About the Competition
GITAM School of Law, GITAM Deemed to be University, Visakhapatnam organized the Dr. MVVS Murthi National Moot Competition on Space Law 2020. The event was organised from 5th March to 8th March 2020 at School of Law, GITAM Deemed to be University, Visakhapatnam. The sole objective of this Moot Competition was to provide the students with an opportunity to develop their interpersonal & Advocacy skills. Participation in Moot Court Competition enhances the art of researching and the oratory skills of a student while prepping the student to face the realms of a courtroom. It also aids in confidence-building. Mooting gives a practical courtroom experience to a law student. The teams contend for 4 categories of awards – Winners, Runners Up, Best Speaker and Best Memorial with Prizes ranging from INR 10,000 to 50,000.
DAY 1: Team Registration and Inaugural Ceremony
Registration (11 A.M to 1:00 P.M) – All the participants from various Law Schools across the country had flown down to Visakhapatnam and reached the college campus and were being accompanied by the hospitality committee and were allotted accommodation soon after the registration process.
Inaugural (3:00 P.M to 4:15 P.M) – Astha and Kaarvannan, final year students of GITAM School of Law had compèred the Inaugurals. It was pleasing to have students in large numbers who had registered for this Moot Court Competition. All the Faculty members of GITAM School of Law had graced the occasion. The Guests on the dais were asked to lighten up the lamp as a sign of good omen and followed by a prayer for creating a spiritual awakening.
While delivering the inaugural address of National Moot Court Competition which had been organised in memory of the Founder President of GITAM Deemed to be University Dr. MVVS Murthi, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Siva Rama Krishna, GITAM Deemed to be University stated that it is the “skill set” which makes an ordinary person to be a professional, in specific lawyers need to be refined honing the skills for the upliftment of society and cater the needs of the justice system. Vice-Chancellor extended his best wishes to all the participants of the competition by inspiring words of encouragement.
The Succeeding Speech was delivered by Professor R Anita Rao, the Director of GITAM School of Law and briefed upon the implications of an Advocacy, need for negotiation, counseling, and presentation skills which are an intricate part of the professional engagement. Professor Rao welcomed the gathering with a note of thanks to the participants who came from different parts of the country. She expressed a model draft bill on Space Law will be the outcome of the present Competition which will be submitted to PMO’s office. Further Professor Rao announced that in the future, International Moot Court Competitions will be a part of the GITAM School of Law domain.
The Guest of honour Shri MVKV Prasad, Chief Scientist, GITAM and former Director, Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), under the DRDO, exclaimed that it is the Law fraternity which binds the society collectively, failure of which the society will result in anarchy. Sharing his International experience from Japan, Israel and other countries scientist remarked the technicalities of space technology can be estimated but the damage done by nuclear weapons is unavailable and beyond human intervention, hence it will wise for the future generation to carry research on the “LAW” (Lethal Autonomous Weapon) and thus he concluded his speech and received an exuberant applause from the audience.
To conclude with a formal vote of thanks was delivered by Mr. Vardhman Panwar, Assistant Professor of Law, GITAM School of Law. And had invited the participants for a short refreshment break and also requested the teams to proceed for the draw of lots and the researcher test.
Draw of Lots/ Researcher Test (4:30 P.M to 5:00 P.M) – All the registered teams were present during the Draw of Lots and the Researcher Test, as soon after the researcher test was over the teams were being matched up against each other using the draw of lots system and all the teams got to know their contending teams for the Preliminary rounds and their memorials were being exchanged.
DAY 2: PRELIMINARY ROUND 1
10:00 A.M – Judges Briefing: The judges across the sub-continent had come to witness and test the prowess of the participants.
10:40 A.M – Commencement of Preliminary Round
Courtroom no. 1:
The courtroom comprised of the Judges: Mrs. Vasundhara Ravi and Mr. D. Ashish, the first contenders of the day were D.Y Patil Law College, Navi Mumbai against RGNUL, Patiala. After the submissions of the memorials the respective counsels had put forth their arguments and Judges asked some intriguing questions in return to the counsels.
Courtroom no. 4:
As quoted by William Wycherley: “Bluster, Sputter, Question, Cavil; but be sure your argument be intricate enough to confound the court”. Team SOEL, Chennai dueled against DSNLU, Visakhapatnam as they had a heated exchange of arguments in the rebuttal session, the judges were thoroughly satisfied by the arguments put forth by both the parties.
Courtroom no. 5:
Presidency School of Law, Bangalore faced off Symbiosis Law School, Pune were the counsels of respondents had posed questions on Good faith and also added that the counsels representing the petitioners lacked strict liability. The Judges raised a question on negligence lying down on part of the counsel.
In this courtroom the Judge: Mrs. Delhi Chandana had demanded the petitioners NUSRL, Ranchi to define “Opinio Juris” in customary law. The respondents HNLU, Raipur had elucidated the facts further to get a clear purview.
12:00 P.M Lunch Break
After the sessions were concluded the participants alongside Judges relished upon the delicacies being served to them for lunch before getting back to another grueling session of Preliminary Round 2.
PRELIMINARY ROUND 2
Soon after a short lunch break, the Preliminary Round 2 sessions commenced and the teams were once again ready to fight back their opponents.
The team representing Christ School of Law, Bangalore contended against D.Y Patil College, Navi Mumbai the defendants fell short in submitting the provisions concerning their submissions. The plaintiff countered defendants with strong contentions and the defendants gave a befitting reply to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs began to state the facts and the judges-imposed questions of the binding effect of ICJ. The defendants were questioned regarding the negligence during the misplacement or disconnection of the satellite. The teams Vels School of Law, Chennai and NUSRL, Ranchi were equally matched in terms of research and it all came down to the oral presentations.
Courtroom no. 5:
The teams Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, and Symbiosis Law School, Pune faced off each other, the Judges were of poised opinion upon the submissions, the rebuttals and surrebuttals had put their brotherhood to test.
HNLU, Raipur was up against SOEL, Chennai, the counsels argued that the mistake of morality can’t be vehemently termed as a mistake of law. The counsels later put forth amicable arguments in rebuttals and sur rebuttals.
3:00 P.M – Declaration of Results
After the sessions got over the teams were enthralled and eagerly waiting for the results to be declared, and soon after some time the results were declared and the teams which advanced to the Quarterfinals were as follows:
- D.Y Patil College of Law, Navi Mumbai
- Symbiosis Law School, Pune
- Presidency School of Law, Bangalore
- Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
- Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad
- Hidayuttulah National Law University, Raipur
- Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam
- National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi
DAY 3: QUARTERFINALS & SEMIFINALS
10:30 A.M – Commencement of Quarterfinal Rounds
The third day witnessed the Quarterfinals between the eight teams vying for a spot in Semi-finals, where the courtroom no. 1 yet again had a face-off between the Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad and the Symbiosis Law School, Pune, where the judges questioned upon the applicability of UDHR with respect to Space Law. The Kessler’s Syndrome and Space Tourism became a subject matter of contention between the teams of DSNLU, Visakhapatnam and D.Y Patil College of Law, Navi Mumbai in the courtroom no.2. The counsels from the team Presidency School of Law, Bangalore, and HNLU, Raipur had presented their contestations based upon the Statutes of ICJ and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Courtroom no.4 had the team NUSRL, Ranchi squared up against RGNUL, Patiala both the teams articulated pretty well and the Judges had put their legal prowess into the test, and the counsels had defended their stance equally.
1:00 P.M – Announcement of Quarter Final Results
Out of eight teams, four made their way into the Semifinals of the competition and the teams which advanced are as follows:
- NUSRL, Ranchi
- HNLU, Raipur
- Symbiosis Law School, Pune
- DSNLU, Visakhapatnam
02:40 P.M – SEMIFINAL 1
Semifinal 1 was judged by a bench of potent legal personalities Dr. Mathew Thomas and Mr. Ashwani Kumar, as they keenly waited for the counsels of Symbiosis Law School, Pune, and DSNLU, Visakhapatnam to propound their submissions. The counsels argued on various matters including:- Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines laid down by the UNOOSA, “Res Communis” and the Doctrine of Due Diligence. The bench was finical about each argument being put forth and were quite inquisitive towards the counsels.
Semifinal 1 adjudged by Mr. Mathew Thomas & Mr. Ashwani Kumar
Semifinal 2 presided by the Judges: Bhavani Prasad Panda & Dayananda Murthy
04:00 P.M – SEMIFINAL 2
The Semifinal 2 gripped us with a well-established and versatile bench comprising of judges Mr. Bhavani Prasad Panda and Mr. Dayananda Murthy. The memorials and legal noesis of the teams HNLU, Raipur and NUSRL, Ranchi were scrutinised by the judges, the marrow of arguments being: Vienna Convention and Article 15 of the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, heightening the curiosity in the court hall. The Chanakya disaster and high seas laws were a part of the submission made by the counsels. The bench analysed the expertise of the counsels on the subject matter.
06:00 P.M – Semifinal Round Results
The results for the much-awaited semi-finals were announced, and the teams which marched into the finals were:
- Symbiosis Law School Pune
- HNLU, Raipur
DAY 4: FINALS AND VALEDICTORY CEREMONY
02:00 P.M – Final Rounds
The most awaited finals were between Symbiosis Law School, Pune, and HNLU, Raipur the presiding Judges for the bench were: Hon’ble Justice D.V.V.S Somayajulu, Judge, A.P High Court Amaravathi and Hon’ble Justice Kodanda Ram, Judge, High Court for the State of Telangana. As they patiently contemplated the arguments presented by the counsels. The essence of the submissions made were of standard liability ( Article 3 of Liability Convention) long term sustainability guidelines, contamination of outer space in the form of space debris( Article 9 of UNOOSA), state responsibility under International Law (Article 1), the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea ( Rule 7(3) COLREGs) also played a crucial role in deciding the liability. The counsels laid down certain precedents viz. Nagymaro case and Uganda case. The teams had stated the legal maxis, “Lex specialis derogat legi Generalis” and “Actus curiae neminem grabavit”. The bench was witty and vigorous enough in questioning the counsels throughout the session. Both the teams were equally conversant with the facts and arguments, keeping the hall engaged from the very beginning till the end.
04:00 P.M – High Tea Break
The Judges, participants, and the spectators were being served with refreshments.
04:30 P.M – Valedictory Ceremony
As quoted by William Shakespeare “All’s well that ends well; still the fine is the crown, whate’er the course, the end is the renown”, The much-anticipated moment had come but before proceeding towards the declaration of results, the judges on dais were asked to share their wisdom along with the participants and spectators. The Vice-Chancellor Professor Siva Rama Krishna, GITAM Deemed to be University stated that whether it was winning or losing the teams had given their best shot and in the end, it is only the experience which one derives helps to thrive in his/her profession and wished all the teams success in their future endeavours. Professor R. Anita Rao, Director GITAM School of Law had thanked the Judges and the participants for their presence, Professor Rao stated that the presence of Hon’ble Justice Ch. Kodanda Ram and Justice D.V.S.S Somayajulu had appraised the moot court competition and the four days that had gone by gave a glimpse of a vibrant future. The teams across the nation have put forth their notions with noesis and vigour with emesis of new perspectives and trains of thought. Hon’ble Justice D.V.S.S Somayajulu his lordship had foregrounded the role of moot court competition and how it helps to shape a student’s career and the spectators were completely enticed by the coruscating wit yet thought-provoking speech given by his lordship. Hon’ble Justice Ch. Kodanda Ram his lordship shared his personal experiences and his perspective upon the ongoing scenario of law school teachings and how there was a rampant change within a span of two decades and how efficient the law schools have become to mould bright students who serve the society and wished the participants and the students a successful career ahead.
05:00 P.M – Announcement of Results
The hall was filled with silence and delirium in anticipation of the results, both the teams were anxious to know the results, and finally, the silence was broken and the results announced were as follows:
Winners – HNLU, Raipur
Runner’s Up – Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Best Memorial – DSNLU, Visakhapatnam
Best Speaker – DSNLU, Visakhapatnam
Best Researcher – Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad
05:30 P.M – Vote of Thanks
Faculty Convener L. Ashish Kumar, Assistant Professor, GITAM School of Law had addressed the gathering with a vote of thanks, he professed his heartfelt gratitude to each and every individual involved towards the grand success of the event and congratulated the teams for their participation.
Member, Moot Court Committee,
GITAM School of Law,
GITAM Deemed to be University, Visakhapatnam