Welcome to the 4th Gurjeet Singh Memorial National Law Moot Court Competition, 2023 organized by National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam!
About the Competition –
The Gurjeet Singh Singh Memorial Moot Court Competition has been organized by the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam, in memory of their beloved Founder- Vice Chancellor, Late Prof (Dr.) Gurjeet Singh who left for his heavenly abode on the 1st of April 2017, out of indebtedness for his contribution and to symbolically immortalize his legacy in the annals of National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam.
This year, the moot problem revolves around constitutional law and its allied aspects. It has been drafted keeping in mind the challenge of maintaining a harmonious relation between both consumers and service providers in the realm of advertising. The moot problem raises questions on the limits of the power of the Telecom Authority in regulating the Telecom service providers in advertising.
The moot problem for this edition has been drafted by Rahul Unnikrishnan and Gayatri T, both Advocates at the Madras High Court.
The following teams registered and will be competing for the Winners Position:
- Assam University
- Bharath Institute of Law (BIHER)
- Central University of South Bihar
- Department of Laws, Panjab University
- B. R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat
- Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
- Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia
- Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla
- ILS, Pune
- Indian Institute of Legal Studies
- Integral University, Lucknow
- JSS College, Mysore
- Jyoti University of North Bengal, Siliguri
- LCIT College of Commerce and Science, Bilaspur
- Lloyd Law College
- Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai
- Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur
- Mahindra University School of Law
- National Law University, Delhi
- National Law University, Odisha
- NEF Law College
- NERIM, Guwahati
- NMIMS, Mumbai
- Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
- Ramaiah College of Law, Bangalore
- SASTRA Deemed University
- Satyam Jain Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow
- Saxena DES Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College
- SOA Institute of Law Campus
- SOEL, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University
- SRM University, Delhi
- Joseph’s College of Law
- Symbiosis Law School, Pune
- Symbiosis Law School. Nagpur
- Tripura Government Law College
- University Law College, Gauhati University
- University of Mumbai Law Academy
- UPES, Dehradun
- USTM, Meghalaya
- VIPS, Delhi
DAY 1 (May 26) –
Inaugural Ceremony –
10:30AM- The arrival of the dignitaries marked the commencement of the inauguration ceremony, which started with a ceremonial lighting of the lamp, followed by a felicitation of the chief guest by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) V. K Ahuja. This was then followed by a welcome speech by the Vice Chancellor. He spoke about the humble beginnings of legal education in the country, and the origins of the GSM National Moot Court. He further spoke about the qualities of good lawyers, which include but are not limited to the quality of saying what is necessary and the importance of good drafting. He further gave a brief introduction of the Hon’ble Chief Guest and concluded the talk with encouragement for the upcoming days, which are sure to be tough.
10:52AM- The Chief Guest of the Ceremony, Honorable Retd. Justice B.P. Katakey, addressed the gathering, by telling the gathering about his personal journey with law, and the challenges that existed in his time. He further spoke about the importance of mooting, given the large variety of career options that are available to students after graduating. He further illuminated the current scenario of lawyers in the nation and spoke to the need of distinguishing oneself from the crowd. He further gave encouragement to all those who have come to participate in the competition and wished them a pleasant stay in Assam.
11:12AM- Devanshi Srivastava, the Moot Court Committee Convener, gave an illuminating speech about the history of the competition and the questions at hand.
11:15AM – To display Assam’s rich cultural heritage, a folk dance was performed by the students at the university. The essence of Assam was conveyed to the participants with the performance.
2:30PM – Initiation of the researchers test after lunch.
6:00PM – The drawing of lots took place along with the exchange of memorials.
And so, comes to an end, the very first day of the 4th Gurjeet Singh Memorial National Moot Court Competition. The anticipation for when the teams bare their fangs is palpable and we look forward to tomorrow when the event starts in earnest.
DAY 2 (May 27) –
10:00AM – The briefing of the judges took place, and they were explained the Moot Proposition in detail.
11:00AM – The 1st Preliminary Rounds started across 19 Courtrooms.
Preliminary Round 1 –
Court Room 1: In CR 1, RGNUL, Patiala was the Petitioner against Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia as the Respondent. The petitioners first argued maintainability before the Bench, followed by the arguments for the violation of fundamental rights. The co-counsel faltered to satisfy the bench when pressed, and the Researcher’s help came a little late. The respondents got off a rocky start as they failed to answer several key questions and overshot their time limit. However, they went on to recover and put forth their strong contentions.
Court Room 2: In CR 2, the team from NERIM was up against the team from SOA Institute of Law Campus 4. The petitioners argued the constitutionality of Regulation 9 of Telecom Broadcasting Regulations, 2009 and the limitations of territorial jurisdiction of High Courts in the country. The co-counsel finds it hard to bear the heat of the questions posed by the Bench on the conflict between the revenue and customer service which the agency faces and how to strike a balance between the two. The Respondent carefully navigates through the bunch of questions laid by the Bench before him about the SLP, the ground under which restrictions are put, and asking him to justify how the restrictions are not violative of Article 19 of the Constitution.
Court Room 3: In CR 3, HPNLU, Shimla were the Petitioners against Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur as the Respondents. Petitioners begin with the facts, and then fails to identify the specific Article 19 violations alleged. The co-counsel argues for the application of the Naz Foundation case, and the positive jurisdiction of High Courts. The respondent begins with an ardent appeal for the reasonableness of the restrictions. The co-counsel confidently tackles intense grilling from the Bench, including queries relating to Article 132 of the Constitution.
Court Room 4: In CR 4, Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow were the petitioners against Mahindra University School of Law as the respondents. The petitioners relied on a host of case law to support their contentions, and were able to answer the questions posed to them. The respondents seemed unsure of their arguments at first, but quickly picked up their face. The rebuttals were hotly debated.
Court Room 5: In CR 5, JSS Law College, Mysore was up against the team from DES Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune. The petitioners argued that advertisements are a source of information and that the rights to freedom of speech and livelihood have been infringed, with further reference to Section 19 of the Cable Television Revolution Act. The respondents led with the Court’s jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. Both sides handled all questions posed gracefully and proceeded to rebuttals.
Court Room 6: In CR 6, St. Joseph’s College of Law was the Petitioner against Tripura Government Law College as the Respondent. The petitioners based their arguments on constitutional fronts, namely Articles 19, 21 and 14. Judges question the counsel based on the absolute right of Article 19 pertaining to the inclusion of the broadcasting services. The Petitioners were meticulously questioned regarding the enactment of the act passed by the Centre and its powers to delegate alteration powers to other authorities. With the respondents taking the dais, the counsel argued on the constitutionally of the orders at a stretch; the respondents based their arguments on the unequal distribution of resources in different states. During the rebuttals, both the sides effectively answered the allegations.
Court Room 7: In CR 7, Department of Laws, Panjab University was the Petitioner against Ramaiah College of Law, Bangalore as the Respondent. As the Petitioners took to the dais, the judges questioned the petitioner’s interpretation of reasonable classification and its relation to Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The Respondent side began with their arguments based on the standards of reasonableness and the Doctrine of Proportionality. The judges questioned the reasoning behind the rationale behind the preventions advertisements that generate massive revenues for the companies and the government alike.
Court Room 8: In CR 8, NEF Law College was the Petitioner against University of Mumbai Law Academy as the Respondent. The Petitioner’s arguments began based on the Right to dignity, Freedom of Speech and Expression under Articles 19, 20 and 21. As the counsel mentions the case of LIC v. Manubhai D. Shah to strengthen his argument, the judges question the Petitioners about the grounds of restriction under Article 19(2), to which the counsel states about the security and sovereignty of the state and says that there are no other grounds when further asked. As the Respondents take to the dais, their arguments emphasize on Article 32, and grounds of restriction in Art. 19(2). Their arguments were also based on the view of the general public in putting the restrictions, and that Article 19 cannot be invoked by the petitioner as it protects natural persons and no legal persons.
Court Room 9: In CR 9, USTM was the Petitioner against NMIMS, Mumbai as the Respondent. The Petitioner’s begin their arguments which are based on the intersection of trade and commerce. The respondents then go on to reply and contradict the contentions of the petitioners. After the prayers have been heard from both sides, heated rebuttals commence.
1:00PM – The 2nd Preliminary Rounds commence.
Preliminary Round 2 –
Court Room 1: In CR 1, VIPS, Delhi was the Petitioner against NLU, Delhi as the Respondent. After familiarizing the bench with the facts of the case, the Petitioners began their arguments emphasizing on free speech being connected to the restrictions on televised advertisements. The Petitioners being questioned on the relevancy of a judgement related to print media to the present case which is regarding digital media, answered it to the best of their abilities. The Respondents then take to the dais with their arguments basing on the economic welfare aspect of the present case, furthering onto the concept of jurisdiction of courts. Soon after, rebuttals begun.
Court Room 2: In CR 2, the team from Lloyd Law College was up against the team from LCIT College of Commerce and Science, Bilaspur. The petitioners were able to withstand a lot of the heated questions put to them by the Bench. When asked about the authority of regulation of time, the petitioner could not give a very satisfactory answer. As the counsel of the respondent side approaches the dais he is welcomed by the judges with the question of jurisdiction, which he could not answer. The counsel seems not very well versed with the facts of the case but tries to answer the questions. The co-counsel goes on to contradict her own arguments when asked further questions.
Court Room 3: In CR 3, RMLNLU, Lucknow were the Petitioners against MNLU, Mumbai as the Respondents. The petitioner counsel cites a series of judgements with the help of appropriate tests that defends their contentions. The co-counsel further argues on the point of stare decisis and substantiated the importance of it in present context. The respondent counsel meticulously answered the questions regarding the line of reasoning of keeping a set timing for advertisements. The question of a High Court’s decision being binding on the entire territory was argued by the co-counsel. The federal structure of the nation was highlighted as a reason, and it was well handled by the counsel.
Court Room 11: In CR 11, UPES, Dehradun was the Petitioner against USTM as the Respondent. The counsel began with his arguments in a well-structured format; however, the arguments slowly reached a point wherein the foundation of the defence faltered. The petitioner co-counsel hit a rock bottom towards the end of the arguments and was not able to maintain the same level of structure that he started with at the beginning. The entire set of arguments by the respondent counsel had a series of very well framed set of sections and articles which were put to proper use.
Court Room 13: In CR 13, NMIMS, Mumbai was the Petitioner against SRM, Delhi as the Respondent. the Petitioners began by discussing Article 19(1) (a) and its relevance to the case. Further, the Petitioner delved into the concept of public interest, proceeding to discuss the Wednesbury test and the proportionality test. As the Respondents took to the dais, their arguments rested on the maintainability of the petition, spreading onto Article 19. Thereafter, tumultuous questioning and rebuttals began.
Court Room 17: In CR 17, SASTRA Deemed University was the Petitioner against Indian Institute of Legal Studies as the Respondent. The Petitioners substantiated their arguments based on how it is violative of Article 14, 19(1)(a) and (g), furthering on to the right of the agency to conduct trade and earn revenue thereof and how this regulation violated the same. Taking over the dais, the Respondents substantiating their arguments maintain that Regulation 9 of Telecom Broadcasting Regulations, 2009 is not violative of the constitution and shows that it stands the test of constitutionality. After the prayers have been heard from both sides, heated rebuttals commence.
3:00PM – The last Preliminary Rounds end across all Courtrooms.
Quarter Finals –
4:30PM – The quarter finalists of the 4th edition of GSM NMCC are:
- Central University of South Bihar
- Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow
- Kirit P. Mehta, NMIMS Mumbai
- Lloyd Law College
- MNLU, Mumbai
- MNLU, Nagpur
- NLU, Delhi
- Joseph’s College of Law
4:40PM: The draw of lots is taking place.
4:45PM: The fixtures for the Quarter Finals are as follows: (P v. R)
CR 1 – Central University of South Bihar v. MNLU, Nagpur
CR 2 – Kirit P. Mehta, NMIMS Mumbai v. Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow
CR 3 – Lloyd Law College v. MNLU, Mumbai
CR 4 – St. Joseph’s College of Law v. NLU, Delhi
5:30 PM: The Quarter Finals commenced.
Court Room 1: The petitioners in this CR did not need to argue maintainability of their petition, as the Bench intervened and upheld the same. The Bench questioned the validity of the case, claiming that the right the petitioners claimed is not outlined in the case. The counsel tries to justify the benefits of advertisement to viewers of news channels, but the Bench points out the fallacies in their reasoning. In the middle of the next issue raised, the judge questioned the Article under which the counsel sought a right; the counsel, at a loss for words proceeded to justify their stance using international treaties, which upon being questioned, the counsel admitted were not binding and only served persuading power, to which the judge claimed inefficacy. The co-counsel started off on the wrong foot by arguing with flawed case laws and addressing the bench with a casual vocabulary at several instances, for which they were reprimanded by the bench. The respondents began their argument claiming that the issue is not maintainable since the corporation is not a citizen of India, but the Bench dismissed that argument and allowed for its maintainability. The counsel claimed that the broadcasting agency should not gain an ‘extraordinary advantage’, however the Bench dissented that there will be none, since the law applies to all companies. The counsel brings up several case laws to back up their arguments but fail to provide the exact statements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, as well as fails to give the name or citation of the judgements. The Bench continued to riddle holes in the arguments of the respondent and the co-counsel pled ignorance to several queries. The rebuttals and sur-rebuttals were short and mostly contained a summary of the arguments or comments of the judges from the proceedings themselves, and thus failed to have an impact.
Court Room 2: The petitioners in CR 2 begin by arguing that restricting advertisements would impact the revenue and subsequently affect the quality of content produced by the petitioner. The Bench presents a hypothetical scenario suggesting that an absence of time limits on advertisements would lead to chaos, to which the counsel responds by asserting that a normal or reasonable person would not be overwhelmed by unlimited advertisements. The counsel brings up the right to freedom of speech and expression as a basis for their argument, citing the Hamdard Dava Khana case, drawing parallels to the present situation. The co-counsel is asked whether a judgment given by a High Court is binding nationwide. The counsel provides a well-reasoned response, citing the Kusum Ingots case and referring to the judgment of the High Court, the counsel supports his argument. Moving on, the counsel discusses the validity of Regulation 9 and questions its compatibility with Article 19 and Article 226. The respondents are posed a question at the outset regarding why the respondent issued an arbitrary and whimsical notification. In response, the counsel argues that the regulation is not arbitrary, as broadcasting channels with visual and reading appeal are more likely to captivate the audience and therefore should be subject to some form of regulation. They further argue that this step is taken for the welfare of citizens to ensure an optimal viewing experience. The co-counsel responds to the argument made by the opposing counsel by stating that the European Union has different time limits on advertisements, implying that regulations can vary in different jurisdictions. He further argues that a judgment of a High Court does not have binding value on other High Courts but holds persuasive value while supporting their statement with a relevant case. Both sides argue their stances adroitly and finish with the rebuttals.
Court Room 3: In CR 3, St. Joseph’s College of Law was the Petitioner against NLU, Delhi as the Respondent. After familiarizing the bench with the facts of the case, the Petitioners elucidated their arguments which were based on the constitutionality of Regulation 9 of Telecom Broadcasting Regulations, 2009 and the Directive No.1 of 2023, and that the regulation is violative of Article 19(1)(a), (g) and Article 14. The Petitioners, moving on to the preceding issues, substantiate on the right of the agency to conduct trade and earn revenue thereof and how this regulation violates the same. Taking over the dais, the Respondents began with their set of arguments dealing with the jurisdiction of high court and tried to substantiate the same on two grounds i.e., Article 226 and a judgement does not hold a blanket implementation unless the Supreme Court says so. After tumultuous questioning and a round of rebuttals, the quarter final round comes to an end.
Court Room 4: In CR 4, Lloyd Law College was the Petitioner against MNLU, Mumbai as the Respondent. Following a brief overview of the facts of the case, the Petitioners began their set of arguments which emphasized on the fact that the presence of the restrictions was reasonable, and it is the duty of the broadcaster to look after the interest of the public and that the interest of the broadcasters is not met in the regulation 9 itself. The Petitioners substantiated their arguments basing on that Athena works for the development of the rural population as well so their concern with revenues that work hand in hand with the advertisements should be considered. As the Respondents took to dais, citing the case laws of the Hamdard Dawakhana v. Union of India, they persist to stand their ground of contention that public order and public interest should go hand in hand. Covering Article 227, the Respondents furthered a wider base to their point of contention. The rebuttals from both the sides ended on a tumultuous and vociferous note wherein the counsels for both the petitioner and the respondent were able to put out their point of contentions and provide the esteemed bench with suitable reasons for the same.
8:15PM: The Quarter Finals conclude across all Courtrooms. Results declared.
The following teams have qualified for the Semi-Final Rounds:
- Joseph’s College of Law
- MNLU, Mumbai
- MNLU, Nagpur
- Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow