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Jerome Merchant + Partners

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

When the judge pronounced Kasab guilty, the tv reporters and agency reporters rushed to the doors of the court! They fought like cats to be out first and break the news!
One poor friend of mine actually got bumped in the head by a metal detector, which tilted with the people running out unthinkingly!
The security forces at the metal gates to the arthur road prison, for a moment were stunned watching the mob approaching them, unaware as to the proceedings going on inside the high security court! They pointed guns at the media persons and had to be told, "let us go, the judgement is delivered, we have to rush out!"
On the day the sentence was delivered, the judge had come prepared not to let the media out until he finished dictating the entire operating order! The policemen stood at the court's entrance with the doors locked and the tv guys were ganged up to rush out.. the seats were half empty for those who wanted to sit, most of it being occupied by the print journalists!
While dictating the order, the judge actually appreciated the media for maintaining the transperancy between the court room and the public at large!
And when the media persons demanded for the doors to be opened, the court asked them to sit down or he would remove the appreciation-observation from the judgement:-)
When the doors did open, they rushed out in such a hurry as if the jail was about to get blasted! Even before they could cross the security doors, they shouted to their colleagues standing outside about the verdict, which was then immediately passed on to their offices!
My plight was worse... I had to report for tv and print both! and when i did reach outside, before the office, i had to deal with red-ants on my bag!

06 May 2010

It's surprising how a judgement which has affected so many lives is yet to be made available to the public. After searching online for almost an hour, I gave up. So much for the Indian Judiciary and the age of information. For now we will have to rely on the news outlets to tell us what exactly Judge M L Tahaliyani told the Court room today.


The Special Sessions Court will now be sending the judgement to the High Court for confirmation under Section 366 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. And this will be just the beginning of what is going to be a long appeals process should Kasab choose to appeal. Will he appeal? I'm guessing we're all expecting him to appeal. However, if for some reason he decides not to appeal, does it mean that he repents what he has done? That certainly would be a first time and give us a lot to ponder about.


What is certain is Kasab has a long appeals process ahead of him and probably a longer life that he could have imagined back home. By handing him the dealth penalty, the Court has been unable do justice in the larger sense. This was a brilliant opportunity to lay the foundation for new-age justice. If we have progressed as a civilization on our understanding of human behaviour, it most certainly hasn't been reflected in the judgement. What we have effectively done today is allow Kasab to be used for rhetoric in the next ten - fifteen federal and state elections. 


The 26/11 could have been a great tool is improving our security infrastructure. The events on 26/11 were only possible because of our ineffective security infrastructure. It exposed how the Government was unable to secure what is common hailed as the economic capital of India. We can only imagine how exposed people are in other cities across India. The judgment should have detailed the gross inadequacies of the system at various points. Beginning from entry of the gunmen into the territorial waters, to looking why Kasab's bullet was able to penetrate the "bullet-proof" jacket worn by police officers that day; this was an opportunity for the Judiciary to hold the Government accountable.


The Judgement sounds immature on several counts. First, the Judge orders - "To be hanged by the neck till death." Terrorists are program to kill and be killed, they last thing they fear is the death sentence. For a long time now, it has been known that giving the death sentence will only be used a propaganda by terrorists to motivate future suicide attacks. Secondly, the Judge states that Kasab has no chance of reforming. I feel this is deeply disturbing coming from a Judge who I assume will be involved in other criminal matters. The murderer is a young man of 22. We cannot be certain that Kasab cannot be reformed until we have tried. This judgement kills any room previous judgement might had for the reformist theory. Thirdly, the Judge mentions that he will be a security risk to society. Any well-informed legal actor would know it takes years before a death sentence is carried out. This puts any plans to hang Kasab at least ten years away. He is most certainly not anywhere close to the status of the terrorists exchanged during the Kandahar judgement. Kasab is a foot soldier ( he said there were at least 500 more young men like him where he was trained ) whereas Maulana Masood Azhar et al. were and still are the minds of the whole scheme of things in Pakistan. Next, the Judge said - "The depravity of the (26/11 attacks is unspeakable....this man has lost the right to humanitarian benefits." If the judge was entering into the realm of humanitarian law, he clearly had little idea about it. Even a prisoner of war is given humanitarian benefits. While this statement might have been regarding the death sense that was awarded, it was uncalled for considering this Judgement will play a key role in future terrorism cases. Apart from laying down a bad precedent, it puts a smoke screen on a India that believes in the rule of law.  In summary, the judgement lacks depth and maturity I would expect from a trial of such a magnitude. 


We all know the law says that a murderer deserves to be killed. However, terrorism is a geo-political crime. It doesn't work on the same mental lines of everyday crime. The aim of justice is to deliver closure for the victim and prevent such crimes in the future. Hanging or eliminating terrorists has not worked anywhere till now. It will not change anything. 


No matter how much the India media underlines the fact that Kasab is Pakistani citizen or the latest failed terrorist bid at Times Square was by a Pakistani man, Pakistan will still get aid from the United States for its military and the Indian Government will continue to search for avenues to engage with the Pakisatanis with little success. No judgement can change these two things. And no matter how much we say that this terrorist from Pakistan, Pakistan will continue to exist and like every country, they have their share of good and bad people. To keep harping upon the fact that these terrorist are Pakistanis, we only fail to see the real issue which is that young men like Kasab hate India enough to give away any life they could have lived.  


Kasab gives us an opportunity to try something different. The best example to follow is the al-Munasaha wa al-Islah committee (Advice and Reform) adopted by Saudi Arabia. The program has been specially developed for those involved in terrorist activities and has been largely successful in bringing about reform in their way of thinking. The idea will not be to see if Kasab can be rehabilitated back into mainstream society but into mainstream thinking. This will be worse than the death sentence since it will bring about a significant change in the prisoner. 


We're all on the same page when we want to see him punished, however, I doubt seeing more death will bring closure to the victims and their families. 

See John2010's other blogs:

8 disturbing signs that our elected representatives have forgotten us.

My Facebook Feed

How comrade whistle blower lost his ethical virginity

The PM on legal education: What he said and did not say.

Dear Prudence: ....... Litigation is really interesting but ........?

The 26/11 Judgement fails the maturity test and how we can still salvage justice.

Confessions of a chronic cheater.....

How not to be inspired.

When things go wrong.....

06 May 2010

Kasab may have been the lone gunman to have survived from the lot of 10 terrorists who entered India by the sea route to create a havoc in the city. But is sending him to the gallows the right route to adopt?
I firmly believe that anyone who attacks my nation deserves to be slaughtered, as was the fate of the other nine! But what irks me, or rather irk is a very mild word to use, what makes my blood boil is the way the trial has been projected! It has been shown as if we are playing all fair! Now the death sentence will go to the High Court for confirmation and then an appeal in the Supreme Court will pull on for another decade. If, at all, these two stages are expedited, what happens when the clemency petition goes to the Prez? The wait is unending... For those like Kasab and Afzal Guru , who should have been hanged years ago, they might die their natural deaths waiting for clemency and the whole world will see how compassionate we are! Or how ineffective a system we have!
After Dhananjay Chatterjee, we have stopped! Why not give those who deserve to die, the ultimate punishment in our books?
But we go by those very books and make futile all the attempts at justice for those who have suffered the troubled times! And who gets justice are the criminals?

06 May 2010

privileges always come with duties and ethics and so is the case with lawyers. The bar council of India is empowered setting Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette for Lawyer in India under Section 49(1 )(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961. Among other restrictions, the bar council has mentioned that An Advocate shall not personally engage in any business but he may be a sleeping partner in a firm doing business provided that, in the opinion of the Bar Council the nature of the business is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession. But, i fail to understand the intent of BCI while saying so. Majorly there can be two facets of the problem- 1. that why unlike other business you cannot practice advocacy together with doing business? and 2. that what does BCI mean by "the nature of the business is not inconsistent with the dignity of the profession" ? Also, which all kinds of business would fall in such purview of against the dignity of advocacy, always lies only in BCI's perception.


While agreeably ethics in every profession is desirable and appreciated but at the same time, the interests of such lawyers must also be protected who struggle to make their both ends meet(especially new-comers and first-generation practitioners). so, personally i feel a need of change in this strict imposition of restriction in the name of ethics, to aid to advocates rights to livelihood and freedom of trade and business.

06 May 2010

Laliya MukherjeeLuthra & Luthra staff are mourning the loss of senior litigation lawyer Laliya Mukherjee who passed away on 1 May.

05 May 2010
Till now the law students must be aware about the proposed bar examinations in India. After going through both sides of arguments (law students v bar council), it seems both have their respective share of merits. The final year law students are somewhat apprehensive about the bar examinations. They have their own share of problems ranging from final year exams, placement opportunities, internships, etc. On the other hand the Bar Council of India (BCI) is facing a Herculean task of legal reforms in India.
Qualitative legal education is one of the pre requisites of effective legal reforms in India. Having a qualitative legal education is totally different from appearing in bar examinations as the orientation for both of them is completely different. But there is no escape from the reality that whether the final year students like it or not but ultimately they have to go through bar examination. It is better to start preparing both mentally as well as educationally.

Accepted. But from where to start preparation as preparation cannot be in vacuum. The BCI has not come up with any sort of information regarding the same. Although some good suggestions for a successful implementation of bar examinations can be found, yet we need the same from BCI itself.

As far as my opinion goes, final year students must start preparing for the same as risking bar enrollment means risking the entire legal career.
04 May 2010

im sorry. didnt mean to annoy anyone.


[Originally a short blog entry from a student hating law school, which was deleted a short while late. For readers' information so the comments are not just on an orphan post, we have pasted the original below again. -Ed

"national law unis are SO over rated. they all have sucky faculty. ppl who stay there for more than two years lose their marbles theyre divided into the sanes and the nlus. the nlus are some exaggerated for of insane. theyre all located in some shitty back of beyond areas. why did i have to write the clat ? why god? why ?"]




04 May 2010

SCBA Elections are being held on May 7th, 2010.It would be great to discuss people's thoughts/views on how the SCBA should move forward this year. Clearly, a lot of trust has to be re-built and greater transparency and accountability needs to be reinstated. So please do share your ideas and thoughts on what the SCBA should seek to accomplish this year. As a candidate for the post of Secretary, I am keen to hear your views, and will seek to incorporate your views and opinions into the SCBA's agenda.

Also, please feel free to use the discussion forum on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=42&post=88&uid=113886605314151#post88

04 May 2010

As I walk into the lift, I’m greeted by a cheery “Hiya mate, you awwright Bob?”. “Very well, thank you”, say I and engage with Robert in the well rehearsed lift-banter about work and holiday plans.

However, as a product of one of India's oldest schools (which preaches the Queen’s English), I’ve often wondered what it is that makes the British speak this strange, perverse tongue. However, after years of being left speechless and confused by it, I have decoded bits of this mysterious (and rather risqué) dialect.

So, if you are planning to move here from India any time soon, here is Modern Bob’s short guide to the lingo at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP to get you started:

  1. If you are offered a banger by a female colleague at a breakfast meeting, do not get excited. A banger is an English sausage.
  2. Don’t get worried if your boss reprimands you for a cock-up. He is merely furious at the mess you have created and is not disapproving of the healthy functioning of your anatomy.
  3. After a particularly long night at work, someone may ask you whether you wish to be knocked-up. This refers to waking you up by knocking on your door. Just tell them you have an alarm clock.
  4. Being somebody's mate can be a purely platonic activity.
  5. Do not refer girls who hail from Essex as Essex girls. You will get reported for sexual harassment for alluding to their collective depraved character.
  6. If your boss tells you he is going home because he/she is feeling dicky, don’t judge. He/she is just unwell.
  7. rubber is an item of stationery. Do not giggle like a schoolgirl when your boss asks for one in the middle of the night.
  8. Geezers are old people, not a source of hot water.
  9. Grub is food. There are no locusts, beetles or cockroaches on the canteen menu.
  10. The unspoken golden rule is that every verbal or written communication must end with “Cheers. As this rule applies across the board, don’t spend your time in office trying to discover the secret drinking society.


Modern Bob

03 May 2010



Dear Mr. Subramaniam,

 Recent media reports(Hindustan Times, 03/05/10) suggest that the Bar Council of India is introducing a qualifying bar examination from September,2010.

 We are writing this mail to draw your attention to some of the concerns of final year law students on the introduction of the bar examination in July-August,2010. As responsible law students and soon to be members of the bar we do not wish to question this reform, which is in the interest of the country and has wide support of the legal community. Even the Supreme Court of India has backed this step in Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College. We feel such a step is necessary to regulate the quality of legal education in India and to meet the challenges posed by the demand for quality legal services due to globalization and rapid growth of the Indian economy.

 Our concerns are as follows: 

  1. The conduct of these exams in September will mean that final year students seeking enrollment with the bar will have no opportunity to prepare for the same, as till date neither the examination nor the syllabus for the same has been notified.
  2. Since Final year law students will get limited time for preparation many of them may not qualify, they will remain unemployed for a year and in a competitive job market the long-term impact on their careers could be disastrous.
  3. Law students who have received job offers contingent on their registration with the bar will be adversely affected as they will not be able to join their future employers.
  4. Law schools with three year law courses like University of Delhi will be subject of discrimination as most National Law School students would pass their exams and enroll with the bar by May/June itself, while students of University of Delhi and other law faculties will get their results of their final term examinations only in July/August.
  5. The examination may not be conducted efficiently and fairly in a hurried manner and the failure of the first bar exam will be unfortunate and may jeopardize the public  support for the exam.

 We would request you to ensure that in order to give a fair chance to law students who have not had notice of this exam, such law students may be admitted to the bar subject to their clearing the Bar Examination in 2010 or at the next attempt 2011. In this way final year law students will get a fair chance at the exam and their careers would be safe guarded.

 The essence of the constitutional guarantee of Art.14 is non-arbitrariness. This decision announced at the fag end of the academic session does not give a fair chance to final year law students. Further it disrupts employment contracts entered into much prior to the announcement of this decision.  This decision will jeopardize the careers of not only those who may fail any prospective exam but even of those who will pass it, as they maybe unable to secure the support of their prospective employers to wait till September to take them on board.

 We trust that you shall consider our concerns and make a reasonable exception and admit law students to the bar in June/July/August subject to their passing the exam in September 2010 or September 2011.

 We hope that the macro concerns of implementing this policy will not cause you to overlook the micro concerns of final year law students, who are now anxious about their future.

 We entrust our future to you.



Collective of Final Year Law Students

01 May 2010

Once there was a shepherd boy and he had sheep, obviously. One day he went up a hillock with his sheep and with nothing to do, pulled out a leaf of the old book and cried out to the villagers below “WOLF! WOLF! HELP! HELP”!

The villagers came. No wolf. The boy laughed (as usual). And the villagers were visibly pissed.

Next time round the same thing happened. The villagers were tricked again.

The 3rd time, the boy shouted “WOLF! WOLF! HELP”! And a real wolf came. But hey! Wait! Even the villagers came.

Boy to the head villager: Mate! You weren’t supposed to come! What the hell are you doing here?

The head villager: We thought we were supposed to come buddy.

Wolf: Hey! I want my sheep.

Head villager: Sorry! We have to beat you up real hard. So as to make the story real.

Poor Wolf. He was beaten black and blue.


4th time.

“WOLF! WOLF! HELP!”. The villagers didn’t come. But even the wolf didn’t.

The boy telephoned the wolf: Man! Where the hell are you? You were supposed to come.

Wolf: My leg is broken because of your villagers ‘trying to keep the story real’ beatings. And if a lame wolf comes and hunts, the script will look fake. So, let us do this next time.


5th time.

The wolf comes. The boy was relieved.

But one of the heftiest, 200 pound Rams decided to take the wolf on. It was the breeding season and nothing would impress the lady sheep more than a Ram beating the hell out of a wolf.

Wham! The Ram and ran into the wolf.

“Aaaaaaooooooouuuuuuuu”! The wolf cried. He ran away.

The boy was in the meanwhile tearing his hair apart.


6th time

“WOLF! WOLF! HELP!”. The wolf doesn’t come. The boy calls the wolf: Dude! This is taking too long yaar!

Wolf: Hey is that bald guy you?

Boy: Yup! Remember, last time I tore my hair apart. The story has to sound real.


7th time

The wolf doesn’t come. The boy is angry.

Wolf: I am full today!  Just had a rabbit. Rabbit meat is delicious. Can’t have any more of your sheep meat today.


PS: The wolf dies a natural death. The Ram came to mourn his death, actually.

The boy is married and now works as a carpenter.

The head villager has now retired and drinks his daily hookah.


Justice delayed is justice denied. We need better actors in our script. And better script too.

30 April 2010

When a petitioner appears in person before a court, the lack of finesse is expected.. The petitioner may not be as articulate and sophisticated as a practiced counsel but then, if you decide to fight it out yourself, you would surely have thought it over carefully, isn't it?
A petitioner, listed as XYZ, has been coming to court for a few years now and failed to be entertained by most judges. Simple reasoning for that... she was too loud, did not understand the law well enough and was too persistent to be heard despite the rage of judges at her errors.
Not to belittle the cause she was fighting, which may be as sincere as her claimed plight, but her approach has been the butt of many a jokes for some time now..
She has one favourite judge who has been giving her an ear. She stands in the court room and starts arguing as if she'll just bend over, across the bar just so that she is heard!
In the course of arguments, she gives rare opportunity to the opponent to talk and when he does get a chance to open his poor mouth, she does not contravene the statement but looks at the judge with soulful eyes and says, "My Lord, please listen to what I have to say... This gentleman is completely incorrect in his facts. Let me tell you what the true story is!"
She goes on and gets excited about her own version, to the extent of at times, not even letting the judge ask a question!
She is at least forty, dresses like she is twenty, behaves like an adolescent!
Imagine the plight of "My Dear Lord", and when the case will end!
Judges are sometimes faced with such characters, whom they cannot ignore for the sake of justice and cannot hear because they too are human and have limitations!

29 April 2010

The ever-enlightening Wikipedia tells us that the phrase “Face value” is the value of a coin, stamp or paper money, as printed on the coin, stamp or bill itself by the minting authority. While the face value usually refers to the true value of the coin, stamp or bill in question (as with circulation coins) it can sometimes be largely symbolic, as is often the case with bullion coins.

We learn that ‘face value’ of bonds, usually represents the principal or redemption value, that in the case of stock certificates, ‘face value’ is the par value of the stock. Further, that the ‘face value’ of a life insurance policy is the death benefit and that in the case of the face value of property, casualty or health insurance policies, it is the maximum amount payable, as stated on the policy's face or declarations page.

Furthermore, ‘Face value’ can be used to refer to the apparent value of something other than a financial instrument, such as a concept or plan. Face value also refers to the price printed on a ticket to a sporting event, concert, or other event (the price the ticket was originally sold for by the organization hosting the event).

In English, ‘taking someone at face value’ is assuming another person's suggestion, offer, or proposal is sincere, rather than a bargaining ploy.

In the legal corridors, the same phrase is very commonly heard but barely understood in its entirety and all its connotations.

Illustratively, a young lawyer friend of mine assiduously studied his brief and went for an appeal admission. His case according to him was squarely covered by a Constitutional Bench judgment passed a few months back. His opening argument was met by a very stern reply from one of the Judges who stated that in view of the decisions of that Court in several other matters, the appeal was not maintainable and the learned Judge cited a few decisions. As my friend was busy noting them down, he tried to maintain his position and said that although he had not had an occasion to read the judgments as cited, he wanted the Judges to have a look at the Apex Court decision since according to him, in view of the said decision cited by him, there was no requirement of looking into the earlier decisions of that Court.

The Court unfazed, asked him to come back the next morning but only after he had read the decisions so cited.

Back in the Gothic corridors, an unsolicited advice appealed to him. So and So lawyer, he was briefed, has an amazing ‘face value’ before the Court (where he perspired to no end to get his appeal admitted). The rest of the evening, both of us looked for those decisions. We found only one out of some seven cited. And surprisingly, the said decision appeared to be impliedly overruled by the Apex Court decision which my friend was obsessed with by now.

Having run out of imagination, he contacted the ‘so and so lawyer’ and briefly addressed his predicament. The person on the other side of the phone asked him to meet him in the corridors the next morning before the Court would commence work for the day.

Having marked his briefing copy with colourful post-its, armed with extra copies for the court and a lot of intrigue, my friend meets the so and so lawyer with several juniors in toe. The Gentleman looks at the decision and enters the courtroom. As the Court commenced work, the Gentleman approached the Bench with my friend in suit.

So and so to Court :

“My Lords, My Lords, I reckon that my Lords had indicated that the appeal is not maintainable. My Lord would kindly have a look at…..”

Court to So and So:

“No No, Mr. So and So, the appeal stands admitted. We would fix a date in the matter for arguments. "

So and so to Court:

"Obliged My Lord."

Ordered accordingly.

My friend and I stand dumbstruck.

Such things happen everyday in our courts. Irrespective of the merit of one’s submissions, matters get decided on ‘face value’.

In the domain of judicial discretion and especially in view of the fact that in the Indian legal proceedings, an injunction granted or denied is more than half the battle won or lost, such ‘face value’ creates havoc. Just think of the  'bail' court.

In order to clearly understand the nature of this phenomenon called face value, one must remember, in most cases, we deal not with just the law in courts but first and foremost, deal with a person presumed to be well versed in law.

Like all humans, they do have their limitations, likes and dislikes, and as we are all aware, that some humans, on the face of it, have more credibility and thus more ‘face value’. Such credibility may come from age, lineage and a variety of reasons and some of such reasons may also be not so credible’.

However, such ‘face value’ based exercise of judicial discretion, does immense damage to the confidence and the prospects of the younger generation at the Bar.

Results, Results and Results.

 Manic obsession with favourable results is perhaps  one of the single biggest reason for rising corruption in judiciary and desperate extra legal measures adopted at the cost of fairness and dignity of the profession and its professionals.

The Client, most often is not in a position to appreciate the young lawyer’s sincere efforts since especialy in the face of an unprepared lawyer with face value appearing and disappearing with an order in his favour leaving the young lawyer to gradually disappear from the court room, don his colours and silently exit with a bitter feeling …

And that is how ‘face value’ devalues the cause for creation of premier law  schools.

29 April 2010

Two things before you read on:


- The events depicted in this blog are probably fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.

- "The mind of man can imagine nothing which has not really existed." --Edgar Allan Poe

One fundamental feature of a democracy is accountability. We fail as a society every time we fail to hold ourselves accountable. Corporate Governance became the buzz word post-satyam. However, inspite of a number of scandals involving educational institutions, we're yet to talk about University Governance (UG). 

UG is about transparency in the decision making process by the various actors in a University.  As a stakeholder in the University, I have a right to know where the money I am paying is going. Asking every University to issue a detailed financial report would be the first step towards achieving respect for the way our Universities are being run.

How much of my money was spent on a conference? How much is being spent on paying the faculty? How much money is used to pay the water and electricity bills? No one can give me these answers. Why doesn't the University bring out a report stating how each rupee was used ? If they actually keep accounts of everything that is being done, then why not publish them? 

The last time I spoke about this, my cousin in the United States bluntly asked me why I didn't file an RTI application. The reason is simple. Any time we question the functioning of the system, we are looked upon as those who are against it. By questioning the actions of the University, I will automatically be considered 'unfriendly'. An 'unfriendly' is supposed to be silenced.

So when a teacher went to the Registrar to inform him that he was going to get 150 RTI applications, the Registrar calmly told him it would not be entertained and he should immediately cancel the assignment. The next day we were told to file the RTI applications in any organisation apart from the University. The message to him was clear - By allowing these people to file applications, you are putting the reputation of the University at risk.

The teacher left the following semester. He wasn't the smartest teacher but certainly someone who wanted to know what was going on. Even though he was a senior teacher, he was denied such information.

While taking the viva of a few students who had written about the RTI and corruption, he told us a little story; believable and interesting. The reason he told us because he already had a job at another University and even if this did get out, he would be far gone by then.

Every year my University either purchases items like books, chairs or constructs a building or two. It so happens that the company which wins the contract is usually one linked to a senior member of the administration. The member floats a company much before the bids are called and makes sure he provides a winning quote. 

Apart from the students, there aren't many other people who would question the functioning of a University. The Bar Council of India asks Universities to file an annual report. That report again is not publicly available in the University or the campus. The State Government has lost most of its influence has the University does not depend on State funding. And no one really knows when the Governing Council of the University meets or what they do. 

Most of our Universities fail to provide us the most basic amenities. At places the canteen food is considered tasteless and inedible. Yet, the canteen operator would have been working at the University for years. A building would already have cracks within one year of its construction, however, the same contractor wins another contract.

Now, I understand that as a student my priority lies at studying.  However, turning a blind eye and not questioning what is happening around me defeats any purpose I might have ever had at this place of learning.


See John2010's other blogs:

8 disturbing signs that our elected representatives have forgotten us.

My Facebook Feed

How comrade whistle blower lost his ethical virginity

The PM on legal education: What he said and did not say.

Dear Prudence: ....... Litigation is really interesting but ........?

The 26/11 Judgement fails the maturity test and how we can still salvage justice.

Confessions of a chronic cheater.....

How not to be inspired.

When things go wrong.....

28 April 2010

The National University of Study and Research in Law was formally inaugrated by the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court and Supreme Court Judge designate Gyan Sudha Misra On Monday, April 26, 2010.

The university becomes the 14th of the elite national law universities of the country. Initially it will be operational from its interim campus at BIT, Mesra. An MOU with BIT has enabled the law school to occupy the erstwhile building of small scale research and development organisation of BIT having 72 rooms. Arrangement has been made for the accommodation of 60 students of the new university at the BIT campus itself.

NLU Jharkhand is expected to start offering courses from July to 150 undergraduate students. Half of the seats will be reserved for students from the state. It will admit students through an all India entrance examination. A national law university in the state of Jharkhand was a dream of the first chief justice of the Jharkhand High Court, Justice V.K Gupta, since the creation of the state in 2000. A plethora of legal hurdles stalled its inception. The Government has already arranged for a corpus of Rs 50 crore and have appointed a core committee headed by Justice N.N Tiwary. The first task of the committee would be to appoint a vice-chancellor. Lets wish the infant law school all the very best for a radiant future.

28 April 2010

Some time ago I was sitting on the stairs of this court, as it was vacation time and nothing much was happening... chatting with my friends. Just outside the court premises was a tea stall, apparently illegal! We ordered "chai" and before we could be served, there was a municipal van standing near the stall, taking possession of all the tea-stall goods.
I inquired as to what had gone wrong? I remember seeing the stall for as long as I've been visiting that court. One of the stall-owner's helper told me that the corporation guys were seizing their stuff because they did not have the required permissions.
"So then what," I asked him. "It's nothing. These guys come every so often and take our stuff. Our owner will go to their office, pay some money and get it back and work will be as usual tomorrow," he said.
The response was so casual that I couldn't think of what else to ask or think even. But this is not so uncommon in the city, is it now?
Hawkers and street vendors live like this! They know that sometimes permissions are costlier than paying fines and prefer it that way! How much would a stall owner actually have to pay to legalise a stall? And how much of that money would be paid in earnest and how much "under the table"? Reminds me of an ad, which said, they take it because we pay!

28 April 2010

I am seriously considering a career change. Not to worry, I’m not writing a book and this is not a decision made on a mere whim. The idea dawned on me today while speaking on the phone to my cousin who is a real live practitioner of dark legal arts in Indian trial courts and High Courts. He sold me the idea really. 

As an interesting aside, my cousin’s side of the family had to change their last name for numerological reasons.

Excerpts from our conversation wherein my cousin is extolling the virtues of a career in litigation:

“In law firms, you can’t quite experience the unique and delightful smell of the trial courts. Once you’ve smelled that, it calls out to you wherever you may go.”

“It’s like mooting in real life, with sillier party names.”

“People have great respect for those wearing black gowns, especially in summer.”

“Patience is a virtue. Litigation will teach you exactly what that means.”

“Your physical fitness shall improve while running from one court room to the other.”

“Even your boxing, ducking and weaving skills will improve during our fun-filled boycotts.”
(Further to the above)

“When you litigate, you can perfect what you started as a trainee solicitor- looking intelligent without a clue of what’s going on.”

“By your 55th birthday, you will have enough money to launder your jock-strap in London every week.”

“You can always pass your briefs to juniors. Sometimes even seniors will take them without hesitation.”
(Further to the above?)

“You make many lifelong friends along the way- the clerk, the juice wallah, the photocopy guy and so forth.”

“Court food is delicious, wholesome and all claims made re: food poisoning are patently false.”

“Even a slight British accent will ensure that you are designated a Senior Advocate at some point”.

“No, my daddy will not give you a car. I am his son.”

“Facial hair is tolerated in courts and even encouraged. In this matter, the system offers equal opportunity to both sexes.”

I walk into the office determined to let boss know of my decision and inform him how he cannot do a thing to change my mind. On my way up, I bump into Katie, the graduate recruitment officer. She smiles that perfect smile and flutters her eyelashes. Simultaneously. 

I suppose remaining at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP for a little while longer can harm no one. What’s all this fuss about litigators anyway?

(Further reading: ://www.legallyindia.com/746-comfortably-numb)

27 April 2010

A dead body was found in a remote village of Madhya Pradesh. It had been discovered in a well after seven days of the death of the deceased. It was in a heinous condition and the people were even scared to look at it. The matter was reported to the police. The constable went running to the house of the government doctor who was posted in the village.

There was party organized at his house. Everyone a couple of doctors, their wives and children were enjoying some quality time with each other.

The news was indeed pleasure to none. The other doctors immediately decided to leave the party as if the doctor on duty was disowned by the whole community.

The doctor also realized the pain and trouble he had to undertake to carry on his duty. Therefore he choose a convenient way out. Instead of fulfilling his duty deligently, he decided to stay and delegate his work to the drunk peon in the hospital. Consequently, the report lacked necessary details which could have been sufficient to arrest and prosecute the guilty. This is a true story was narrated by Dr. Satpati (a leading medical expert in postmortem).

The story is not a myth but an ignored reality. In most of the cases the accused is given the benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence. The laxity of police officials, investigating team and medical experts are the prime reasons for injustice and judicial failures.

The concern raised in the story mostly deals with the disinterest doctors have in examining dead bodies and rape victims. It is important to note why doctors are disinterest in carrying on their duties? The answer is simple conducting postmortem is not exactly the part of their duties. India lacks medical experts in areas of postmortem and rape. Thus these duties are often delegated to a government doctor who is on duty in a village or district.

The traditional Indian notions that dead bodies are to be dealt only by untouchables, still exists in the mindsets of the people. Hence like everyone else, the doctors also try to ignore or delegate their duties to not so expert “drunk peons”. The results are disastrous, it not only provides an easy exit to the offender but also results in gross miscarriage of justice.

Another problem which must be addressed is the lack of knowledge in legal practitioners about forensic science. Most of the times the judge, the lawyer and the accused have no knowledge to check the veracity of a medical experts testimony. Moreover the language of law is alien to the medical experts and the medical language is a stranger to the lawyers. This communication gap often leads to miscarriage of justice. The medical experts are aware that it is difficult to challenge their opinion and even if they act ignorant, careless or venal they have almost no accountability.

Dr Satpati in his lecture told that it is easy to discover truth, if proper investigation is undertaken and minute details are noticed. A connection must be established between the wound and injury to the weapon discovered. The difference in pattern of wounds can be used to figure out the number of weapons and thereby helping in deducing the number of attackers. The pattern of wounds are also helpful in deciding veracity of cases specially when the wounds are self-inflicted. The date of infliction of injury can be figured out by noticing the color of the wound. The color of the wound changes in the VIBGYOR pattern similar to that of the rainbow. Thus a corresponding link can be established between the day of the crime and the time elapsed thereof.

It is unfortunate that most of the times the evidence is not destroyed by perpetrators but by the guardians of justice. This defect can be cured only by appointing some more medical experts who specialize in  areas of rape and postmortem. A collaboration must be developed between the legal (judges, students and lawyers) and medical experts. This must be initiated by imparting some basic knowledge on medical forensics to law students. Medical ethics is a term which is more related to field of medicine than medicines itself. The medical experts must not only treat it as their professional duty but also their moral duty. It is not the interest of the dead that they keep at stake. It is the faith of millions who believe in the medico-legal system that is risked.

Like all my earlier posts, this post is a duplication of the the post already published on my blog legal drift.



27 April 2010

27th April, 2010 9.20 A.M. Court of the Metropolitan Magistrate. Punctuality being the virtue of the Bored, Chandi Agreywal, LLM, reaches courtroom no 12 situate in a huge palatial Brit built building tastelessly modified in the interests of justice. The measured steps on the near empty corridors were a welcome relief from the exercise completed a few minutes back….Chandi recovering from the suffering endured while maneuvering through the streets of the capital which for the uninitiated are ‘art of living reality’ lessons of forgiveness and tolerance of the worst forms of criminal intimidation employing rolling wheels.(Chandi drives a H.Civic ...Daddy's gift for opting for litgation over the trainee contract with Charming, Handsome and Deadly)


A hairy four legged ball of puff, a dirt ball with the most exquisite eyes stare at Chandi from the rumple on the unkempt floor, yawns, stretches its paws and silently leaves the court room. Chandi looks around and realizes he is alone.


Filtered slanted rays of sunlight window crash into the centre of the passage between the dias and the seating arrangement evincing the Brownian . The dusty seats of the half broken chairs, meant for ‘Advocates only’, lie bucktoothed, as if laughing at a bad joke. Around , on the ceiling, blotches of old plaster hang in stoic silence, ad-hoc measures of sloppy half hearted renovations lazily wake up to yet another day,


Chandi finds the usual A 4 sheets pasted on the walls signifying solemn entreats CHAIRS FOR ADVOCATES ONLY ,




Moments later, a few men appear on the other side of the dais.  The Court clerk (peshkars), the St.Peters at the pearly gates of justice. They /He can help you out if you can help them/him out.. Neatly combed hair and trimmed moustache. The first two buttons of his polyester shirt open and sleeves rolled up. The speck of Rupa frontline and the odd shades of grey chest hair stare in sharp contrast to the freshly dyed hair. An amazing sense of calm and shine on his demeanour attract you ostensibly maintained by whisky and surrogate soda and an impish smile coupled with a huge heart for extra judicial reliefs. He is the guy who can tear up the AD cards duly returned post-service of summons, he is the person who chooses the next longish date of hearing and many more…he is responsible for the smooth running of the giant wheel of justice.


Soon more servile looking people arrive, all smiles, their bodies assuming character in the confines of the court room where they would bloom to importance for a better part of the day before disappearing in the metro after the day’s work. A few entreats as they go about doing their chores, dusting files, etc. Loud conversations from across the near-empty court room, jokes and small talk.


The fans get turned on. The dusts fly and settle elsewhere. An underage serves tea in opaque glasses and disappears. A few quick gulps later, a few lawyers arrive at the Pearly gates and make brief exits after having made equally brief enquiries. And then the crowd slowly gathers. The scoffing, coughing, mixture of several conversations, whimpers, scratches of phlegm, as Advocates prepare their clients to put up their best behavior or tutor last minute lies. The pock marked pimp, the one -eyed prostitute, the phony peddler and the putrid policeman, all in one place, the unequals in equal motions of distress. A few lawyers, without bands or coats, in jeans and sneakers throw their weight around a few more people waiting around the court room and the connecting corridor. The cops, hand in hand with the petty thief,sharing a joke in the corner.


The A4 causelists hung to a thread nailed to the wall, attract itigants like bees. A constant death metal refrain on low bass, the back ground score. A momentary pause as the Magistrate takes her seat.


The matters get called out twice. First the court clerk shouts out the cause, usually part of the first name of the cause which gets echoed by another for the ones waiting in the corridor.


One by one the matters get called and heard.


Outside the courtroom, a courtyard scene from a Benegal satire unfolds. Visually…..dull colours off the palette with generous roving spots of black and white mostly, in different shapes and sizes, linen, gauze and cotton , the junta busy in the cocktail of life. Helpless litigants, busy litigators, under trials, cops , pimps , touts amidst chai and nimbu pani , typists ,  stray mongrels , soupy sambhar smell mixed with cheap oil and nicotine and the ubiquitous dust.


As Chandi daydreams waiting for his matter on the lush lawns of Oxford or the manicured strip off the front gates in Berkeley , sharing a strong espresso with his blonde mate laughing over some funny incident over the last night’s beer brawl…fleeting to his moments of hashperspective in his hostel room littered with a  sycophantic junior ensemble cherishing the last international moot exploit, a dreamy eyed appealing to the prurient interest of his devilish mind exhausted after a hectic law school schedule.

Comfortably numb, Chandy could hardly hear the faint refrain of a name akin to his client’s echoed in the corridor. He jumps to his feet. Approaches the dais while perusing his file. Punctilious as always. Application, copies, caselaws neatly filed in separate folders. The matter: fixed for service of summons. Since no receipt on file from other people summoned   Judge murmurs something to the steno typist on Chandi’s left. The Court clerk whispers something back. The magistrate asks Chandi his name. Chandi replies in an oxonian twang, The steno types a wrong spelling on the CRT unable to comprehend. The Judge gives the earliest possible date, 27th August 2010.


Next Cause called ….and echoed again.


Chandi pushes himself out of the packed courtroom, unfazed. No applause, no cool canteen to regale with peers over quaint bytes spilled from leaks in the magic circle.

Chandi increases his pace to reach the next court room in time to seek an adjournment.


27 April 2010

Salt and Pepper Turban
Mapping the court's corridors, there are many samples to see.. One of them is a senior counsel, of whose name I do not know, comes every time with a wig. Now if it were a regular wig, I'd notice once, stare and forget about it but then this one's a little wierd. It's a long bunch of hair twisted around the temples like a semi turban, seeking more than a glance from me! I wonder, is he not aware of the attention he draws, does he think it is cool-- the twisted hair turban, which is all salt and pepper, or does he simply not care? But if he didn't care, all it would take him would be to walk around bald, isn't it?
Any way, so I follow him, thinking him to be one of the fuddy-duddies and am astounded when I stand in a courtroom listening to him argue. The judge is intent on getting his point because he speaks too much sense!
Now, I cannot get my inquisitive mind to stop wondering the secret behind the crazy salt and pepper turban! Is it, like, he has taken some oath not to cut his hair and his hair have given up on him?
But does it matter to look good to speak good?
Does looking good merit more attention or does sensible articulate talk get it for you?
I'm still thinking about this one!