13th NALSAR Justice B.R. Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition, 2020: Live Blogging and Updates!

Hello Everyone!

NALSAR University of Law welcomes you to the 13th NALSAR Justice BR Sawhney Memorial Moot Court Competition, 2020 live Blog. The competition started on the 1st of August 2020, in collaboration with Eastern Book Company and SCC Online as Knowledge partners.
This year the competition was conducted through virtual mode.
Total of 32 teams participated this year, all the introductory rounds were conducted in these last ten days and today we conducted our semi-final rounds.

11:05 Semi-final rounds have begun after a minor delay.

11:07 The First Counsel will be dealing with three issues of the moot proposition and Second Counsel will be contesting the rest of the Issues.

11:10 The judge(s) have begun a line of questioning based on the petitioner’s reference to an authority concerning the parameters of judicial review.

11:22 The petitioner manages to answer a new line of questioning on factual grounds and precedents with a limited degree of success, but the judges do not seem very impressed.

11:36 The petitioners have requested a few minutes to sum up the arguments. Judges allow the Speaker to sum up the arguments in 2 Minutes.

11:44 The second speaker has started his arguments and is confidently trying to answer the questions.

11:48 The Esteemed Bench has started to point to the judgments made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to question the Petitioners.

11:51 The bench seems unimpressed, the petitioner’s initial confidence seems to be fading in the face of the relentless questioning. With this the Judges ask the council to move on to the next argument.

11:59 The honorable judges are grilling the speaker and the speaker seems to be fazed by it.

12:03 Judges have allowed the speaker to sum up the arguments in two minutes.

12:05 The Petitioners have concluded their contentions by reciting the prayer before the Hon’ble Court.

12:07 The judges will now hear the Respondents Counsels.

12:09 After a small break, the First counsel for Respondents has started his speech for the 3 Issues in the Moot Proposition.

12:10 Hon’ble Judge(s) have also started questioning the arguments of the council as soon as the council lays down the structure of his Arguments.

12:12 On the question of the “biasness of judges” the response given by the respondents has not satisfied the honorable judges.

12:18 After the attempt to answer the Judges Questions, the first counsel from the Respondents moves on to the second issue.

12:20 Through the cross-questioning the honorable judges have been trying to get greater clarity on the arguments advanced to them. The judges seem to be fairly satisfied with the answer.

12:35 After a thorough discussion and a detailed Question and Answer Session, the Judges ask the First Counsel to conclude his contentions.

12:39 The Second Counsel from the Respondents has started his speech before the Hon’ble Court.

12:43 The Respondent speaker has started in a self-assured manner but the judges have been fairly active in asking the questions.

12:45 The bench asks the counsel about the reputed case of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Mun. Corp., the counsel seems confused but tries to answer the question.

12:55 The honorable judges have been grilling the speaker on the question of article 14, however, the speaker seems unfazed by the cross-questioning.

12:58 As the Counsel argues the issue for defending the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 The Judges shower the counsel with technical questions on the basis of such amendment.

01:10 The Respondents have concluded their arguments for all the issues after the detailed cross-questioning by the bench.

01:12 The Petitioners have started giving the Rebuttals to the arguments advanced by the Respondents.

01:15 The Respondents seek to submit the Sur-Rebuttals. However, the hence does not feel necessary to hear the sur-rebuttals and are satisfied with hearing both sides.

01:19 Semi-Final 2 has Concluded.

The Final round of the 13th Justice B.R. Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition will be conducted on 16.08.2020.

11:02 – The final round for the 13th B.R. Sawhny Memorial Moot Court Competition begins at sharp 11:00 AM. The bench comprised of Honourable Justice (Retd.) B.N. Krishna, Professor Dr. Faizan Mustafa and Senior Advocate Dr. Aditya Sondhi. 

11:04 – The round begins after a brief introduction of judges and the organizing committee. 

11:06 –  Speaker 1 on behalf of the petitioners begins his first submission

11: 07 – Justice Krishna asks the speaker to explain the proposition briefly

11:08- Justice krishna allots additional time to the speakers for the networking issues

11:09 – Prof Mustafa questions the speaker

11:10 – Dr. Sondhi questions the speaker

11:12 – Justice Krishna asks the speaker for a clarification on a point

11: 14 – Prof Mustafa asks the speaker to explain the example he gave on death penalty in connection with Justice Pasai and how it establishes the claims of the petitioner. 

11:16 – The explanation given by the petitioner seems to have satisfied the bench.

11:17-  Justice Krishna asks the speaker his opinion on whether a judge should recuse himself.

11:20 – Professor Mustafa asks whether a judge can be a part of the larger bench if he/she has been involved in the previous hearing of the matter and has given his judgement. 

11:21 – The petitioner begins his second submission

11: 22 – Justice Krishna asks the petitioner to clarify his submission in that the collegium should allocate cases and not just the CJI

11- 23 – Justice Krishna again asks the petitioner why not the entire court and why only collegium of 5 should decide allocation of cases.

11:24 – Prof Mustafa and Justice Krishna again asks the petitioner why the number 5 and why not 7 or 3 (as happens in HC) to decide the allocation of cases.

11:26 – The petitioner responds to that saying- giving power to only the CJI becomes arbitrary and so giving it to 5 Judges minimises arbitrariness.

11:27 – The Judges grant extension upon the request of the petitioner

11:27 – The petitioner begins his third submission

11:28 – Justice Krishna asks the petitioner if fee capping should be done through administrative or judicial action

11:31 – Justice Krishna again questions why only lawyers fees should be capped. Why not doctors or engineers?

11:33 – The petitioner responds that by saying lawyers’ service is essential service and exorbitant fee is a hurdle in access to justice and is violative of article 21.

11:33 – Justice Krishna interrupts the petitioner why asking why the services of engineers and doctors don’t come under essential services

11:34 – The Petitioner responds that lawyers form an integral part of our justice system and therefore his submission that only lawyers fees should be capped is not arbitrary.

11:35 – He further submits that the SC should involve article 142 and cap the fees of lawyers

11:36 – Speaker 2 begins but is interrupted and asked to wait by the bench as Justice krishna loses connection.

11:37 – Dr. Sondhi asks the petitioner if he should address the judges on the bench as lordships.

11:39 – Justice Krishna joins back

11:40 – The speaker 2 will address 4th and 5th submission

11:40 – The submission is wrt Article 14. 

11:44- Professor Mustafa asks whether we read the fundamental rights in silence or together, and whether article 14 is available to only citizens or to ‘every person’.

11:47 – Justice Krishna asks the petitioner whether the Right to work comes from the Right to life.

11:48 – The Petitioner responds by saying rights available only to citizens can’t be stretched to non citizens as per Judgments of the SC.

11:50 – Justice Krishna asks how to differentiate between two rights both coming from the Right to Life.

11:51- Professor Mustafa asks whether the counsel should rely on the empirical data that were part of a precedent case which the counsel uses as an authority. 

11:54 – Professor Mustafa asks if the speaker wants all Fundamental Rights should be confined to only citizens and if that happens, all the benefits (such as ex post facto law, double jeopardy etc.) would affect only the citizens.

11:56 – Justice Krishna asks if the distinction of citizens and non citizens in the application of Fundamental Rights is itself violative of the Constitution.

12:02- the counsel for petitioner concludes that CAA is arbitrary and doesn’t qualify the ‘intelligible differentia’ and hence violative of art 14 of the constitution. 

12:05 – The respondents begin their submissions

12:05 – The speaker 1 on behalf of respondents would address issues 1 and 2

12:10 – The counsel argues on the preferred appointment of the judge, who has heard and adjudicated the matter, to the larger bench.

12:13 – Professor Mustafa asks the respondent how he will differentiate between judge expressing opinion in public and recusal and judge expressing judicial and recusal wrt Justice Scalia’s recusal.

12:15 – Professor Mustafa again asks the respondent speaker to differentiate his stand from petitioner’s. The bench seemed to be not clear on respondent’s argument.

12:17 – Dr Sondhi asks the respondent if a reference order will be cited as a precedent.

12:18 – The respondent speaker concludes by claiming that a judge can participate but should not be mandated to participate.

12: 20 – The respondent speaker justifies CJI allocating matters by pointing out the difference between language of the provisions related to allocation and appointment.

12:23 – Justice Krishna asks the respondent speaker about his take on the unprecedented press conference of SC judges.

12:25 – Professor Mustafa again asks when the CJI is acting in administrative capacity shouldn’t the entire jurisprudence of administrative law be applied.

12:26 – The respondent 2 sought extension of 2 min and the bench granted it.

12:26- The counsel argues that the unregulated fees of lawyers does not violate art 21 and access to justice. There are ample legal services mandated to provide legal aid by BCI and Lawyer’s associations.

12:27- Dr. Sondhi asks the respondent if the accepted parties (Bat council and S. Association) are parties to the case and why has the counsel not pleaded non-joinder or whether the present case is a Public Interest Litigation.

12:31 – Speaker 2 on behalf of the respondents begins his submissions by claiming that the present amendment (CAA) does not violate the basic structure of the constitution.

12:36 – Dr. Sondhi asks the respondent which provision of the Constitution would he trace MGNREGA to and whether it’s citizen centred.

12:39 – The respondent now moves on to his second submission – constitutionality of the CAA.

12:40 – The counsel argues that the parliament has the exclusive power to make and amend any law pertaining to citizenship.

12:42 – Justice Krishna asks if the parliament by virtue of this power can make a law saying citizenship is available only to men and not women and so if the parliament has unbridled power? 

12:42 – Professor Mustafa asks the respondent about India’s stance on the international covenants on nationality.

12:43- The speaker for the respondents responds by invoking the concept of self determination.

12:44 – Professor Mustafa retorts that that the concept can’t be applicable in the present case.

12:45 – Justice Krishna draws an analogy between religion and skin colour and asks the opinion of the respondent on that.

12:47 – The speaker on behalf of the respondents distinguishes srilankan Tamils from Hindus in muslim states in that first is enthic persecution and the second religious persecution.

12: 50 – Professor Mustafa asks the speaker if religious persecution is the basis of the act why it isn’t  mentioned and defined in the text of the act.

12:53 – The counsel makes reference to their memorial and argues that the cut off date is within the powers of the legislature and executive and the courts shall not generally interfere. Had the executive not decided a certain date, there would have been an influx of migrants.

12:54 – Professor Mustafa asks if religious persecution is the basis of law then why certain areas through which migrants enter the country are excluded when religious persecution remains the same.

12:55 – Speaker 2 for petitioner- rebutts on behalf of the petitioners.

12:57 – Speaker 1 and Speaker 2 surrebutts on behalf of the respondents. 

1:00 – The final round is concluded.


The results announced are as follows

  • Winners  – T24 – RGNUL, Patiala
  • Runners Up – T51 – NLU, Delhi
  • Best Oralist – T08 – Speaker 2 (K. Hema) (USLLS – University School of Law and Legal Studies)
  • Best Oralist Runner’s up – T18 Speaker 1 (Krisha Bhimani)(Nirma Law College, Ahmedabad) and T46 Speaker 2 (Jino Mathews Raju) (NUALS, Kochi)
  • Best Memorial – T-05 – NLUO, Cuttack
  • Best Researcher –  Harsh Gupta T-25 Symbiosis Noida

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