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Hello and welcome to the live blog of the 11th NALSAR BR Sawhny Moot Court Competition. The competition will be held from 13th to 15th October 2017. The competition will take place over two days and will see participation from 32 teams going head to head in preliminary rounds, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and of course, the much-awaited finals.

Look forward to all the highlights and results of this competition being updated right here. Expect the highlights and results of the prelims followed by comprehensive live updates of the quarters, semis and finals. 

Stay tuned to this post for all the exciting updates. See you!

13/10/2017

4:30 p.m. - Registrations are underway at NALSAR's Jhunjhunwala Hall. All teams are ready and excited to participate in the competition.

5:30 p.m. - The opening ceremony is about to start. Rohan Dewan, Convenor of Moot Court Committee, NALSAR takes the dais and welcomes all the participants. He congratulates all of them on making it to the oral rounds, acknowledging the fact that out of over 60 registrations, only 32 teams have made it here. He welcomes NALSAR's Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Faizan Mustafa to address the participants.  

Dr. Faizan Mustafa gives a wonderful speech, wherein he talks not just about mooting and its increasing relevance in law schools, but also talks about the very idea of justice and the Constitution. He gives his own opinions on the same, referencing even recent events such as the Allahabad HC's decision in the Talwar case. He concludes by once again, congratulating the participants and mentions how much he is looking to forward to hearing the brilliant arguments made in the next two days.  

7:00 p.m. - Matchups are announced and memorials are exchanged. 

That's all for today, see you tomorrow with updates and highlights from the preliminary rounds!  

 

14/10/2017

6:30 p.m. - The preliminary rounds are wrapping up. Teams look exhausted after four rounds of being grilled by our superb judges. This day has seen some excellent argumentation so far. Teams are anxiously waiting in Jhunjhunwala Hall for the announcement of breaks for quarter-finals. Results will be out in 15 minutes! 

7:00 p.m. - The teams breaking to the quarterfinals are (in no particular order): 

  1. NLIU, Bhopal
  2. CLC, Delhi University
  3. School of Excellence in Law, Chennai
  4. GLC, Mumbai
  5. SVKM's Pravin Gandhi College of Law
  6. Faculty of Law, Allahabad
  7. Nirma University
  8. NLU, Delhi

Congratulations to them for making it so far!

Quarterfinals:

Court Room 1 - NLU Delhi v. Nirma University

8:04 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 is being grilled by the judges. The speaker is well-mannered but seems to have gotten stuck on a particularly tricky question posed by the judges. The judges are not satisfied with the argument and ask him for the next argument.

8:27 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 2's style is very soft spoken. The judges ask the speaker to clarify the submission being made. Further, they question the petitioners for approaching this particular forum. They question the very statutory position under which the petitioners have approached the Court. She answers the question referring to the essential questions of law at hand. The judges seem satisfied.

8:45 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 approaches the dais confidently. She is well mannered and gets done with formalities with ease. However, her submission regarding the instrument of accession and the non-imposability of judicial review faces a lot of questions. She further argues non-maintainability of the petition by arguing non-State action. She answers questions but seems to get a little flustered. The judges ask for the co-counsel.

8:57 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 attempts to argue his submission but the judges quickly interject and ask pointed questions regarding data-mining. The judges question the far-reaching implications of deciding in Respondent's favor and ask the respondents to contemplate the future. The speaker gives an answer regarding the mechanisms to stop a complete intrusion of privacy. The judges don't seem entirely satisfied with the answer and ask the speaker to conclude.

Court Room 2 - GLC, Mumbai v. School of Excellence in Law, Chennai

8:07 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 brings in a Canadian test to establish his argument and refers the judge to the compendium. The judges listen intently and ask for facts of the case and ask for specifics of the test. The speaker's style and manners are great and he manages to answer the judge's pointed questions.

8:21 p.m - Petitioner Speaker 2 is being questioned on the RIght to Privacy and its infringement in the current case. The speaker refers to UK's Code of Practice in this case and says that there must be a reasonable balance. The speaker is aggressive in his answers and the judges pick up on this. The judges simply refuse to accept the argument on the grounds that consent has not been proved by the Petitioners.

8:40 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 submits that the petition is not maintainable, and argue that this is a case of nonstate action. She is barraged by questions and is only able to answer a few before she is again grilled by the judges. The judges do not seem satisfied with the answers and attempt to derail her further. Her time runs out and her co-counsel is called.

8:55 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 is questioned on the privacy being infringed. The speaker attempts to bring in an argument saying that there is no legislation or legislative backing regarding the legality of the act at hand. The speaker attempts to bring in provisions of the IT Act, but the judges dismiss the applicability of the Act. The speaker seems confused and is asked to conclude.

Court Room 3 - Faculty of Law, Allahabad v. CLC, DU

8:10 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 is grilled on the law. The judges refuse to accept the sub-contention regarding sovereignty and ask her to move on to the next argument. The judges ask her pointed questions and bring in comparisons to agency areas.

8:35 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 2 is grilled about the right of a person to his personal data after the person has willingly given the information. The speaker refers to the Puttaswamy judgment and is immediately questioned on the difference between the establishment of the right and the scope of the right. The speaker gets derailed by the judges' questions and uses up her time. The judges' ask her to conclude.

8:45 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 approaches the dais. The judges have a bit of a laugh after the speaker asks permission to refer to them as Your Lordship. Immediately after, the judges start grilling the speaker about the alternative remedies mentioned in their written submission.

9:05 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 argues about the territorial application of Fundamental Rights. The speaker submits that the instrument of accession specifies that Fundamental Rights are qualified and not absolute. The judges question the lack of authority for such a claim and the speaker attempts to bring out a difference between uncodified and codified law. He argues that the particular case is an extraordinary scenario and that's why this Presidential order is to be allowed.

Court Room 4 - SVKM's Pravin Gandhi College of Law v. NLIU, Bhopal

8:12 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 is grilled by the judges on the facts. The speaker tries to answer the questions. The judges ask specific questions regarding the answers and try to clarify the petitioner's submission. The speaker succeeds and the judges call up the co-counsel.

8:20 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 2 starts off well but gets tripped up by the judges' questions. The judges' find fault in the answers given by the Speaker. The judges' ask the petitioner to speak about the locus in this particular case and move past just the law.

8:35 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 brings in a point regarding alternative remedies. The judges' mention the important constitutional questions at hand and the importance of a Constitutional Bench hearing such a case. The speaker refers the judges to her written submission as well as the prepared compendium several times.

8:50 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 is questioned on the law regarding privacy. The speaker brings in an integral point regarding anonymised data. The judges' question the ownership of the data and the speaker brings in a point regarding data masking. The speaker submits that there is no identification as there is a process of anonymisation. The judges' question the submission on the grounds that biometric data cannot be anonymised.

 

9:15 p.m. - And that brings us to an end of the quarterfinals. The teams seem exhausted but excited for the results. The judges were engrossed in the argumentation and now seem to relax.

The teams move towards the Auditorium for the cultural night where the results will be announced.

10:00 p.m. - The teams moving to the semifinals are - 

1. NLIU, Bhopal

2. CLC, DU

3. Nirma University

4. School of Excellence in Law, Chennai

 

See you tomorrow!

 

15/10/2017

10:00 a.m. - There's excitement in the air as the organizing committee sets up the rooms for the semifinals and finals. Months of work for the teams will now culminate into one team taking away the beautiful trophy. 

11:15 a.m. - Rooms are prepped, judges are ready and the teams are excited and nervous. Semifinals are about to start!

Semifinal 1 - NLIU Bhopal v. CLC, DU

The judges in the room are Avinash Desai, Ashwani Kumar and Varun Baliga.

11:30 a.m. -  Petitioner Speaker 1 is being questioned by the judges on the concepts of law at hand involving the jurisdiction of High Courts and Supreme Court. The speaker tries her best to answer but the judge rejects the particular contention and questions on the viability of alternative forums. She is suddenly being grilled on the volatility of the subject matter. She answers the questions with poise and is exceedingly well-mannered. 

11:40 a.m. - The speaker is now being questioned on principles of separation of power. The argument now moves towards the treaty of accession. The judges ask her about the legal backing regarding the joining of a state and the union. She answers the questions bringing in facts of the case. 

11:55 a.m. - Petitioner Speaker 2 asks for permission to approach the dais. She is immediately questioned regarding the parties in question and the State responsibility in question. She argues that the State has given concurrence, though not explicit, to let the private company continue its activities. She brings in an innovative argument regarding the Blue Whale Challenge suo moto petition in the Madras HC. 

12:04 p.m. - The judges question her on the maintainability of the petition in question. The judges ask her to distinguish between loss of life and breach of privacy to drive in a point regarding alternative fora. She answers the question bringing in the Puttaswamy judgment.  

12:20 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 is being grilled on viable alternative fora before the Court. He starts off well and seems clear in his argumentation. However, he seems to get a bit rattled with the line of questioning. He regains his footing and continues to elaborate on the alternative fora. 

12:35 p.m. - He makes his second submission saying that there is no substantial question of law at hand. The judges seem dissatisfied with the submission. The judges question the speaker on the applicability of video-conferencing as a viable alternative forum. The judges ask him to conclude and call the co-counsel to respond to the second petition. 

12:50 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 finishes the submission made by his co-counsel. He is grilled on the justiciability of the current issues. He attempts to answer but the judges are not satisfied with the contention. The judges ask him to proceed forward with the next submission. 

12:57 p.m. - He first submits a unique argument regarding the right to free trade and business. He tries to point out that in this circumstance both rights are equal and mere restrictions do not make any Fundamental Right more prevalent than the other. The judges question him on TRAI and UCC regulations. He answers and then moves forward with his submissions. He submits that RIght to Privacy cannot be enforced against private companies. The judges question him but he answers with the law as well as cases. 

Semifinal 2 - Nirma University v. School of Excellence in Law, Chennai

The judges in the room are Rishabh Sancheti, Hiten Vengavkar and Ramachandra Gurram.

11:25 a.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 seeks permission to approach the dais. She will argue the first two issues related to the first petition. The speaker speaks confidently and is not questioned for the first few minutes. The judges start with questions regarding procedural laws. 

11:35 a.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 is now being questioned on the challenges to the constitutionality of the law. She guides the judges to the written submission and answers the question by citing two cases. The judges seem satisfied with the answer and with that, her time is up. 

11:48 a.m. - Petitioner Speaker 2 has now approached the dais. He brings up Article 17 to bring a comparison regarding non-state action. The judges now ask him to prove that the company performs a public function so as to proceed with the horizontal applicability in the case scenario. 

11:54 a.m. - The speaker now is attempting to argue that an invasion of privacy has taken place. He is asked about the consent of the petitioners in giving up the information. He refers the bench to the compendium and cites multiple cases to help him establish his submission. The judges are satisfied with the answer. 

12:14 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 1 is arguing the access to justice and right to fair trial in this scenario to make her submission regarding the transfer petition. The judges question her on the jurisdictional differences between High Courts and Supreme Court. She answers the questions with confidence and remains calm even when under grilling by the judges. 

12:25 p.m. - She contends against the absolution of the instrument of accession and argues that the withdrawal of special status would lead to the secession of the state. She answers the questions posed by the judges. Her time is up but she requests two minutes to conclude her submission.

12:40 p.m. - Respondent Speaker 2 argues that Fundamental Rights cannot be enforced against a private party and is grilled on horizontal applicability. She answers the questions and the judges seem satisfied.

12:50 p.m. - She then submits that in that case, the applicable rules are the IT Rules. She proves through facts that the private company has complied with these rules. She is questioned on the applicability of certain facts but overall proceeds without much interruption. 

And with that, the semifinals are over! Great arguments all around. 

2:00 p.m. - The teams qualifying for the finals are CLC, Delhi University and School of Excellence in Law, Chennai. 

 

Finals - School of Excellence in Law, Chennai v. CLC, DU

3:30 p.m. - Petitioner Speaker 1 has taken the dais. The judge excessively questions her regarding the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in this matter. She handles the questions effortlessly to the satisfaction of the judges. However, the questioning continues. She contends that there does not exist an environment where a fair trial could take place in the state and hence the transfer petition should be allowed. 

3:38 p.m. - She cites Anita Kushwas extensively, says she refers to Indian precedents because of the similarity in facts. The judge draws a distinction between fundamental rights and human rights. 

3:51 p.m. - The judge questions the speaker over the fundamentals of the issue she is arguing. The speaker in response draws a distinction between the two petitions before the court - the one being dealt with by her and the other by her co-counsel. 

3:55 p.m. - The judge seems to be getting agitated by the speaker's unwillingness to argue beyond the facts of the moot proposition. There continues to be discord over jurisdiction of the court, and the parties being represented by the counsel. 

3:57 p.m - The speaker moves on to the next issue - classifying it as an executive order, dealing with the issue of delegated legislation. She is questioned by the judge on the same. The judge's major contention is on the grounds of the fact that the constitution is unwritten and therefore, first principles will apply instead of the provisions of any written constitution. 

4:03 p.m - The judge grants the speaker a further extension of 3 minutes. The speaker continues to unfazed by the barrage of questions, and answers calmly and effortlessly. Since the speaker continues to ground her arguments in the constitution and precedents in India, the judge attempts to tackle them in the light of the same, using the example of deeming same-sex marriage a liaison in the Indian context 

4:07 p.m. -  The judge asks the counsel to show uniformity saying federal structures don't do the same.  She denies this contention. Judges grant a 2-minute extension to the counsel to conclude her submission.   Judges reject a submission with saying that every right will be examined in the context of that particular right.  Counsel concludes and calls her co-counsel to argue before the Court.

4:13 p.m - Petitioner Speaker 2 now takes the dais. The judges inform her that she is an amicus curiae and hence should not take sides and merely provide the law. She justifies the suo moto petition by bringing in horizontal applicability.  

4:20 p.m. - The judge asks the speaker to provide certain case law to back her claim, and justify the court taking up the case suo moto. The speaker is not frazzled and answers the questioned with structure and poise. The issue regarding data brokerage arises, and the speaker attempts to provide a lucid definition of the same. Judges go ahead with the line of questioning and the speaker answers without many hiccups. She then brings in a new argument regarding personal information, citing the IT Rules.

4:33 p.m. - The judge questions the credibility of the speaker's plea on the grounds that it cannot be traced back to a statute, while a statute provides things to the contrary. Speaker argues that there is no ignorance of the law, but ignorance of information provided. Judge takes the speaker back to her prayer, particularly the second plea. 

4:40 p.m. - Judge questions the speaker about the contradiction between the submissions of the two speakers regarding classifying the data as 'sensitive' The speaker provides a comprehensive and fact heavy answer to prove her claims. She is further questioned on other modes of recourse available. 

4:45 p.m. - The speaker argues that the matter is of 'serious' concern. The judge provides an anecdote regarding the same. The speaker seems to be getting agitated but soon composes herself. The judge lightens the mood of the courtroom, calling the statement "it's been a pleasure to argue before the court" hypocritical. 

4:50 p.m. - Speaker number one from respondents lists out the issues he will deal with, and clarifies the party he represents. The counsel argues that the two petitions are distinct from each other while the Judge attempts to show the speaker the link between the two. 

4:55 p.m. - The speaker maintains the stance that the violation of privacy is independent of the first issue. The judges question the speaker on the grounds that the two parties being represented have a conflict of interest.

5:00 p.m. - The issue of conflict between the Union and State is raised again, and the in light of this, the judge asks the speaker to submit arguments on behalf of the State. The Bench notes that the since appellate jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court anyway, there does not seem to be a prima facie reason to dismiss the petition on maintainability. 

5:05 p.m. - He offers alternative remedies by way of pointing out alternative forums as well as mechanisms like video conferencing which can be used in this case. The counsel contends that there is no violation of Fundamental Rights in this case. Since the petitioners have filed a writ petition, therefore such a petition cannot be maintained under this jurisdiction.  

5:15 p.m. - The counsel argues that there is no right to property in the current case. The judges bring in an example of embargoes by the Nizam of Hyderabad to prove that there does exist a right to the property. The counsel is asked to argue about the continuance of clauses in the instrument of accession and the Presidential order. He concludes and calls his co-counsel to finish the respondent's the arguments.

5:20 p.m. - The last speaker for the competition approaches the dais and clarifies who he is representing. He flags out the main issues in the factual problem, regarding the actors in the case. After flagging out three distinct activities and three different acts, he contends that the Union cannot be held liable. He concedes that the second petition is maintainable in the court and that right to privacy exists. 

5:27 p.m. - His main argument is that there has to be a balance between the right to privacy and the other Fundamental Rights. In this case, that particular right is the right to free trade and business which extends to corporations. The balance only means that one right cannot completely override the other. The judges are satisfied with this argumentation and do not ask any questions.  

5:30 p.m. - He comes to his last argument that a petition against the right to privacy cannot be filed against private persons. The judges ask questions regarding the public nature of the corporation, including the public function it performs. He also submits that the powers exercised by the Parliament in the Union are wider than that of India. 

5:36 p.m. - He submits that no violation has taken place in this particular case. The judges question the absoluteness of the statement and ask a pointed question regarding the Union's particular contention in this submission. The judges try and back the speaker into a corner to get him to concede. He handles the situation well and answers without losing his footing. The judges are satisfied with his answers. 

5:40 p.m. - He concludes his argument by saying that any legislation has to brought out by the legislature of the Union and cannot be brought out by the judiciary as binding. The judges allow this submission and do not ask any questions. He summarises his argument and with that, the court is adjourned. 

The results will be announced soon! 

 

6:00 p.m. - Rohan Dewan takes the stage again to announce the results for the 11th edition of BR Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition. 

The winners of the competition are School of Excellence in Law, Chennai!

Hearty congratulations to them. 


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