the exams. There are at the most 5 copies of a book generally and around 100 students fighting for it. If it’s not issued then someone might be using it. Laptops are quickly becoming a necessity. College computers are not the best substitutes. Students who don’t have a laptop struggle to keep pace with the others. Scholarship is only for the lucky few.


Add to this the fact that government and UGC usually gives these colleges a lot of money by way of grants. Government also gives subsidies like free land for the campus, no property tax, easy permissions etc. So if almost everything is paid by the government then what are they charging us this much for?


Faculties on the other hand always cry for more salary. Their salary is decided by the government and is completely manageable even if the college reduces the fees to half.

Imagine this, a college has 120 students and the fee paid by them is 1.2 lahks per student. It means that the college gets Rs. 14,40,00,000 or fourteen crores forty lakhs as salary. If each faculty is given 30,000 per month (that’s the average salary of a NLU faculty) and the total number of faculties is taken as 30 (including the part timers) then the total expense on faculties salary is 30*30,000*12= 1,44,00,000. Now do the remaining math yourself. Add administrative cost, moot and other events sponsorship (if applicable to your college).

Final figure will tell you how much your college rakes in every year. Plus, the fees keep on increasing due to inflation.


Will the middle class student stand up?


2)      SC/ST

I would like to clarify in the beginning that I am not against reservation (the concept), I do not like how it is being implemented.

Consider the above fees. Now imagine how much should the salary of a person be to pay such a huge amount at once. If not at once then even EMI’s of loans would be very high. If a person can afford to pay it, is he/she not a part of the creamy layer? If you can pay 1.2 lakhs per year, it means that you earn around 4-5 lakhs minimum (not always but generally). So how can you not be a part of the creamy layer? You are paying taxes on your income. Not like SC/ST’s get a lot of subsidy on the fees or anything. It just helps the creamy layer an easy admission. Think about it. I am not clear on this point so I have put it up as a concern.


My understanding on the topic at hand is still very primary. These are more like questions rather than conclusions. No offence is meant to anyone. I do not wish to accuse people of anything so do not comment on the post saying “ You are discriminatory dog.” Or something like that. ( I have been called that once by someone who did not understand my argument in a debate. Its quite embarrassing when that happens in public. True story. ) 


Thank You !

Phoenix. :)  


P.S. I have a lot of incomplete blogs with me. Now I am completing them and posting them back to back.

P.S.S. Constructive suggestions and requests for any specific kind of posts is always welcome 

19 June 2010

Hy dear readers,

Let me tell you at once that this is my premature adventure to write on a subject to which I have started my journey only a few days back and I know I have to travel the earth, walking. And, therefore, I will keep improving this blog while posting my brushing experience. But I am sure, this blog will not the pass the test of umpteen genuine criticism.

In this adventure, the readers, for the limited purpose of reading this mail, has to commit a bonafide temporary mistake to suppose that I am playing a Judge in this write up. Also let me tell you that I have no liberty to think that readers will have mercy to read my looong mails. Five pages is too much, still there are five.
Before I tell you how we decide cases, I will tell you little about court cases.

There were ancient times immemorial when there were no laws to govern and so were no governments & courts and man of victim were settling scores by themselves. But since now when we are a land governed by rules, laws and Judicial pronouncements and scheme of giving Justice by law courts is introduced for facilitation of these rules, laws and Judicial pronouncements, in cases they alleged to have been disregarded.

Let me tell you the whole scheme of Justice in its most common meaning implies the giving of every man his legal dues and the installation of Law Courts are meant for giving that legal due to that man, to the man who comes to the Court with “clean hands”.
Let me tell you that in every complaint filed in the court of law, it is suffice if one merely seeks the bare observance of the letter of the law and the spirit inherent in the letter of the law because NOW since we live in a society governed by Laws, rules & judicial pronouncements.
Let me tell you that we are quite conscious that fortune of time, money and wisdom is invested in enacting laws democratically and this whole exercise is passionately thrown overboard at the mere fascination of an irresponsible man when knowingly acting in clear breach of that law established democratically.
Let me also tell you that we know well the fascination of public Officials’ to established laws and neglect of their duties is the main cause of people’s indulgence in expensive and avoidable litigation; and that our government is known to be a huge contributor to delays, in matters where it is a party – at various stages – from evading notices, replying to notices and replying without application of mind, unnecessarily appealing even when the laws are clearly in favor of the other side, etc.

Now let me tell you how we decide cases.
Let me tell you that whenever a case comes before the Court, Judges in their occupational wisdom, though may appears to be deciding the case, yet legally speaking, they actually look at the law & facts of the case, interprete the law if required, settle the correct position of law, apply these settled laws to the facts of the case and thus the parties get their dues in the matrix of facts of the case & settled position of law.

It is always satisfying to see that a compliant is founded on law points or on equity, or else, let me tell you that complaint is vulnerable to fall flat. Letter of the law and principles of equity are our written voice and it is in the national interest if we remain prisoners of statute laws and do not travel beyond letter and intent inherent in language of the law.

Let me tell you that we can immediately judge the fairness of complainant if we slightly come across serious inconsistencies or untenable averments so made in the complaint.
I will also share a secret. Success of litigation depends upon the satisfaction of the presiding Judge. Wait a moment...... satisfaction means satisfaction by the averments and crisp arguments advanced, written or verbal and impeccable evidences lead.

First of all we see that if the Complainant has reasonably satisfied us that we have jurisdiction to decide the case in hand and we can give authoritative orders/ directions to the opposite parties in the case.

Then we see if the party has satisfied us that complainant has locus to file this case.

If this is done...then we satisfy ourselves to the crispy synopsis so made by the complainant which quickly gives us the gist of whole case.

Whether the case at hand is barred by time limitation or if a proper court fee is paid, are not the issues, which ordinarily, we are suppose to look into. It is the job of opposite party to raise objection to these above issues, if there are any.

After acquainting with gist of the case, we satisfy as whether applicable laws & sections of statutes are neatly & separately presented for its application with gist of the case to which now we are acquainted with. Let me tell you that we are also very anxious to find out the correct position of law as decided in earlier cases on similar points, which have become subject matter in this case.

Although the Advocates seems to be laboriously researching & preparing a water tight case, but sometimes, many irrelevancies and quite repetitions creeps in. Tell me, where is the time to read the whole facts of the case that sometimes runs into even three digit mark. Even if they are into 20-30 pages, it is quite difficult to read patiently, given the workload we have.

It is quite satisfying to see if the principal issue i.e. main area of controversy between the Complainant & opposite parties with respect to facts and law are brought to our notice in the beginning of the complaint, before narrating the looong facts of the case.

If it is satisfied to us that synopsis of the case reveals the violation of right or disclose failure of duty of opposite party in the light of the letter of the law, the complainant has to satisfy us that he has annexed documentary evidences in support of his submissions and he is not making just wild allegation against the opposite party without substantiating his averments. Let me tell you that his case may collapse like structure of playing cards in the absence of clear evidences to support his submissions.

If there are clear evidences annexed to support his submissions, then we move to patiently hear the opposite parties to the case.

After patiently hearing their submissions and their annexed evidences, we verify the submissions & evidences furnished by the complainant party. There may be certain things which the complainant party has not disclosed. We have to see, if these non disclosures have fatal bearing on his case or if those non disclosures are not so important to the final outcome of the case.
Whereas it is seen that advocates and Senior Counsels and even petitioner in persons of PILs vehemently put forth the wholesome illegality of the opposite party, in particularly of the mass abuse of powers by ministers & commissioners and thus they feel that they are naturally entitled to seek relief from us. Let me tell you we know well all this abuse of powers. However, this sometimes irritates us and seems exaggerated to us, though they may be very right.

I think, it is suffice, and more appropriate way may be that if we are patiently told to look into the letter of the law that is applicable in the case at hand, and also brought to our notice the correct position of law as decided in earlier instances by HC & SC, and we are neatly told the conduct of the opposite party and then we may be told to satisfy if the conduct of the opposite party is according to the law established ? Let us we be not told directly to pass orders. We are Lordship, you know.

Let me tell you that we quietly follows the points that advocates are making and can asses their worth; and it is better if we are told succinctly the Law holding the land as on today and the reality holding the land as on today.

Also it is seen that parties seek lot of reliefs and prayers from us. Let me tell you that we do not give them any reliefs; or rather correct way of saying is- we are not here to give reliefs and grant prayers. We are law courts and we are here to interprete the law and settle the correct position of law as it stands in the statute books. And in the light of settled position of law, if the alleging party becomes entitle to the reliefs, he gets it. The relief he gets is the consequence of our duty to settle the law and not any other way.
Dear people, a lethal weapon in hand tempts its owner to use it even unjustly and wantonly and so is the case with possession of undefined discretionary powers we have. But let me also tell you that we are incapable of denying legal dues to anyone who comes to us because we discharge our duties in open public forum; and in the public eye it is sometimes very difficult to abuse powers, especially when one brings forth a clear cut case for adjudication. It all depends on the lawyer who presents the case. Let me tell you that he is quite capable of preventing us from abuse of our undefined discretionary powers. Let me also tell you that urge for justice must emerge from victims because otherwise lawyers are quite busy.

We often feel irritated when advocates ask for immediate reliefs and they don’t care for our satisfaction and our views on it. Let me again remind that we are Lordship. Instead they should pose a question to us. Let me tell you that it is difficult for us to misuse our undefined discretionary powers of passing vague judgments & orders.

Let me tell you that Prayer Clause forms one of the most important part of any pleadings and the draftsman may style this clause in the following fashion, depending on factual position of his case.

The Complainant is discreetly conscious that satisfaction of this Hon’ble Court is prerequisite for success of the complainant’s litigation and therefore this Hon’ble Court is humbly prayed-

1. While taking into account the submissions of Complainant as contained in points .., the Hon’ble Court is prayed to satisfy itself, recording their valued reasoning in its Judgment / order, that if this Hon’ble Court has had the Jurisdiction as to case at hand and if the complainant has had the locus to file the case at hand.
2. While taking into account the submissions of Complainant as contained in points .., the Hon’ble Court is prayed to satisfy itself, recording their valued reasoning in its Judgment / order, that if it is alleged that the case at hand is barred by limitation laws & if the complainant has not paid the proper court fee.
3. While taking into account the facts of the case & position of law, the Hon’ble Court is prayed to satisfy itself, recording their valued reasoning in its Judgment / order that if the “principal allegations made by the complainant”, as outlined in the “points to be urged” against the opposite parties appears genuine & correct.

4. The Hon’ble Court is prayed to record in its Judgment / order, the scope & ambit of ‘these’ legal terms & phrases, which forms part of the statute laws and other applicable legal incidents in this case.
5. While taking into account the submissions of Complainant as contained in points .., the Hon’ble Court is prayed to record in its Judgment / order if the complainant has reasonably satisfied this Hon’ble Court about the due compliance of various ingredients / components of applicable section of law at hand, which brings home, either the right of the complainant or the guilt of the opposite party.

6. While taking into account the submissions of Complainant as contained in points .., the Hon’ble Court is prayed to satisfy itself, recording their valued reasoning in its Judgment / order whether facts of the case & supporting evidences indicates the infringement of rights of the complainant, in the light of the position of law.
7. While taking into account the submissions of Complainant as contained in points .., the Hon’ble Court is prayed to satisfy itself, recording their valued reasoning in its Judgment / order that if conduct of the opposite parties, in the matrix of facts of the case & settled position of law, indicates the frustration of enacted laws / indicates the failure of duties enjoined by law on them.

8. In the light of above satisfaction or the absence of satisfaction of this Hon’ble Court, the Hon’ble Court is prayed to decide & pass orders, interim / final, if the complainant party becomes entitle to the reliefs, as made out hereinafter.


Let me tell you that Justice dispensation appear much easy compared to other professions and occupations, save criminal trials & “Basic Structure Doctrine cases”, and yet giving of Justice has become a complication of simple things, for all mercies of law are cornered to defend wholesome illegalities, however beautifully crafted our colonial laws.
Let me finally tell you that there is no guarantee of Justice even if above path is religiously followed, remember our lethal weapon. And if you aspire to restrict the use of our this lethal weapon, tell your government to do two things- and they will not do it, is-

(1) Let all court proceedings be video recorded; and whereas

(2) An Indian Citizen gets eligible to Vote at age of 18, and therefore, he must know before 18 our democracy and how it functions. And so, the subject of Public Administration must be included as compulsory subject for all streams of Higher Education.
Now coming back to my original spirit..
Sandeep Jalan (advocate)
Janhit Manch, Kuber Bhuvan, Bajaj Road, Vile Parle West, Mumbai- 400056



18 June 2010




1) You get the hot seat in making any decision whether in a court room or with the vegetable             vendor.

2) You get the right to slam your siblings (youngsters in general) about their lawlessness (read as  monkey antics) and not get beaten into a pulp for it.

3) You get to work in a air conditioned office which at least lets you to watch as much tv as you       want (whether you will get your favorite channel or not .. is a different story).

4) You get a fat pay cheque at the end of the day that at least pays your house rent.

5)  You get to travel the world.



1) You have no time to enjoy that fat pay cheque.

2) The time that you can spare goes to the doctor or any spa to manage your stress level.

3)    You get to see only the airports and the offices around the world without even knowing          about the beauty of the place.

4) No one really trusts you...you see  lawyers are even compared to  vultures (scavengers)            in some cultures.

5)You have a limited social value..even the cable guy gets more respect in the community..




18 June 2010

In a recent Delhi HC decision Justice Kapoor denied divorce to the wife of a very less known litigator Mr. Smelly Singh on grounds of cruelty. The wife, Mrs. Rosy had contended that the ‘unbearable and nauseating smell’ which her husband emanated after coming from work amounted to ‘cruelty’.

Facts: prima facie stinking

Litigators in India are to compulsorily wear black coats and black pants even in the months of May and June and generally are not rich enough to buy ACs or Coolers.

Recently a petition was filed in the High Court in Kerala seeking a change in the dress code of lawyers – because “the black coat, a relic of the Raj, is unsuitable for the sweltering Indian climate”.

The judgment

The judge wrote in his judgement, “This noble profession of a lawyer swears by sweat. The smell of sweat, however bad always reminds us of the dedication and hard work this age old and noble profession demands”.

 “Law is a jealous mistress, but she has always tolerated sweaty armpits”, said the judge calling for room fresheners, simultaneously.

Wife’s response

When our reporter tried to talk to the wife on phone, her voice sounded very nasal. On enquiry we found that she generally had her nose pinned with a clothes-pin and even her children, Sweaty and Badboo had the same.

When asked whether her husband uses deodorants she said, “Yes. He gets them for free as has been recently selected by the Set Wet Company as a model for experimenting on how their products can prevent sweat and smell in such extreme conditions”.

Role of BCI

Mr. Barrier of Bar Council of India has told us that the Bar Council of India is taking appropriate steps to get rid of this situation. “We are aware of the situation”, he said with a quenched nose.

He added, “We are going to offer free ‘waxing’ facilities for our male lawyers. Body hair is one of the causes of such situations getting worsened”.

“Also, in the bar exam along with name, date of birth, sex etc. we’ll have a ‘sweat condition’ column. The options range from below normal to highly vulnerable. We’ll identify people who need medical help and can allow them some leverage in the dress code”, he said.

Client’s response

However many of the clients of leading litigators say that the smell helps them as they can tell how well prepared the lawyer is just by the strength of the smell he/she emanates.

“I don’t even have to go inside my lawyer’s chamber. I can feel the aura, I mean smell it even outside his office when he is especially confident about a case”, said Mr. A. Sharma client of Advocate B. Verma.

Sex and smell

 “Now that the judgment has been delivered, I must tell you that my husband is otherwise very very sexy”, said the wife, sounding excited.

“But on numerous occasion he has virtually set himself wet and bathed in the deo, but with no smellable results”, she adds, sniffing the air around her.

18 June 2010

Note: -  I admit to only a passing acquaintance with serious literature, political theory, Indian history and philosophy and I welcome constructive criticism and comment. All conclusions drawn are as a result of my own conjecture, and I could be wrong.

Lata Mangeshkar confidently whines the national anthem in the background as I hurriedly suppress a sneeze. It is a weekend evening and the theatre is full of families complete with snotty five year olds who are guaranteed to drown the more interesting parts of the movie in a shower of comments, largely involving - 1. the shortage of popcorn
2. papa, baathrooooom! (and)
3. mummy, what is Hrithik uncle doing to Barbara aunty? Pappiiiiiiiiiiii hawwwwwww!

This time, as I hunt desperately for a hanky or a tissue to drown my sneeze in, I watch a kindergartener being roughly pulled to his feet by his mother, who tells him off, This is the national anthem! Don't you know you have to stand up! What do they teach you in school!

What do they teach us, indeed. It sets off an interesting series of thoughts. Ever since I was three feet tall and in a pinafore, I have been dutifully standing up for the anthem and singing along, because it was the patriotic thing to do, and patriotic, my teachers told me, is always the right thing to be. Swayed by greed for obedience medals, I complied without question.

Middle school and high school went by in a blur of obsessing over skin, hair, stomach fat, the opposite sex, some rather violent music and some fashionably depressing literature (Kafka, anyone? Nietzche?), and not a lot of thought went to things like patriotism.

Yet I find that it is becoming increasingly important to know exactly why we value the things we value, and as the world grows smaller every day, I find myself questioning the utility of patriotism.

Who even knows what patriotism is? Nationalism? Not necessarily. 'Patriotism',as suggested by its root patria, points to a vaguer, wider attachment to a location and a lifestyle, says the Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy. For us Indians that means that patriotism is the pride in an identity and not in a nation. Nations are communities of people sharing a commonality of culture, and this commonality may be of religion or of culture, or of language, or of something else. It follows, then,  that your average Indian belongs simultaneously to several 'nations', and two Indians will rarely possess exactly the same origins or belong to exactly the same nations. Which brings us to identity.

Identity, Amartya Sen argues in his excellent essay on history as an 'enterprise of knowledge', is a question of choice based on informed consent, and not an involuntary social construct. The question is not settled, but what we do know for certain is that militantly Hindu political elements are afraid of exactly what Sen suggests; the Saffronisation of history textbooks in school has many consequences, the most immediate of which is the low horizon of knowledge, which is saddening in itself. However the most pernicious consequence is one that will have the most lasting effect; saffronisation - or any manipulation of history, limits our knowledge of our own richly heterodoxical past and consequentially limits our ability to gainfully claim our respective identities from them; to choose what to take pride in, as Sen says, based on an objective evaluation of all available facts.

 Saffronisation can be as subtle as referring to all Muslim rulers as 'invaders', or simply those parts of history which do not fit with the political requirement of a 'Hindu' past. And why is it troubling to refer to all Muslim kings as invaders? Because India was never a nation; today, it is still only a nation-state by convenience. Much of 1947 was spent in head-scratching across continents, as men across the world struggled with the demarcation of an 'Indian nation', where none seemed to exist; as Churchill famously said - "India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator."

But we are, today, a nation state. We of different nations come together under the same flag in consequence of what may be argued to be a social contract, where we have limited our rights (to speech, for example) as individuals to gain some freedoms as a people, including the shared use of resources. A nation-state thus appears to arise not from a spontaneous love in our hearts for our human brothers, but a primitive desire of preservation. If this is so, our 'contractual' consideration for gaining the position of 'citizens' in such a state, is the voluntary limitation of our rights. Where does 'patriotic' love figure in this? Why are we required to 'love' our country? Our borders are an accident of history; they are not an accurate demarcation of a particular nation or of its people; they are at most a relic of the Partition of India.

The Partition is universally acknowledged as having been politically ill-advised and a humanitarian disaster; if our identity is a function of our choice, the Partition is not something we would proudly pick, which begs the question -  what significance does our nation-state of India have to our understanding of where we come from? And why must we take pride in it?

In its inception during the French Renaissance, the concept of patriotism was limited largely to the rule of law, common good and humanism. Over the years, political convenience and organised religion have colluded to redefine patriotism as the confrontational love of a nation-state to the exclusion of all others. It is a negative, parochial outlook.

It is my argument that such a sentiment can only be damaging in the long term to both the intelligence and the growth of a people and a nation-state. As the world grows smaller and borders grow increasingly irrelevant, traditions need to be questioned. I have my own questions, and these questions remain unanswered.

So I watch the flag wave on the Inox screen, and I stand up obediently as the anthem plays.

But mired in my doubts, I stand in silence.

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.....



18 June 2010


[ I have used names of well known character because I felt like it. I mean no offence to any of the characters or their fans.]

(A group of friends are sitting in a typical law school hostel.)

Characters involved are:

Calvin- Of Calvin and Hobbes fame

Green Lantern- The guy with the ring

Gohan- Kame-hame-ha

Batman- Your not so friendly neighbourhood super hero

Hagar- The Horrible

Gandalf- Enough said. 


Scene 1:

Calvin: (thinking loudly) I don’t know what I will do after law school. Its been (x) number of years and I don't know jack about anything. (Sigh!)

Green Lantern: Join a law firm. Isn’t that like the only option?

Calvin: The fact is that in law school and even during recruitment, intelligence and competence are measured in terms of CGPA. I barely get enough marks to get me into the ‘average’ category from the ‘good for nothing’ category.

Green Lantern: This is precisely the reason why I asked you to study like you life depended on it, right from the first semester itself. (gets back to completing his notes for the day)

Gohan: My dad is a lawyer. I will join the ‘family business’. (grins at everyone)

Calvin: Okay okay you son of a lawyer. We get it. No need to rub it in.

Batman: How about MBA after this law?

Calvin: (Sarcastically) Yes sure. Mix Naan with Noodles.

Hagar: I just got the most brilliant idea. Why don’t we all start a law firm ourselves?

(Everyone in the room turns towards him and stares in surprise)

Hagar: How about it, huh? We all have interests in different fields. We can all..

Gohan: But My dad is a lawyer and he will....

Batman: Oh shut up Gohan! 

Hagar: (continues) We can all intern at places which work in our areas of interest. After our 5 years of law school are over, we work as juniors with good lawyers here in the High Court and the Lower court. After working for them for around 2 years, we would have learnt the basic and would be ready to start  on our own. We then leave our ‘jobs’ and start a firm ourselves. We will be able to get the capital together and start. We have heard that Jugaad is always successful, imagine how successful will group Jugaad be. All our contacts combined. It will be legendary!

(Everyone was laughing but was also seriously thinking over it. Until Gandalf enters and enquires what everyone is laughing at)

Gandalf: Aye ! Instead of starting a law firm why don’t you guys start a law school? Government will support you. Provide with capital and also give subsidies. You can rip off students in the name of tuition fees and infrastructure costs. It’s the most profitable business ever.

Anyways, does anyone of you have the new Lady Gaga album?

[This post has been written in an extreme state of sleep deficiency and nostalgia combined.]

Constructive suggestions are welcome. :)


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.

17 June 2010


So, you made it to Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) ? Or thinking of joining it next year ?


Well there are a lot of things (good/bad) that you might have heard about it. All the NLU's have merits and demerits. All the non-NLU colleges will detest the NLU's (generally) for one reason or the other and the NLU's will always think that they are better, in more ways than one. 

GNLU is no different. It will complete 7 years this July. It has definitely grown from strength to strength but has it grown enough ?

I will definitely not tell you the rank of GNLU amoung the NLUs. One very big reason for that is that I don't know. :) It is different in all the surveys done. I guess GNLU usually lags behind in the ranking because 1) only two batches have passed out till now and so we don't have a substantial support from them as of now. This will improve over the years. Drastically. 2) GNLU doesn't have their own campus. The campus is under construction. According to the University reports next years CLAT batch will be able to study in the new campus right away.  


College/hostel is far away from almost everything. Its in a corner of Gandhinagar. The place is far away from any kind of civilization. The curfew time is 9:30 pm but that doesn't seem early as the entire city is closed by 10:00. Gandhinagar is the greenest capital in the country. Good road. Auto rickshaws are the only mode of transportation. 800 students staying together, no dearth of humans in the college campus itself. 

The hostel is a decent place. Twin sharing rooms. I have been told that these are the best hostels amoung all NLUs. Pretty big rooms and decent facilities. Basic stuff is available right outside the hostel. 


Closest place to hang out is Ahmedabad. It takes around 30-40 minutes and transportation is easily available. Gujarat is a dry state (Ha!). So the 'fun places' are sometimes not what everyone expects. 

Gandhinagar has a Cafe Coffee day, U.S. Pizza and proper Punjabi, South Indian outlets.  Veg- Non veg both are available. Cambay resort is the high end place. In short, food will generally not be a problem if you are cool with eating out. Mess sucks ! (almost everywhere).

Faculty, well that's a tricky one. Some of them are exceptional, some are mediocre and the rest all plain stupid. Generally all of them will help when you meet them in person, except for a couple of them who are a pain in the donkey. 

The opportunities are quite a few. Considering the fact that GNLu is getting a lot of support from the State Government and the High Court of Gujarat. 

Placements have been good. Top 4 rankers got through Amarchand this time.  I am not aware about other placement but I have heard that Pangea3, Khaitan, Wadhia Gandhy etc have also taken a lot of people. PSUs take a lot of people. Plus, Gnadhinagar has so many of them. 

Gujarat is known for being safe for women. People here are way more helpful then in a lot of other states in India. (No Offense) 

I want everyone to note that these are all my personal views. I have no intention of disrespecting anyone or any university.  I also urge people to not argue about which college is the best as that kind of arguments never get to a conclusion. All universities are good in one way or the other. 


I guess this is it. If you want to know more, just ask me through a comment. I would be happy to answer them.



Keep Smiling.  :) 


17 June 2010


We’re fast approaching the 2nd of July : the date of the Naz Foundation judgment. You know the one, the one with the operative paragraph that went something like this :

We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

I look back at how a 105 page document has affected my life over the last year.

The Day of the Judgment

Class hour. I feel the buzz of a new message on my phone, but I can’t check it just yet. I know what it should be about, of course. Today is the day, and it’s 10.45 AM, Court’s open, and yes, I know what it’s about alright . And if I check it now, things change. As long as I don’t look, I can revel in this glorious uncertainty. I hold on to the moment. And then it buzzes again. Another message. And again. 4 more. Nerves get the better of me, and I excuse myself from the room, run out and check my phone. Half-crazed smile on my face as I walk in tells my friends what they need to know. I hear a whoop of joy from across the room, even as the professor stops writing. A call now, and I run back out to receive it. It’s a friend from Delhi, who’s just stepped out of the courtroom. 5 minutes later when I walk back into the class again, the news had been relayed all round. There is spontaneous applause, my manic grin continues unbroken, and the Professor enquires about the cause of commotion. “377 ‘s been struck down sir !” mis-answers someone : but I am not going to point out legal nuances at this moment. He gets the point. The Professor gives his congratulations to the “concerned parties” even as the applause gives way to excited chatter.

This moment is real. This moment is happening.


The Day After

24 hours have passed, and I’m sitting in the library. My head buzzes with emotion, thoughts, ideas. I have just sent mails to the people I know concerned with the case – furiously proud, gushing emails. I wear the shirt I wore at the Bangalore pride – “Closets are for Clothes” it VIBGYORs out. The channels are saturated with interviews, debates. I walk into the common room of the hostel at night to the sight of half my batch sitting around the screen caught up in one of these. Another familiar face flashes on screen.

This moment is real.


The Month After

We’re discussing the judgment. In class. AGAIN.

Someone groans from a corner, as, for the umpteenth time, the jurisprudential- soundness-of-the analogous-grounds-extension-point is discussed. I catch myself grinning. I think of reading about places, times, too many to start, where the mention of the subject is taboo. So many in this country, perhaps still in the overwhelming majority, where it continues to be. And yet here, in this classroom, generally vocal gay boy that I might be, I still feel Naz-discussion-fatigue. We’ve spoken so much about LGBT rights that we’ve finally placed them on the same pedestal as everything eventually gets to in law school – boring. This is progress !


6 Months After

The newly founded NALSAR Gender and Sexuality Forum has its inaugural meeting. The “jurisdiction of Delhi High Court judgment over the rest of the country” argument has long been forgotten; as the meeting starts, the unchallenged proclamation is made that homosexuality stands decriminalized in India. A large group of people has gathered for this first meet – too large, infact, to see the same numbers turn up for the next. Nevermind though, it remains a fact that we have this forum at all, and that’s going to be good enough for me.


8 Months After

The first signs of backlash are amusing. “Have you heard of AAG ?” asks a friend at breakfast. Turns out she didn’t mean the atrocious Ram Gopal Verma remake. “It stands for Abhorrently Anti-Gay”. That gets my attention. Almost. Turns out our Forum has riled up enough momentum to pluck at the heartstrings of the more homophobic at college : AAG comes as a rejoinder to the “pro-gay propaganda of the Gender and Sexuality Forum meetings”. Particularly amusing is the idea of the Forum as a recruiting ground for “more of them”. AAG eventually burns out - the founding members graduate, with no one taking up the mantle. Even as the smoke clears, the Forum prepares for its next meeting.


Is the 8th of June.

Soon, a year will have passed since the judgment. Voices of change within the walls of my college walk in tandem with whispers of change outside. At home, we deal with it by, well, not dealing with it. The walls of my bookshelf are stacked with gay literature, my mother looks at them wordlessly as I rearrange my books. Soon, we will have the conversation. I feel a surge of confidence with every new positive image that plays on the television when we’re both watching. I wonder if she has passed the stage of a passive onlooker, whether every news item for her carries a glimmer of something more, some personal stake which she has yet to fully acknowledge.

My father types away furiously at his laptop on the other end of the room. Do his ears occasionally prick up at the mention of some permutation of “LGBT” in the news too ? Its been more than a year since I received a forced-casual call from him, asking about this “academic piece on homosexuals you wrote which I just found online”. I registered his emphasis on the word “academic”; it was almost like a plea – let it just be academic interest.




16 June 2010

So you thought you were rid of the high school hierarchy when you came to college? Think again!

Whoever said law school was hell, forgot to mention its demons. Looks like those just followed you straight from high school!

The Law School equivalent of the jock is undoubtedly the Moot Society member. They’re the cool kids who are revered. Often mistaken for the nerd, the mooters clearly have powers and privileges that the other kids do not. Right from free photocopies to the occasional formal leave, deadline extensions, and greater book issuing quota at the library- among others. Moreover, just the fact that a huge chunk of the members of each batch participate in the internal selections and fail, gives the ‘Chosen Ones’ the licence to wield power. Slowly yet surely, they turn into the school ‘elites’- they most definitely think that they are smarter and strongly believe that all other extra-curricular activities are a waste of time. In fact, they are the ones who probably started off with promising participation in debating, MUN’s etc. but the Law School Mooting experience brainwashes them into believing that NOTHING is more important than the upcoming moot. Yet they are the ones with the most practical knowledge and application prowess. These mooters are often lead by an authoritarian Moot Society President, who reinforces the idea of elitism amongst his subordinates and reflects the sheer passion and zeal that this society feels towards its activity. Mooters who fail to strike a balance with academics often mess up their academics- leading to fewer promising future prospective than received by fellow classmates. FAIL!

The Law School Nerds are just that- regular nerds. They are the ones who religiously adhere to rote learning. The nerds are the ones to turn to when you need those exhaustive notes right before the examinations. They have painstakingly noted every word that the professor has uttered- however, more often than not- missing the essence and the point of the subject. The professors often adore them. Their intelligence quotient is often under the scanner; however their absolute devotion to mugging can be easily vouched for. They always know everything about a case, right up to the citation. Their knowledge is limited to the next examination. Yet, who knows, they may end up with the best corporate jobs because of their excellent CGPA’s.

The Popular Bunch in the school consists of the musicians, actors, debators etc. However boring the law students are considered to be, you have to watch out for them during the weekends when they let their hair down. The constant restraint all week long is often converted into uninhibited wild behaviour in the weekends. The popular kids are known to do just that. Often the dopers join the bandwagon, but they’re considered to be vague and obscure. They are a friendly lot but tend to keep to themselves so as not to scandalize others too much. The other popular kids tend to mingle amongst themselves mostly, consciously or otherwise. On the academic front they can be anywhere from promising to hopeless. Yet, you can generally trust them to be able to apply their Bare Acts to their hypos.

The Cheerios from High School are substituted by the bimbos at Law School. Perhaps back in high school, they were the smarter ones, but here when they open their mouth, you wish you had a duct tape ready with you at all times. They may not essentially be the best looking girls, but they sure are the dumbest. You cannot imagine why anybody sane would have EVER admitted them into college. Their exam results often reflect the same-they have never heard of the ‘Neighbour Principle’ and possibly cannot differentiate between the holding and the facts. Then again, they still throw their weight around, get themselves on the favourite list of certain teachers and look down on every other girl not up to their standards of dressing with terrible disdain. For want of a better word, they’re simply-naika.

The Bullies at Law School are the ones who would probably go in for the ragging. They are the ones who wield power- physical or authoritative. Often the local kids form this group. Nobody dares to contradict them and they mostly have their way. They are the ones with contacts and you can count on them to sneak the booze in. They may or may not be sloppy students. But generally, you cannot rely on them to know their ratio from their obiter. They tend to gang up and form cronies, so you do not want to invoke their ire.

The Geeks at Law School are the weird ones who hero worship the mooters, populars and even *shudder*- the professors. They are the ones who are surprisingly mediocre at everything. They often go unnoticed and you do not want them to be in your tutorial groups for the threat of embarrassment- they are the quiet sort. They are also the ones with the consistently average CGPA’s. Yet, they crave for the limelight and you will see them trying out for everything- but failing miserably.

Unlike high school, there is a greater degree of intermingling amongst the law school cliques. The difference can only be noticed due to characteristic behaviour.


16 June 2010


Here is what I wish to give

A sketchy account of my life as a judge which I feel competent to mention,

Like any other Judge I also worked hard without fear or favour with utmost devotion,

However, this being a noble profession I assiduously always performed with zeal of a mission.

Yet I had my share of myriad patchy occasions that bartered my mental peace with undue tension,

Though lawyers & judges happen to be twin equal partners in nurturing this profession,

Their endeavors & efforts are seldom rewarded by the dispensation in equal proportion.

While sky is the limit for a lawyer to earn name and fame in this learned profession,

A judge being a salaried official barely finds such a vast scope to reach acme of his satisfaction.

One has to often grudgingly countenance a situation where less competent being preferred for promotion,

And deserving, competent persons deliberately harassed for no ostensible cause or reason.  

But I can nevertheless proudly say that despite all these pit falls & oddities of this profession,

I stand immensely benefited from members of Bar mostly consisting of persons of great scholarship & erudition.

However on the flipside, let one also admit, there was always noticeable a sprinkling of lawyers quite quarrelsome.

Having played my innings when I called it a day a few years back it was a good riddance from such tension,

It is another matter that mired in the bureaucratic wrangles as it is, I have yet to get my full pension.



16 June 2010

Everyone dreams.

In India, it's preferable if a student dreams to get into IIT or study medicine. Those who dream of studying law form a part of the distinct minority. As someone who has had the luck (or the lack of it) to have performed well in science, even thinking about switching streams was an uphill task. When you have friends who are studying for IIT entrance exams, teachers who tell you to aim for IIT, relatives who want to see you in IIT: 

1. You get sick and tired (pardon the cliché) of the abbreviation (IIT, I mean).

2. You have to work really hard to explain to these people why you choose to ignore all that they say.

So I finally did manage to make my point clear. Law is what I intend to study. Period. Paragraph.

One of my slightly deluded classmates then told me, "Dude! I wish engineering was as cheap as law." Does that get your blood boiling? It sure did get my ire on the rise. Here is an individual who doesn't know what the IPC stands for.  He believes that his choice of career isn't 'cheap' while mine is. Why? Because the intelligentsia doesn't opt for law. That's what I was told, albeit in slightly more crude manner: "Eh, very few proper people do law, da! You'll get in, no competition only."  I'll go to my grave disputing that statement. 

I'm told that society is finally opening up to inevitable change. If every beta/beti became an engineer, life would be boring as hell. I have nothing against the conventional careers  (Actually, law is more conventional a career than engineering, but *hush* they'll get angry if you tell them this!) , but WHY are we incapable of accepting those who choose NOT to do what most are doing? 

I know at least two people who'd make amazing lawyers. They think they'd do well in this profession too. Yet both are off to study engineering because it's safe and they are good at science. 

I don't think I'm alone in experiencing this alienating behaviour. You tell someone that you're doing law and they look at you as though you're below their dignity. Any rank in IIT-JEE is GREAT while this two digit rank that you got in CLAT seems to be of no value. Yet the best conversationalists I know, the best informed people I know are lawyers or journalists. 

Another new fad that has come up is "Law? Oh! You'll make a lot of money!" Yes, I know that corporate law is a big thing and it pays well, but that's not why most choose to study for a grueling five years. Not for just the money. There is so much more to law than crisp Rupee bills. 

Cracking CLAT was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. While I may not have been amongst that elite 55 who got into NLSIU (Yes, that is my dream school as it is for thousands of others.) I have managed to find myself a place in NALSAR and that's good enough for me. It's one among the top three law schools in the nation, yet I have to explain to people what NALSAR is and why I'm going there. And I'm expected to know what they are talking about when they say "I'm joining PESIT." 


Such is life.

15 June 2010

The CLAT route…

The aspirant lawyer is in class 11 when he decides Engineering and Med school are things of the past….they do not attract him and his acumen beckons him to explore a new vista all together….a line of work that throws him a plethora of never before traversed roads…..

He googles “law”……and he is flooded with information. He is totally engulfed by this new avenue….He decides he wants to be a lawyer….Now with all the requisite information at this fingertips he sets out to join a coaching institute….the two premiere ones are called “LSD” and “I’m S”. He embarks on this journey. He is scared inside but his boiling enthusiasm and confidence spurs him on….

Uninformed people tell him that law as a career will entail him to a seat under the Banyan tree at Alipore Court in kolkata where he ll wear the lawyer’s robe and eke out a living by “soliciting” his trade through shouting “affidavit affidavit…….arre dada affidavit?.....come here”…

He chuckles at such people and to prove his point he works harder at achieving his goals….He parrots NLSIU NALSAR and NUJS to his parents who by now have heard the rankings and the fervent criticism and the rivalry that concerns the top law schools….His parents encourage him and he continues his tirade about Strawberryfields…The summons or Invicta….

But as our protagonist is in class 12 and his board exams exert a lot of pressure...coupled with the list of failures he sees amongst his immediate seniors he starts falterin.....He however has amazing teachers at LSD to “dope” him into believing in himself viz,Mr. Saurav Sutta who also smokes with him outside the classes and gives him snippets about law school life....These serve as our law school aspirant’s.....fantasy and subject for evanescent reveries... If law school student attended I’m S classes then there was Mr. Gajni-ish Singh, a man of mettle, sound calibre I ve heard though I have never met him personally.

Its january 2010 and he has started filling his forms.....CLAT NLUD NLUO Symbiosis Law School...he hopes to just make it somewhere..his fervent prayer before sleep every night is “God NLSIU NALSAR NUJS...NLSIU NALSAR NUJS.....top3  god pls...accha nahin toh top5 pls....NLSIU NAL.....” and he dozes off to sleep as Res ipsa loquitor and Ignorentia juris non excusat give him subjects of eventful dreams wherein......The National Commission for Backward classes and the Finance Comission have a battle in Mr PV Reddy’s backyard.......

The great performance by CLAT office 2010 stuns him into realising Law school is not perfect but as ‘close’ to the idea of being perfect as possible....

May 2010....he has his admit cards albeit late but he does....they seems like tickets to the elusive hallowed portals of legal education but he realises that the big hurdle is about to crush him down...

CLAT preparation has gone to maddening levels where the aspirant has to study Civil Service GSMs and he is expected to know the law before he enters law school....but thats our legal system....criticising it on LI wont change the hard bitter reality so our hero goes on and takes up his cudgels for himself and enters the arena....May 9th,. His fate his sealed....20 days don’t seem to pass and then lo and behold!!! Its the 29th morning..... butterflies perforn the salsa in his stomach as he is glued to his PC screen....clat.ac.in..every hour the number of hits increases by a lakh....he just realises that he has only 540 seats to himself...less priveleged that he is being born to a “general category” ....Kolkata houselhold having neither a caste reservation nor a domicile...to back him up....he is hopeless...able bodied that he is....he doesnt even qualify....as a PWD....he starts thinking can i claim to be dyslexic and be a PWD??..i mean taare zameen par?....but his frnds from LSD send him chat msges on FB where they say results shall not be declared at 2pm but at 5pm....he employs some of his choicest swear words and gets back at biting his nails.....CLAT office says no 7pm.....then they say...9pm..

AND FINALLY AT 8pm...he gets to know his results.....he has made it ...joy knows no bound.....it is the top 3....he has a double digit rank...and the number has a sexual innuendo....to itself....he chuckles...

Yes !!! He ‘s going to a law school....Mr Saurav Sutta congratulates him.....He immediately checks up on his friends’ ranks...1100 1400 5500 56000 and the like...he realises that none of his friends have made it....he is gloomy and sad...doesnt know whether to call his friends up in case they mistake his empathy to be glorious sadistic pleasure....BUT WAIT his best friend has made it to the DRY STATE college.....aah....he is so happy again....

He is a regular on LI and his seniors fight about law school rankings as LI publishes an analysis of CLAT 2010 results...he is saddened to see this bitter catfight....he ponders whether it really matters five years down the line which one of the tier one law schools you have passed out from ...anyway....he goes gaga over his own law school....its building....its ambience....he is just too happy...even the mindless bickerings on LI cant take away his happiness....

He salutes Legal Poet and Bihari babu.....he hopes to join their ranks one day and tilll then he reads about life in NLUS and danish sheikh’s take on NALSAR...and is all too eager to land up at his law school......he took the less traversed path but it paid off....now he wants to learn imbibe and assimilate from his law school, faculty and seniors....as he sets his right foot forward to foray into a life that was his dream....he seeks the blessings of all...advice and a bit of help from the ‘positive interaction’ as to how he can traverse the L School path and come out with flying colours...

To all Law Schoolites...he raises a toast....




15 June 2010

Note: This is a very rambly account of my very first impressions interning at a large law firm. It is amateurish, shortsighted and somewhat one-sided, but I post it anyway because I know many of my friends and classmates experience the same first impressions and face the same difficult career choices. I have occasionally exaggerated for comic effect, and no offence is meant.

It's a beautiful day outside.

And by beautiful, I mean, of course, that it's pouring angry grey bullets of water outside. Because the monsoon is the nicest weather in Mumbai. (If you think something else, we can agree to disagree on this.) When it isn't raining, slate blue water sparkles in the sun with the faint silhouettes of ships bobbing in the distance. God's in his heaven and all's well with the world. Or something like that.

It's a beautiful day all right. So what do you do? You do what's obvious.

You take yet another sip of the craptastic office-machine coffee and bury your nose in yet another file. When you take your nose out, a few hours later, your eyes are pink with the strain and there are ink marks on your fingers from the cheaply printed documents the Tehsil office sent. You never want to hear the phrase 'Articles of Association' ever again, and you want to cause physical injury to the next Nominee Director' you see.  It doesn't take a doctor to know what you're suffering from, it simply takes a law student who has ever interned in the corporate department of a reasonably large firm. You, my friend, have been felled by the Due Diligence scourge.

The problem with students having aspirations toward corporate law is, they don't really know what the job involves. All they see in their ickle, romantic minds, is the vague image of a Dude with great hair, wearing something with a logo on it and striding importantly past the hoi polloi at airports, leaving them in a cloud of expensive perfume. It's a mix of all those car ads where men with good hair and great teeth are always sipping champagne inside their cars and driving on excellent roads with beautiful women next to them.

The funny thing I found out is that - it's true. There are some differences of course. Corporate lawyers tend to look more like Tiku Talsania than Christian Bale for example, and rather more tend to be balding than you'd expect. But a large part of the impression is true. They do have the cars, and they can get the women. They wear the suits and talk in that special lingo ("we'd like to leverage that equity so we can shift our paradigms") that no one else really gets, so you do come away suitably impressed.

Sold on that lifestyle, you push GPAs and pull strings, levers and your daddy's hands to get an internship at Awesome & Awesome LLP. You spit-polish your shoes, throw a tantrum until the presswalah creases your pants to perfection, part your hair so you look like Imran Khan and even shave. You land up at work, your arms outstretched, ready to take on the world.

Instead, you take on a three-foot high pile of files. Mr Bored McJaded (Associate) explains. "Diligence", he says. You are puzzled, but proceed to exercise your rather expensively earned legal acumen on spotting spelling errors, adding up figures and correcting numbering and formatting. You take it all back to Mr Bored, eager to find out what happens next. What happens next is diligence. And what happens after? Diligence. What about after that? I hate to kill the suspense, but diligence it is.

One week down and you're an old hand at this diligence stuff. You look at the new files presented to you every day, with a jaundiced eye. You can spot a spelling error at fifty paces. You deliberately make offhand comments like "Oh, that minutes book hasn't been initialled..it's a Section 291 violation" to impress the new interns, with an air suggestive of Soli Sorabjee casually pointing out a gamechanging flaw in Ram Jethmalani's argument in some high profile case. The highest point of your day is when you realise that Property X does not have the relevant Zone certificate. You quickly make a note on a colourful Post-It which comes as part of the endless supply of fancy stationery your office supplies you.

Whenever you zone out (once every ten minutes), you idly surf the internet and chat with your fellow sufferers in large legal sweatshops, who agree that most of the Important and Glamorous work they were expecting to see, seems to be the correcting of spelling errors with Staedtler pencils and the highlighting of arithmetic mistakes with expensive German-made highlighters. You decide to investigate the situation and approach Mr Bored McJaded. Without looking up, he says "Diligence". And you say "What happens after?" And he looks surprised at your question. "The making of a comprehensive report on every aspect." he says. And then? "We make a term sheet with a list of issues" he says. And then? "You use it to negotiate, and you draft your contract" he says. Ah, so THATS where all your work goes, then! And here you were thinking that all your diligence simply ends up at The Great File in the Sky. You are reassured... there IS more to corporate law than diligence! Relief.

So this negotiation, do you bang on tables and bargain actively? you ask. No, he says. We sit around a table and discuss files. What is all this nonsense, what are you imagining. We are not a fish market.

Duly chastened, you slink back to your seat and watch as your friends in Litigation departments of firms babble excitedly online about twisted arguments and hard-won adjournments and fights with Judges and cross examinations. They post photos of their grimy, sweaty selves shading their eyes from the cruel sun outside Courts. They tell stories of funnily drafted divorce plaints and property disputes dating from 1986 where the most bitterly fought-over asset is a Sumeet mixer-grinder. Every day it's a new case.

You read it all, sit back in your comfortably padded, ergonomically designed chair, shut your eyes as someone turns the airconditioning up, and, for the first time, really truly wonder about the career choice you've (almost) made.

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.