All those intent on becoming an Advocate on Record (AoR) at India’s Supreme Court have to go through a notoriously difficult process of evaluation. How difficult? Well, less than one in five who took the exam in 2017 cleared it. We spoke to Dhanajaya Mishra, Sumeer Sodhi and Neha Malik, who aced the 2017 AoR exam, and can now proudly file cases in their own name at the Supreme Court. We asked them what motivated them to take the exam, how they went about preparing for it, what one can do to have a reasonable chance of passing, and just […]

A Mumbai Bench of the NCLT has passed an ex-parte order restraining Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and over 60 other related entities from disposing off their assets. This order has been passed while the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate are investigating Rs. 11,400 crore PNB scam. The Company Petition has been filed by Union through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs under various sections of . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access to […]

Justice Deepak Maheshwari is a sitting judge of the Rajasthan High Court. After obtaining his LL.B. degree in 1978, Justice Maheshwari cleared the Rajasthan Judicial Services Exam on the first attempt, in 1980. He was promoted to Rajasthan Higher Judicial Service (RHJS) in 1999 and was later appointed District & Sessions Judge, Jaipur Metropolitan. He also worked as Principal Secretary for the Law & Legal Affairs Department of the state government. He was elevated as an additional judge of the High Court in April 2014. In this interview, Justice Maheshwari takes us through his career as a judge, and discusses various […]

An editor once said that you have arrived as a journalist when you get threatening calls giving you ultimatums to take down stories. The equivalent for a criminal law practitioner is perhaps when a prominent gangster puts out a hit on you. What is it about criminal law that makes it a less attractive area of practice? How do you convince a judge to acquit someone whom society has already declared guilty? Why is it that not a single judge has ever been impeached by Parliament? Who better to answer these questions and more than Majeed Memon? The 71-year-old Rajya Sabha Member […]

If you had to put your money on someone to represent you at a criminal trial, Senior Advocate Amit Desai would probably be your best bet. Just ask Bollywood actor Salman Khan, or the others in the film industry who have had brushes with the law. Having honed his skills with some of the legends of the Bombay Bar, Desai has established himself as one of the top criminal lawyers in the country, and somewhat of a celebrity himself. In this interview with Pallavi Saluja, Desai talks about his early years, his move towards criminal practice, the Bombay Criminal Bar, his […]

Back in 2002, a soft spoken Maldivian came to the National Law School of India University, Bangalore under a quota for students from member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). His ambition was to become a judge in his home country. Ali Hussain did not make the cut on his return to Male, for reasons best known to his interviewers. He did, however, go on to become a Member of Parliament for the Opposition Jumhooree Party. Days after Supreme Court judges in the Maldives barricaded themselves in the premises of the Maldivian Supreme Court, and hours after […]

Bechu Kurian Thomas is one of the youngest Senior Advocates at the Kerala High Court. Having joined the Bar in 1992, Kurian’s father, former Supreme Court judge, Justice KT Thomas (then a Kerala High Court judge) advised him against practicing in the High Court since he was a sitting judge of the High Court. He, therefore, started his practice in lower courts in Kottayam before shifting base to Kerala High Court when his father was elevated to the Supreme Court.    In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Murali Krishnan, Kurian talks about his initial days at the Bar, his […]

In part 2, Shanti Bhushan talks about his stint as Law Minister of India, the state of the Indian judiciary and his political career. In the aftermath of the Emergency, a change in government took place, and Shanti Bhushan was made Law Minister for the Janata Party government. His foremost goal while serving the post was to ensure that the events of 1975 would never take place again in the country. This, he did by introducing the forty-fourth amendment to the Constitution. “The main reason why Emergency succeeded was that the Supreme Court took the absurd view that no habeas […]

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has called for an in-house inquiry procedure to be initiated against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, given the serious allegations of misconduct that have been brewing, particularly following the manner in which the CJI-led Bench handled the medical college bribery cases late last year. A letter to this effect has been addressed to the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, barring CJI Misra – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and AK Sikri.   Four primary charges against Justice Misra have been quoted as requiring immediate attention of […]

To have a conversation with Shanti Bhushan is to flip through the pages of history itself. To say that the nonagenarian has a formidable memory is an understatement; during our conversation, he suggests that I read his biography, but soon, I find that there is no need. One cannot help but marvel at his storytelling prowess, as he recounts events that took place decades ago like they happened yesterday. In the first of this two-part interview, the veteran lawyer talks about how he fell in love with the profession, the multiple times he was asked to join the Bench, the […]

Iddo Porat, an Associate Professor at Israel’s College of Law and Business, is an expert in comparative Constitutional law and Legal Theory. Among various publications to his credit, he has also written extensively on the role of proportionality and balancing tests in legal cultures. In 2013, he co-authored a book Proportionality and Constitutional Culture.  Recently, he visited Tamil Nadu National Law School, Trichy to teach a course on Comparative Human Rights Law. In this interview with 

Aditya Verma has been at the forefront of the legal battle to clean up the functioning of the Board Of Control Of Cricket in India (BCCI). What prompted him to challenge the mighty Board? How did he get the kind of legal representation he did? And is a foray into politics in the offing? He reveals all this and more in a candid interview with Bar & Bench. You have become a real thorn in the flesh of the BCCI. It was your petition that led to the formation of the Lodha Committee and the implementation of most of their […]

In Part II of our interview with Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, he talks about human rights cases in the Supreme Court, his most memorable case, what keeps him going, and more. There are a number of draconian laws that exist on our statue books, including the AFSPA and CSPSA in Chhattisgarh. Do you see these being repealed in the future? The repeal of these laws is impossible, in fact, more laws like these will come in. And why more laws come in is because the Supreme Court made fatal mistakes in its judgment on AFSPA, which is the Naga People’s […]

Professor David Wilkins, Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession (HLS CLP), has been teaching at Harvard Law School for over 30 years. His major interest throughout this time has been the transformation of the legal profession, first in the US, and then, all around the world. Most recently, Professor Wilkins and his team have been working on studying the development of legal profession following the liberalisation of various economies, and will be visiting India this month. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, Professor Wilkins talks about how India’s legal profession, in its post-liberalisation development phase, […]

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves has been one of the staunchest crusader of human rights in the Supreme Court for a number of years. In recognition of his work in the field, Gonsalves, the founder of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) was recently conferred the 2017 Right Livelihood award. In the first part of this interview, Gonsalves talks about his involvement in the labour movement, the efficacy of the PIL in safeguarding the rights of the downtrodden, labour laws in India, and more. What drew the civil engineer from IIT to do law? Well, it was the period of the mid-70s. […]

The controversy surrounding the death of judge BH Loya has been raging on social media the past week. The allegation that former Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah offered bribe to judge Loya to decide Sohrabuddin encounter case in favour of BJP leader Amit Shah, has shaken the legal fraternity. Two years ago, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave had written a letter to then Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu opposing Justice Mohit Shah’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Bar & Bench’s Murali Krishnan spoke to Dave about his views on the controversy, the recent episode relating to Medical college […]

In this candid interview, former Supreme Court judge and Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court Justice Venkate Gopala Gowda takes us through his career and discusses pressing issues pertaining to the legal profession. The first thing you notice about Justice Gopala Gowda is that he wears his heart on his sleeve. It is rather unusual for a judge – retired or otherwise – to express such strong opinions, and to be critical of the system he was once part of. But then again, he is not your run-of-the-mill judge. He has some misgivings about the media, and for good reason. […]

Rahul Bajaj is one of two Indians from the legal field who have been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this time around. Along with Sameer Rashid Bhat, Rahul will attend the BCL programme at Oxford University next year. An Associate at Trilegal, Rahul graduated from Nagpur University earlier this year. An avid IP law buff, Rahul also used to write extensively for SpicyIP. In this interview with Bar & Bench, he talks about his journey thus far. You seemed to have bucked the trend of Rhodes Scholars being mostly from NLUs. I have been blind since birth, so back in […]

Toby Landau is the first Queen’s Counsel to “intern” with an Indian law firm, after Luthra & Luthra Managing Partner Rajiv Luthra bid for him at a Legal Aid Charity auction in Singapore. Commenting on the auction, Landau said, “I don’t often put myself up for sale, but in a weak moment I was persuaded to take part in a legal aid charity auction in Singapore. My expectation was that I would be “purchased” by a Singapore law firm as a trainee for a day. But Mr. Luthra unexpectedly started some aggressive bidding, and didn’t give up till the last […]

Sameer Rashid Bhat, a final year student of Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar, is one of two students – the other being Nagpur University graduate Rahul Bajaj – to have received the Rhodes Scholarship for next year. In this short interview with Bar & Bench, Sameer, who also happens to be the first GNLU student and the first from Jammu & Kashmir to have bagged the prestigious scholarship, talks about his journey in law school, how to make your application stand out, and more. What inspired you to apply? Basically, my areas of interest are Human Rights and the […]

LegitQuest is the latest in the line of ventures aiming to integrate technology with legal research. Run by Rohit Shukla, Karan Kalia and Himanshu Puri (pictured L-R), LegitQuest aims to make life easier for lawyers, students, and judges alike by considerably decreasing the time spent on legal research. Bar & Bench caught up with lawyer Karan Kalia, who once worked with Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani, to discuss the features of LegitQuest and what will set it apart from existing online resources, prior to its impending launch. What is LegitQuest? Significant gaps in the legal research domain in India gives a strong […]

K Pratap Reddy is a veteran Senior Advocate at the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. Through his long career, Reddy has represented six Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, including PV Narsimha Rao. The 87-year-old, with close to six decades of experience at the Bar, had earlier taken us through his career in an interview published in 2012. This time around, he speaks on more recent issues, ranging from the Collegium, to privacy, to his close encounter with contempt. The opacity of the Collegium system has been called into question, with the transfer and subsequent resignation of Justice Jayant Patel. […]

Professor Kancha Ilaiah has never been one to mince words. But when he termed Banias as “social smugglers”, he started receiving death threats and abusive phone calls. His book Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu drew flak from sections of society, leading to the filing of a petition calling for its ban. However, the Supreme Court would dismiss the petition while upholding his freedom of speech and expression. Bar & Bench caught up with Ilaiah to discuss his writings, criminal proceedings pending against him, and more. You don many hats. You are a Professor, an author, a Dalit rights activist and more. Can you describe the […]

In a significant judgment passed yesterday, the Supreme Court laid down criteria for Senior Designations, which will be applicable to all High Courts and the Supreme Court. The judgment provides a detailed process for designating a lawyer as a Senior Advocate. The new system has been lauded as a step towards bringing in greater transparency in the process of Senior Designations. The person who set the wheels in motion is none other than Senior Advocate Indira Jaising. Here, she speaks with Bar & Bench on the judgment and the detailed process laid down by the Court for designating seniors. What are […]

Avtar Singh Rawat is a Senior Advocate of the Uttarakhand High Court. He has previously served as Additional Advocate General for Uttarakhand in the Supreme Court. Most recently, he had represented the Speaker in the Uttarakhand President’s Rule case in the High Court. Not one to mince his words, in this interview, the veteran lawyer offers a perspective on lawyers in smaller cities, highlights the flaws in the system of judicial appointments, and talks about government litigation. Why did you choose to do law? I come from a very remote area, and I did not know anything about the legal […]

Sanjay Pinto is an advocate currently practicing in the Madras High Court. He specialises in Media, Constitutional, Criminal, Consumer and Arbitration Law. Following his graduation in History and Politics at Loyola College, Chennai, he completed his law degree from Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai. Prior to taking up legal practice, he was a prominent figure in journalism. Starting with the role of Tamil Nadu correspondent at NDTV New Delhi Television in 1998, he has gone on to serve as Bureau Chief for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry at NDTV 24×7, Executive Editor of NDTV-Hindu and Resident Editor for Tamil Nadu at NDTV 24×7. He […]

Senior Advocate of the Madras High Court Vijay Narayan was recently appointed as Advocate General for the state of Tamil Nadu. A much-respected member of the Bar himself, Narayan comes from a family of illustrious lawyers. His grandfather was legendary lawyer MK Nambyar, and his uncle happens to be Attorney General for India, KK Venugopal. In this interview, Narayan, who is also the President of the Madras Bar Association, talks about starting off in the profession, judicial appointments and a lot more. You come from a family of illustrious lawyers. Did that influence your decision to take up law? When I […]

I am seated alongside Shanmugham’s two sons and two of my friends. Hot puttu is being served onto my plate as we resume our conversation from where we had left off. He had spoken about how those in the higher echelons should take care to ensure that standards [in the profession] are set high. And that is definitely a hint. Supreme Court – the mistakes “Where do you think the Supreme Court started getting its basics wrong?”, I query. “Laying down Rules for interpretation! There is a provision and there is a rule for interpretation of the provision. But when […]

Having appeared and argued on the petitioners’ side of the bar, Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya had the opportunity to reflect on every single argument made on either side, during the hearings in the historic Right to Privacy matter. “I consider myself privileged for having had the opportunity to be a part of this historic journey. Not often do nine judges of the Supreme Court convene to consider a matter so crucial to human life as the Right to Privacy; and render a unanimous verdict, although from different perspectives. People living in this day and age are lucky to have witnessed […]

Balaji Srinivasan is an Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He started his career in the trial courts of Bengaluru, working with Senior Advocate Pramila Nesargi. As an Advocate on Record of the Supreme Court, he has appeared in several prolific cases including the Swami Nithyananda case and the Black Money case. He is also a regular in various tribunals such as the NCDRC, APTEL etc. and has served as the standing counsel for Nagaland. In the landmark case striking down that constitutionality of Triple Talaq pronounced this week, he appeared on behalf of the main petitioner, Shayara Bano. In this interview with […]