Anupam Gupta practises as a Senior Advocate at the High Court of Punjab & Haryana. In this interview with Bar & Bench, he offers his take on the perceived crisis of the Indian Judiciary, touching upon Executive interference with the Judiciary, the Judges Press Conference, the role of the Chief Justice of India as master of roster, and more. Judiciary in Crisis The crisis which has gripped the Supreme Court since about a year and a half is nothing less than a tragedy, for the simple reason that it is not an ordinary court. This is the world’s most powerful […]

In the second and final part of our interview with Justice Abhay Thipsay, we sought his views on an overburdened judiciary, pendency, how the Sohrabuddin encounter case has been handled, and more. What in your opinion are some of the most misused provisions of law in this country? Laws like the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), Prevention Of Terrorism Act (POTA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) are draconian laws and the provisions therein are misused. I have expressed this view at several fora. I have serious doubts whether such dangerous provisions, which can be harmful and which […]

Justice Abhay Thipsay, who retired as a judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2017, recently joined the Congress Party, stating that he needed a platform from which to address certain goings-on in the country that concerned him. Bar & Bench spoke to him to find out what motivated him to take the step, how the legal fraternity reacted to the news, what we can expect from his new avatar, and a whole lot more. The majesty of the judiciary has taken a hit in the recent past, and public criticism of our courts and their judgments are on the […]

Designated by the Delhi High Court as a Senior Advocate, Atul Nanda is currently serving as the Advocate General for the state of Punjab. In this interview with Bar & Bench, Nanda talks about differences in the practices in Delhi and Punjab, steps that need to be taken to curb government litigation, the Navjot Singh Sidhu case, and more. How were the early days of practice? My father was a noted labour lawyer in Jalandhar, so it was only natural that I turned to the legal profession. Even before I formally received my law degree, as a student I would […]

“You will not be forgiven.” “Are you hand in glove with the Hurriyat?” These are just some of the comments Advocate Deepika Rajawat has received from members of the legal fraternity ever since she took up the Kathua rape and murder case earlier this year. Her colleagues have shunned her, branding her as an anti-nationalist. Others have even gone to the extent of issuing rape and death threats. “I am facing a social boycott…They have removed me from their groups as if I have committed an offence! According to them, the fact that they are standing for the rape accused […]

In the second part of the interview, Justice BA Khan takes us through his career as a high court judge, revealing how political influence plays a role in elevation and transfer of judges. He also speaks about the unique style of judging that led to his being christened ‘Badshah Khan’. Justice Khan’s initial inclination was towards politics, and law was nothing but a means to an end. “In those days, doing law was sort of a qualification for becoming a legislator in Kashmir. In that pursuit, I studied law.” As the Advocates Act was not in operation in Jammu & […]

It has been a difficult couple of months at the Supreme Court of India, with talk of dissension among judges, Executive interference, and even impeachment forming the backdrop. The legal fraternity, as well as the general public – no matter what views they subscribe to – cannot help but acknowledge an all too palpable sense of unease at the highest court in the country. To put things in perspective, and to gain a view from the inside, we spoke to someone who has been in thick of it for the better part of two decades. A former Chief Justice of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

A day before a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India decides whether or not Indian citizens have a fundamental right to privacy (Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors ), one particular individual is waiting with bated breath. That man is former Karnataka High Court judge, Justice KS Puttaswamy, the man who set things in motion with his petition filed in . . . 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 […]

Shanmugham D Jayan is a visiting faculty at National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) Kochi and Cochin University. He teaches Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, IT Law and Law of Taxation. He is also a lawyer specialising in taxation and frequents courts and authorities of first instance. An expert in Information Technology Law, he has three publications to his credit. In this free-wheeling chat with Bar & Bench’s Murali Krishnan, Shanmugham speaks on myriad subjects including legal education, quality of the Bar, the judiciary and . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a […]