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Court Witness: Inside the Supreme Court of India

Now happier with tareekh than with insaaf from the adalat. Still figuring out vakalath. Trying not to attract 66A wrath. (Yes, I'm a bad poet)

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Inspired by Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary, Court Witness provides advocates with the indispensable A-Z to the advocates' profession.

Affidavit: A collection of lies that gain the veneer of truth because of the notary's signature.

Bureaucracy: Any sufficiently large body organised with the sole aim of impeding action and promoting litigation.

Counter-Affidavit: Any notarized document denouncing another as a bunch of lies while spreading some of its own.

Dasti: (Persian for "by hand") An order where the Court washes its hands of the problem of service of notice to other parties.

English: Popular term used to describe court language in India. A misnomer for "Incomprehensible Legalese"

Fees: The pound of flesh Portia extracted from Antonio as the price of preventing Shylock from doing the same to Antonio.

Government pleader: A gentleman or lady paid a pittance to lie in court and receive abuse aimed at the Government.

Hard case: A case where neither the facts nor the law are on your side, and the client's not paying you enough to commit gross professional misconduct in court.

Injustice: What happens when one loses a client's case.

Justice: What happens when one wins a case for the client.

Known Dacoit (often shortened to KD): A designation used by policemen in colonial India to keep track of troublemakers, now repurposed to describe the average Bar Council/Bar Association Executive Member.

Law school/college: any institution one pays money for the privilege of being ill equipped to practice the law.

Miscellaneous Day: The Supreme Court of India's long standing Guinness Book of World Records attempt to find out how many people can fit into one courtroom at any time.

Notice, Legal: A civilized way of issuing death threats and terrorizing the weak and defenceless.

Opinion: A legal form of copywriting without the latent honesty and fairness of an advertising campaign.

Pass over: A daily ritual where a court's time and a junior's dignity are sacrificed for a senior counsel's convenience

Qua: Sound heard from a strangled duck or a pompous lawyer meaning to say "with relation to".

Registry: The institution which treats Dante's warning, "Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here" as an organisational motto.

Suit: A term used in media reports to describe petitions, applications, complaints, and just about everything else but an actual suit.

Tribunal: A court with all the trappings of civil procedure with none of the fairness.

Undertrial: A person involuntarily enjoying the Government's free housing and free food programme for the underprivileged.

Vakalatnama: A legal document binding you to a lawyer, for better or worse, but mostly for the worse.

Writ Petition: The cause of, and solution to, all the problems of governance in India.

Xenophobia: The default response of an Indian advocate when faced with a foreign lawyer or an Indian judge when faced with a foreign judgment.

Yuga: A period of 24000 years that completes one cosmological cycle in Hindu mythology which is best used to describe the amount time it takes for a family dispute to move through the court system to completion.

Zamindar: The ideal litigant the Indian legal system was designed to cater to: Someone with lots of money, property, enemies and heirs.

Court Witness is an advocate of the Supreme Court of India and tweets at @CourtWitness1

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