Mr. Abhinav Raghuvanshi is the managing partner at Legal Intellizence. He is an Advocate-on-record in the Supreme Court of India. He’s serving as the Senior Counsel for Govt. Of India in Delhi High Court and he is also the counsel representing State of U.P. in Supreme Court of India. He also represents Delhi Development Authority, Punjab National Bank and Union of India in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court respectively.
He has been interviewed by Priyanshi Singh, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from Banaras Hindu University.
- Please share with our readers something about yourself and your journey in the profession.
Infact, my current profession being a litigation lawyer is my second avatar as a professional as I started my career as a Scientist/Assistant Professor of Physics at Delhi University and I still consider myself to be a scientist by training and education but a Lawyer by profession. I am a first generation lawyer with no direct or indirect background in Law till I completed my LL.B. My real life experiences rather confrontation with Law and Law enforcement agencies and my quest for the justice to the common masses motivated me to make my career in Law. During my stint as Professor of Physics, I was quite captivated by the working of certain enforcement agencies. I can say that my real life experiences with Courts and confrontations with law and law enforcement agencies and my quest for justice to the common masses motivated me to take career into law. Post my LL.B, I was shortly associated with the office of ASG, Government of India and AAG for the Xtate of Rajasthan at Supreme Court, and thereafter, I started my own independent practice in the year 2012.
My cordial associations and relationships with my seniors at Supreme Court and other Courts helped me to a lot in learning and developing the idea of litigation in a short span of time.
- It is a popular view that litigation throws numerous challenges in the initial stages; can you share your insights and experiences regarding the same.
So, if I have to go by the phrasing of the question, you have used the term ‘popular view’. The term popular view itself, in my opinion, connotes a broader generalizations based on generic data, and as such broad generalizations are meant for masses and not for classes. It is true indeed that litigation throws numerous challenges in the initial stages, but not in the nature of it being unique or special or very unpredictable. Litigation being one of the traditional branches of law has its own set of pros and cons, challenges and rewards, which have been there now, for the ages and if one were to analyze the bottle necks or the constraints in the field of litigation, one can clearly get atleast an idea or picture of the road map which would help one to surmount those barriers or the challenges so as to make a successful career in Litigation.
Devotion, perseverance and consistency along with right approach will make one sail through it. Ultimately, it is one’s own hard work and patience that pays. Keep on learning each day. Even as an established advocate, I still thrive to learn each day.
- Sir, since your humble profession quite frequently allows you to deal with white collar job clients, what lessons can be learnt from ABG Shipyard fraud scam, claimed to be India’s biggest bank fraud?
In my career spanning over 12+ years, I have dealt with variety of matters involving Corporate Frauds, Wilful Default, Money Laundering, Tax Evasion and other forms of financial bungling leading to serious fraud and scams. Frauds and Scams at such scale do effect the economy of the country directly and also the common masses indirectly, because ultimately it is the public money with which these Corporates play. In the recent past, there has been expert of such Banking frauds starting from the case of Satyam Computers till the recent one as ABG Shipyards. However, the modus operandi in all these case remains essentially the same. In my opinion, such frauds and scams basically stems out of corruption imbibed in our financial and administrative system and also from the loopholes that exist in our law and law enforcement. There are regulatory loopholes and legal loopholes, and ultimately these people using those loopholes and using the corrupt practices, which is prevalent in our system, manipulate not only their financial statements but also tweak with the set rules and protocols and affect such crime.
- What are your views on the concept “exhaustion of a search”?
The term “exhaustion of the search” broadly refers to situation, wherein one reaches that point while researching on a law point, which clarifies settled position of law, on the given issue or law point. Therefore, it is quite frequently suggested that while researching on particular law point for any other legal issue, one must go further and further higher up to ascertain as to whether the said law point have been subsequently set aside or upheld by Court of appeals or not. We need to ensure that the citation or an order which we are referring, has not been set aside by the superior courts. Nowadays there are a gamut of softwares and research tools available in the market including SCC Online, which helps us in doing our legal research efficiently and effectively and we should be smart enough to use those features.
- What lessons you have learnt in the transition from practising as a legal associate under Additional Solicitor General to establishing yourself in independent practice in the noble profession?
Here, I would like to mention three things that I have learnt in the process. Firstly, during the initial phase of your career, give most of your time in learning the methodology of doing things, like how are the things being done. Understand the ecosystem in which we work. Learn and understand what is the ecosystem of the District Courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court. Nobody can learn that ecosystem in such a short span of time. You need to understand what is registry, what is court master, what is cause list, what is the interplay of various officers in the court, what is the roster, how is filing done in registry, what is the defect curing technique, what is criteria for listing and how are matters listed and more. People think that every day when a case is listed, it is listed for the argument. No, it is not true. On a given day, a matter may be listed only for limited purpose of notice or for limited purpose of arguments or for a limited purpose of compliance. Therefore we need to understand as to what is required for us to learn during formative years and than learn them effectively.
Secondly, as a law student or young lawyer, you should try to learn things other than the law itself. You need to read and understand polity, history, sociology, economics and finance and in theoretical sense but the news part or the part of it actively influencing day to day life. You need to read news, you need to reach technology. You need to reach several other things and the core law during these formative years.
Thirdly, as a law professional, your connections and relations with people from several walks of life help you in securing cases and to effectively tackle it. Thus you need to forge and curate your relationships and connections with outmost sincerity and caution during these formative years. Even today, I seek guidance and help from my seniors and my cordial relations with them have helped me a lot in advancement of my career.
- How do you think that the pandemic has affected the working of law and what challenges are, currently, being faced by the judiciary?
It is now a widely accepted position now that the pandemic has affected every aspect of our life and in the process, it has significantly changed the way we communicated or stored data in the past. It has also changed the communication protocol. Dispensing of justice through the Court machinery, involves fairly large amount of physical interaction and there cannot be, in my opinion, a permanent substitute for a physical system. However, technology has provided us with effective tools which can be used to reduce the burden of courts and amount of physical interactions to quite a large extent. We still need to make large investment into creating the digital infrastructure for judiciary. It is also important to bring about change in the mindset of people to accept and adapt to transformation being brought by the Technology.
- What is your take on COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers?
Getting Patent Waivers would legally allow any company with the required capacity, to start manufacturing any vaccine or any technological product even without having any agreement or license from the state and owner or the original developer of the technical product. So, getting patents waivers would technically mean that any person who is having basic essentials, can start manufacturing the drugs/medicines without having license or permission from the developer.
I see that in present scenario, every country should have right to make their own vaccine, and the need for such accessible and affordable health care was never felt more crucial than after the onset of the COVID-19. India along with the South Africa where the two countries which took this initiative with the W.H.O. with the ultimate goal to reduce the TRIPS barrier to the countries which wanted to produce their own vaccine/ drugs. Therefore, I’ll rather strongly recommend that there should be a patent waiver for all kind of essential drugs, including these COVID-19 drugs so that larger masses benefit out of such provisions in India and in the other part of the world. Let me tell you that there is already a provision called ‘compulsory licensing’ in patent laws of India and compulsory licensing is actually a key to take care of this situation right now.
- What advice would you like to give students of law in a post-COVID era where students are anxious about choosing career paths?
Rather than advising, I shall prefer to share my experience which itself comprises of experiences of my several associates. I can just say that litigation is not just about researching or presenting arguments before the Courts. There is some basic homework which as lawyer you do before arguing your case or presenting your case in the Court on a given date. Now those requisite skills cannot be learnt in the law school but only during your exposure with the Court Eco-system. Moot courts can definitely hone your researching and arguing skills but devoted internships and association as Junior advocate with right mentor/ senior associate and your personal capacity to grasp things by observing and studying can help you take large strides. Mastering your drafting skills, client handling skills, communication skills and system management, makes you a wholesome lawyer. We, as established advocates always look up for competent juniors with good skills and traits. Learning law in the law school and its application in the real life court scenario with efficiency and effectiveness can help you become excellent litigation advocates of tomorrow. Learning the process and procedure is the key.
- Any advice you would like to give to the readers of SCC blog? Apart from this is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers of SCC Online?
You see, Law journals including digital publications are constant companion and robust tools in the professional journey of any lawyer. SCC Online and SCC blog have been my legal arsenal since start of my career and helped me in a significant way in the journey so far. I would like to convey to all the readers and young generation lawyers to read and refer to blogs and publications by SCC online to carve a niche for yourself as lawyers and let it become your habit to read them on regular basis. Traditional books systems so far have no substitute yet these publications and courses will add a great deal in developing your legal understanding and application of law. These are the most effective tools to hone your skills and rather this is a gateway that connects the campus to the course.