Interviews

   

Mr Amit Lubhaya Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Rajasthan High Court and Alumni of 2010 Batch, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru

He has been interviewed by Akshay Luthra, Student Ambassador EBC/SCC Online who is pursuing law from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.

1. You have had a very interesting career as per my research, so would you like to take us through your thought process of your career and how you ended up taking law?

Choosing law as a career did not come naturally to me during my school days because I did not have anyone in the family who was practising law at that time and I did not have much knowledge about the legal system and the field of law per se. However, the credibility and growing popularity of 5-year law colleges and the profession enticed me to take my chances and write the exams for National Law Schools and I landed in NLSIU, Bangalore.

It was my college where I actually got introduced to the entire atmosphere of law through my teachers, mentors and seniors. Thereafter, the most important step that I think was my internships. One particular case I remember is the much-publicised Nitish Katara Murder case, during my internship with Mr P.K. Dey, Advocate in the Patiala House Court, New Delhi. I was fortunate enough to have joined the chambers at that point of time and I got the opportunity to work directly on the case and brief the legendary Mr Ram Jethmalani. So, that was the first time when I was actually intrigued by how minor and small details can make difference in cases of this magnitude. I think that would be my first instance, which I can remember, made me fall in love with the field of litigation and law in general. Finally, as my college continued and I participated in debates and moot courts, I increasingly developed an interest in litigation as a career and that is the reason, I am giving this interview today.

2. You are an independent counsel. How does that feel? You have no time for your social life. I want to know your thoughts regarding this.

It is all about balancing things. The courts have a sufficient number of holidays and on those days, we might have arbitrations or other conferences planned but despite that I plan things accordingly. There is a famous saying that “only busy people have time”. You must plan your things. And regarding the social life aspect, I am sure you have heard that lawyers might be the busiest, but they also party the hardest.

I believe any profession takes some amount of toll on your social life and perhaps for young freshers, who are just getting out of college, it might be a drastic change in their social life, but that is the kind of adjustment, I believe one must make to progress in their careers. It is more of a transformation into professional life from your college life as opposed to being in law but certainly I believe that with a good amount of planning you can manage both equally.

3. People assume that lawyers are money makers, and we can do any sort of work when it comes to money. So, how lucrative can the career of law be, and do lawyers really give up on their belief systems when they are highly paid?

I will take this question in two parts. First part is about money making and the other about the belief system. Certainly, in terms of money making, I would say that law is a very lucrative career, especially now, with this entire start-up boom coming in the country, the businesses becoming more global and with the advent of the internet, international companies are entering India like never before. So, the opportunities are endless in this particular field. And then there are so many different branches of law you can excel at. Therefore, in terms of money making, law at this point of time is more lucrative than it has ever been. There are a lot of avenues, you just need to explore the right segment.

Now coming to the second part of the question, about the belief system in money making. I do not think that it is necessary to forgo your belief system to make money in this profession. As one grows in this profession, there will certainly be instances where you might have to take a call or might have a conflict with your own belief system, but the authority which comes with this profession gives you complete freedom to communicate your beliefs to the client and/or not accept the work which is unsuitable to your morals in the profession. So, those are just small hurdles in the profession, but the money making comes after the entire journey. I do not think you have to give up on your belief system to be able to make money in this profession.

Also, for a litigating lawyer, one very important thing that forms a part of the professional ethics is that “being an advocate one cannot be the judge of the cause, as that is the responsibility of the court and the role of the advocate is to represent his client to the best of his ability.” So as a litigating lawyer, your responsibility is to represent your client to the best extent possible and if you are letting your belief system come into that then in some way you are being a judge of your own cause, which is the very foundation of our professional ethics. So, I believe the professional ethics also help an advocate in making his decision when in moral dilemma.

4. Do you think that being from a prominent law school guarantees one becoming a great lawyer in the future?

My straightforward answer to that question is absolutely not. The college name may be of some assistance in initially getting into some law firms and renowned chambers, however, once you start working in the profession, success is squarely based on your work ethics and performance. In fact, I have never come across an instance when either a client or a Judge has asked me about the name of my college.

5. There are a lot of different kinds of struggles that students go through in law school and then in their professional careers, you must have had your fair share too. Would you like to share a few experiences and guide the students as to how to embrace the obstacles that one faces in each step of life?

Yes, of course, I have had my fair share of obstacles in professional life as well as college life, which is nothing unique and perhaps the case with every young advocate working in the nation. Basically, in college, the struggles were if you are doing some extra-curricular activities, for example, playing some sports, debating, or doing moot courts, you tend to get into trouble with the attendance requirements in the college.

Thereafter in the litigation profession, once you join a senior's chambers, many times the pay scale is not as good as the law firms. So that is the kind of struggle you face initially. Then, once you start your own practice, like in my case, you are starting from scratch. In a nascent litigation practice, one thing that constantly bothers young litigators is whether you will have continuous flow of cases in the future or not and even if one client is dropped, it creates a big dent on your source of income. So, all these struggles do happen all the time. The only thing that keeps you going will be your experiences in the profession which will be pleasant and good. This also applies to your college life as well. You might have your bad days in college, but you will always have good days and lasting memories as well, so those are the things which keep you going in that phase.

Once you get into the profession, you will only succeed if you like the profession and are fully dedicated towards the same. From a litigator point of view, there is absolutely no necessity to start your profession in litigation if you are not interested, as there are several other options available in the field of law itself. Ultimately, your love for the profession, your experience in the courtroom matters and the vastness or rather variety of topics you deal with in each case keeps you interested. You might have one bad day and then 5 good days and these are the things that will keep you going. So, it is a very practical experience on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, to be honest, there is no one mantra for it.

6. I am pretty sure there are students, who are planning to pursue an LLM from abroad and higher education after completing their LLB, so I would just ask how significant can it be to one's career in litigation, does it really help according to you?

I have not pursued LLM after my LLB. After I finished my law school, I decided to jump straight into practice. I really cannot say about the benefits of LLM because I myself have not done it. But coming to the implications of not doing an LLM in this field, in terms of litigation, I do not think it has impacted me, my career or the opportunities at all.

Also, if one starts their litigation practice immediately after completing their LLB, then it is even more difficult to leave a growing practice for one year to pursue an LLM. Therefore, at least on the basis of my experience, I think I have never felt the need for it and do not see myself doing it in the near future either.

7. So this is a question that the recent graduates might have, which is, while interviewing for corporates and in chambers of senior advocates, the candidates are often asked these questions as to what are your weaknesses and why should we hire you, mostly students often go blank or get stuck, so if you were a recruiter what kind of an answer would you expect from freshers and newly graduates that would lead to a positive result?

For the young graduates, there are three things which I look for as a recruiter. Firstly, their exposure in public speaking if they intend to have a career in litigation. One of my main focus is to see that the candidate does not get scared in front of a crowd of people or a group of people and this is also one of the reasons we do the interview process to see how confident the kid is. However, even if the interviewee is not confident at the initial stage, we look for the eagerness to learn and get over their fear of public speaking.

The second and very important thing is the child’s primary reason behind coming into the profession. We look for someone who wants to be in the profession for the long halt and not someone who gives an impression that this is just a stopgap arrangement. Therefore, it is essential that all the young graduates take up different internships in different fields during their college, to weigh the pros and cons of each field and ultimately, make an informed choice before entering into the profession after graduating.

Thirdly, the child or the person’s interest in the subject or the field of law they intend to practice. That is very important. My advice to the students would be to not go blank and just be honest in their interview. Do not try to cram up answers and be responsive and that is what is going to help you in the long run as well as in the short run.

To answer about the weakness aspect, be honest with the employer and with these kinds of questions, the interviewer wants to see your personality and ability to own up to your weakness along with the desire to overcome the same. A graduate or interviewee, who attempts to hide his weakness in the interview would not succeed in the long term, even if he or she gets employed initially because, eventually, it will show up in your work and that would create a worse impression in the mind of the employer. On the contrary, a graduate or interviewee who owns up to his weakness and shows the desire to overcome the same will be respected and appreciated much more in the long run.

A lot of people who come to me for an interview admit that they are scared of appearing before the Judge in a court for various reasons such as lack of confidence in English language or lack of experience in public speaking. Such an answer does not create a negative impression and in fact, shows that the person is aware of his/her limitations and willing to work on it.

However, it is vital to learn that along with stating your weakness, there should be willingness to work on them.

8. Today we have law students and aspiring law students from across India, so any final words of wisdom regarding life in general that you would like to share with the audience?

On the basis of my experience and from what I have learnt in this profession, the mantra is very simple and not something new. There is no substitute for hard work in this profession. Hard work is something that people must be ready to do in this profession and only then they will excel. I have said previously as well that law as a field is constantly developing and changing and there is a constant requirement of extensive study and research. This is not a profession where you can succeed by just relying on others or maybe being smart about your work. So, for all law students, I think, this would be the golden saying.

Interviews

   

Ms Adithi Koushik is an alumna of NLUO. She completed her Masters in International Law at the Graduate School of International and Development Studies, Geneva and was an exchange student at the UCLA School of Law. She has worked with the WTO. She consults on food, trade, fisheries subsidies negotiations and related policy research.

She has been interviewed by Toshika Soni, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is pursuing law from NLUO.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi, I am Adithi, an alumna of NLUO and the Graduate Institute, Geneva. I specialised in international economic laws with a focus on trade, investment and intellectual property laws. Having completed my studies in 2019, I am still exploring various options to figure out what I like best and if that can be turned into a rewarding career. Since graduating, I spent a year and a half at the WTO Secretariat, followed by a stint with the Philippine Permanent Mission to the WTO and later on with the South Centre, which is also an international organisation that aids developing countries' participation in the UN system through policy advisory work. This helped me gain well-rounded exposure to my field viewing the same issues from the perspective of various stakeholders.

2. Can you please tell us about your time at your undergraduate university — National Law University Odisha?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NLUO between 2012-2017. I was interested in a wide variety of activities and subjects, so I took every opportunity that came my way. I did not want to be idle in general, so be it debating, committee work, MUNs, ADR tournaments and one moot I think I gave everything a shot and was successful at most which was rewarding in and of itself. It did wonders for my confidence and also ticked the boxes on my resume in addition to forging long lasting friendships with the people I worked closely with.

3. How did you decide to approach ADR in law school? Are there any tips on mediation you would like to share with our readers?

NLUO was still at a nascent stage while I was there with the first batch yet to graduate, so my mentors were from NLSIU, Bangalore. One of them participated in client counselling tournaments and spoke highly of it, so when a local tournament took place in Bhubaneswar, I gave it a shot. I enjoyed it and we won so that got me looking into bigger ADR tournaments and other related competitions. This is how I met my next mentor who used to be the Convenor of the ADR Society at NLS, he coached us for upcoming tournaments and there was no looking back. The course itself, in NLUO, although enjoyable, was fairly theoretical. I took a clinical course on mediation during my masters on an exchange programme at UCLA. Here, the course was more extensive, taught by practitioners and very hands on with simulations in every class. It got me seriously considering mediation as a career option.

I reached out to a few established litigators in India who were honest in telling me that mediation in India worked differently from the US and was a viable option for some established practitioners and retired Judges but not for someone starting out and suggested I explore arbitration practices instead.

Mediation would have been my go-to option had I returned to California, but that was not the case. Nonetheless, the skills I picked up at reading situations, working out mutually acceptable and enduring outcomes did come handy in the international trade negotiations I followed later, especially in bilateral meetings.

4. Could you please elaborate on your choice of pursuing an MIL in international law from the Graduate School of International and Development Studies, Geneva? How was your time studying there?

I pursued a two-year MIL or MA in international law instead of their 10-month LLM course. I wanted to take my time getting used to the city, to study, learn the language, and go on an exchange programme as well. I find shorter LLMs to be a bit rushed and a good option for a mid-career professional looking to enter new markets or gain specialisation is a specific area. I was coming straight out of my undergraduate degree, with no work experience and the extra time would allow me to network, intern and secure a suitable job.

Academically, the Graduate Institute experience was unparalleled and very rigorous. I am extremely grateful to the institute for all the opportunities I received there.

5. How was your time as an exchange student at UCLA? Please tell us about the Masin Family Academic Excellence Award.

UCLA was a lovely experience and one I was more than sufficiently prepared for after the rigours of the institute in Geneva. I mostly took comparative law papers here and the Masin Family Gold Award was for the highest grades in these papers. I was not aware of this while pursuing the course, so it came as a surprise later on. More details on this are available here.

6. How was your experience working with the World Trade Organisation? Could you please highlight the application process?

WTO in a sense was a dream come true from the perspective of what I had studied, so I was very excited about my internship which went well and turned into a job offer. I started my role as a Junior Legal/Economic Affairs Officer in March 2020 as the pandemic hit, so I spent the entire tenure of my contract mostly working from home. It was challenging to transition into my role as I was replacing someone who was an economist by training and worked extensively with data without having ready access to my colleagues who were also navigating new modus operandi from home. Nonetheless, everyone I worked with there were very kind, professional and approachable. The organisation has a very positive and encouraging environment to start out in. My manager at WTO then suggested I may enjoy policy research or something more legalistic and put me in touch with my next employer at the Philippine Mission where the work was exhilarating.

Applying to the WTO: they open an internship roster twice a year for 6-month internships running from January to June and June to December for masters students. It works best when coupled with strong references or very closely matched work experience. So CTIL and CWS in India are good options. Most people working here were formerly interns or consultants. Short-term contracts ranging to a maximum of 11 months are a norm. Such contracts are renewed a few times but becoming a part of the permanent staff is a Herculean task with a good dose of luck involved as vacancies are few and far between, subject to a globally competitive exam and extensive interviewing after.

7. How did you decide to pursue policy research? Could you share some insights about the field?

I enjoy hands on work, with tangible impacts and a fast paced dynamic environment which I could find in the fisheries negotiations at WTO and also in agriculture for the months leading up to the ministerial conference which was scheduled to have been held in December last year. One needs to have built up a lot of experience and credibility to work as a policy advisor to various Governments. At my early career stage, I am qualified only to assist such senior diplomats or advisors in recording the proceedings at various negotiations, mapping various country positions on topics, preparing briefing documents, strategies and statements to be made at meetings.

It comes with its fair share of constraints though, especially because as an Indian I cannot join the civil services now and working for a foreign Government there is only so far one may go. Think tanks and advisory organisations is what I will be focusing on for most part.

8. Studying and working abroad is still daunting to the average law student. Could you please share some advice about how you figured your way internationally, in your career and beyond?

Yes, it is not an easy process, however, most people who have completed their education outside claim to have no regrets, so it is safe to assume it is generally rewarding. I had a lot of support, including close family in Geneva who recommended the Graduate Institute. My own parents keenly invested in my education and were very well prepared for this eventuality. I prepared for my masters from my first year in NLUO. Despite many internships, I never tried to get any work experience before leaving India, which in hindsight, would have been extremely beneficial.

Once in Geneva, I was very focused on being thorough with my subject material and finding a job. It helped me stay continuously employed until recently, when I married. I am now on a sabbatical while awaiting a visa sponsored by my spouse instead of my work place. This opens up a whole new horizon of possibilities where I can apply to the private sector, which I could not do on my previous diplomatic visa.

9. What do you think is the importance of legal research and using the right tools? How can law students equip themselves to become good researchers? Further, not many people are familiar with the concept “exhaustion of a search”. What are your views on it?

I think one needs to peruse through the matter available to the extent that you have credible sources to back your own argument and then explore if there are any major opposing views. These need to be looked into to see how they relate to your case and if you can plug any loopholes in advance or at least know your weaknesses. There is no time or need to go down a rabbit hole reading everything that crops up. Technology is changing the way we research and footnote matter now, so a good researcher would know all the go-to sources in their field and how best to use them, for example, SEO tricks that filter more accurately on Google Scholar.

More attention needs to be paid to developing some statistical skills for quantitative legal research and reporting. This is particularly important if one intends to publish primary research work. We do not do enough of that, especially in India where most papers are a compilation of information or literature review with some additional input or critique.

10. What goals do you hope to achieve in your career? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In general, I hope to be good at what I do, confident in myself, adequately compensated and satisfied with my future prospects. I do not see my career alone as be all and end all of my existence. It is after all a means to an end, nonetheless, since I would prioritise it as it does take up the biggest chunk of one's day. As for 10 years down the line, only time will tell. I am not in a place where things are set in stone for me.

Interviews

1. To begin with could you please give us a glimpse of your journey from being a law student to being an equity and name partner at ANM Global (heading the Media and Entertainment Practice).

I joined ILS Law College, Pune in the year 2005 which was ranked #1 law school in India back then, with the thought of becoming an environmental lawyer to support my mother with her NGO work. However, somewhere around my third year in law school, I developed interest in the subject of intellectual property laws which I pursued as a topic not just through optional courses in college but also through additional diplomas from NLSIU and WIPO as well internships in few prestigious IP law firms. Media and entertainment law as a specialised subject or field was not known to us then and I had honestly not explored much about the subject in my law school days other than its relevance in copyright and constitutional matters. In 2010, I joined Naik Naik & Co. through campus placements and worked with them for around eight years, where I had the opportunity to learn the intricacies and application of media and entertainment laws. In August 2018, I decided it was time to take up new challenges and joined ANM Global as a partner to head its media and entertainment practice and grow the vertical. The experience and journey has been nothing short of wonderful and each day is a new learning curve. ANM Global provided me the opportunity to build and scale up the media practice and I am thankful to my managing partner, Mr Nidhish Mehrotra for his constant trust and support. With the support of my entire media team who have consistently striven to the growth of the practice, ANM Global is now recognised as one of the leading media and entertainment law firms in India.

2. There has in the last couple of years been a surge in law graduates wanting to pursue a career in media and entertainment law. When and why did you choose such a specific niche from the early start of your career?

Media and entertainment laws as a specialised field has gained traction in the last few years due to the ever-evolving OTT and digital space and the corporatisation and institutionalisation of the media and entertainment industry. During my law school days there was not enough awareness about media and entertainment laws as a specialised subject as it exists today. Copyright was one of my favourite subjects and while I had not planned to become a media and entertainment lawyer, I certainly wanted to pursue a career which was focused on IP laws, particularly copyright. Media and entertainment laws is one of those sectors where on ground experience teaches more than what one learns in theory. It was only once I started working in my first workplace that the practical aspects and intricacies of the subject became known to me. Interestingly in the year 2010 (the year I graduated) the Copyright Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament. I had the opportunity to take part in the stakeholder discussions around this historic amendment and see it come into effect in 2012 which changed the landscape of the entire M&E industry. Today, students have access to a lot more information in making informed decisions and it is good to see the growing interest in media and entertainment laws.

3. You were recently shortlisted for the Women in Business Law Awards, APAC 2022. A big congratulations on that. An acknowledgement of this kind while extremely validating also creates a sense of responsibility. How do you now perceive yourself as a professional and as a woman in business?

I firmly believe in this verse from Bhagwad Gita “karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana, ma karmaphalaheturbhurma te sangostvakarmani” which means you have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction. Awards and recognitions are indeed extremely validating and an acknowledgement that you are on the right path. It does create a sense of responsibility to keep striving hard to work in the right direction and set the right example. Understanding the business is key to become a good media and entertainment lawyer. As a professional my endeavour has always been to understand the business of the clients and step into their shoes while representing them before third parties to do complete justice to the mandate given to me as their lawyer. A solution-oriented approach is extremely important.

4. The Supreme Court decision in Knit Pro International v. State (NCT of Delhi)1, should have ideally been a one stop answer to the status of an offence under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957; however, the judgment has received mixed reactions. What are your thoughts?

The Supreme Court in Knit Pro International v. State (NCT of Delhi)2 has held that offences under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, 1957 are cognizable and non-bailable offences thereby putting the debate to rest due to the conflicting views taken by different High Courts earlier. In my personal view, a decision of such significance ought to have been more rationally analysed. It is imperative to balance the scales. The SC took into account only the upper limit of punishment that Section 63 provides without considering the situation where the punishment could be less than 3 years. The judgment has paved way to weaponise Section 63 as a tool. Certain checks and balances are required to be in place to prevent any abuse.

5. The first quarter of the year saw the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court acknowledge the controversy of registering multiple copyright societies for a single class of work. The court categorically held that PPL’s registration would be considered notwithstanding the fact that RMPL was already functioning as a registered society. What are your thoughts multiple copyright societies being registered for a single class of work, considering a lot of jurisdictions across the world have a different stand on this matter?

Although law in India does not ordinarily recognise the principle of multiple societies for each class of works, however, there is no specific bar on the registration of more than one society if the copyright office deems such registration fit as per Section 33(3) of the Copyright Act, 1957 under extraordinary circumstances. As per the current trend, there has been no instance in India where the Government has already granted registration to more than one copyright society for the same class of work, and to my knowledge, PPL’s application has again been rejected by the Government. However when we look at foreign jurisdictions like Spain, SGAE and DAMA in Spain both manage the rights of authors in audiovisual works as well as Brazil where a large number of CMOs are present out of which some are in the same artistic domain. For instance, AMAR (Association for Arrangers and Conductors/Brazilian Music Society) and SOCINPRO (Brazilian Management and Protection of Intellectual Rights Society) both represent songwriters. In USA, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all performing rights organisations dealing with same class of works.

In an anomaly, organisations performing the functions of copyright societies can bypass and avoid registering themselves under the Copyright Act and can rely instead on Section 30 (which permits copyright owners to issue licences through an agent) read with Section 18 (which relates to the assignment of copyright) to issue licences and collect royalties on behalf of copyright owners. This is essentially what Novex does as discussed in Leopold Café & Stores v. Novex Communications (P) Ltd.3 One could argue that the objective of having multiple societies for the same/similar kinds of protected works nevertheless gets achieved.

Competition is considered as the primary benefit that plurality of copyright societies may offer. Proponents of plurality believe that multiple copyright societies would create a competitive environment in the content licensing and put a check on the abusive behaviour of big players in the market. However, natural monopolies are anyway bound to exist even if there is no statutory monopoly so it may be more fruitful if the focus is shifted from registering multiple societies to working towards boosting their efficiency, transparency, and democratic functioning. In my view, if there are multiple societies for a single class of work, this would ensure that there is competition in the industry and societies will not be in a position to abuse their position. It will also solve the persisting issue of lack of transparency and make redressal effective. However, steps should also be taken to ensure ease of doing business for users and make the process less cumbersome by automating and digitising processes to the extent possible.

6. You had mentioned in one of your interviews that you joined law school wanting to pursue environment law. India at the COP26 Climate Change Summit pledged that it would increase its renewable energy component to 50% of the country’s total energy requirement. However, we see that there is no proper policy to dispose the waste created by such sources (e.g., solar power). At the expense of getting a little side tracked what are your thoughts on having a sound waste disposal policy in place?

A sound waste disposal policy is the need of the hour. While the current fervour around the globe is to decarbonise as quickly as possible using wind and solar, the energy industry has yet to fully tackle the long-term waste stream for these systems. Many supporters think that renewable energy equals no waste, when in reality all energy-producing technologies produce waste that should be managed responsibly. Renewable energy, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric, while cleaner than fossil fuels, still require the use of resources that can pollute the environment and affect human health. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cumulative waste generated by India’s total installed solar capacity could be as high as 325 kilotonnes by 2030. With the increasing penetration of distributed renewable energy sources such as solar PV (photovoltaic) and energy storage into the Indian electricity sector, it is necessary to prepare for managing the waste generated from these technologies. India is yet to have a dedicated PV waste management and recycling policy.

7. As somebody who is basically carrying an entire team on her shoulders. What is the one key workplace practice that you would want to cultivate at ANM Global?

I am blessed with an amazing team who have been constant pillars of support in helping the practice grow and scale to newer heights. We have a very democratic way of working where partners are approachable and team members can fearlessly voice their opinions and point of view. This has helped to culminate a non-toxic transparent work environment and encouraged the team members to take full ownership and responsibility of their work. The one key workplace practice that I have been cultivating at ANM Global is on knowledge sharing exercise between team members which is extremely essential in the fast-paced industry we are based in.

8. You started your own blog “IPRMENTLAW”. How important is it for budding lawyers and established professionals to develop the art of writing and legal research?

As a media and entertainment lawyer, I realised there is no specific platform which provided focused information on the sector and allowed industry professionals to come together. Hence, in January 2018, I started my blog IPRMENTLAW.com which is a knowledge-sharing, non-profit open access forum. My blog endeavours to bridge this gap and provide a forum for regular updates and discussion on important issues in the media and entertainment industry. For students and budding lawyers writing well-researched pieces is definitely recommended as it showcases their drafting, research and analytical skills which might help them get the right visibility and help them in their career. For others, I would say it is a matter of choice and passion. As far as blogging is concerned, one should write only if one is passionate about it.

9. Not many are familiar with the phrase “exhaustion of a search”. What are your views on it?

There is no mathematical formula to determine exhaustion of a search when it comes to legal research. To my mind, one’s research is completed once you have found the satisfactory answers to your query. Some basic checklists are needed such as to ensure there is no higher court decision overruling the decision you have relied on in your research.

10. Lastly, what is the one piece of advice you would give to any law graduate setting foot into the real world?

For any law graduate setting foot into the real world my one advice would be gaining knowledge should be your priority over everything else. Money, fame, success will all follow. Your formative years will mould your future so learn as much as you can. Get your priorities right as abundance of choice could cause confusion resulting into lack of stability and consistency and frequent jumping for the wrong reasons.


1. 2022 SCC OnLine SC 668.

2. 2022 SCC OnLine SC 668.

3. 2014 SCC OnLine Bom 1342.

Interviews

Mr Harshit Dusad is a Senior Associate at JSA, Gurugram office. A part of JSA’s reputed banking and finance practice, he is a transactional lawyer experienced in INR financing, regulatory finance and debt restructuring.

     He has been interviewed by Vanaj Vidyan, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from RMLNLU.

1. Please introduce yourself to your readers. What was your motivation behind choosing law? At what juncture did you decide to join the corporate set-up?

Introducing oneself is a herculean task. However, I will give it a try. I am a transactional lawyer, currently working as a Senior Associate at JSA, Gurugram office. I did my graduation [BBA LLB (Hons.)] from the NorthCap University, Gurugram (formerly ITM University, Gurgaon). My area of practice is banking and finance (transactional and advisory). I have represented various domestic and foreign banks, financial institutions, multilateral institutions, governments and corporates on their financing transactions and advisory matters.

I did my senior secondary in 2010 post which, I was pursuing Chartered Accountancy course. I studied commercial law as one of the courses at the IPCC level. It was at that time when I developed an inclination towards law. After this, I researched about law as a career option and started preparing for it.

I was fascinated by corporate life culture since my secondary year in school. Therefore, when I joined my law school, I was clear that I want to be a core transactional lawyer.

2. You graduated in 2016, and you are now a Senior Associate at one of India’s most prestigious firms. How would you rate your corporate journey? How did the diversity of working in different firms shape you?

Honestly, I cannot believe that it has been 6 years since I embarked upon this journey. It seems as if it was just a few days ago that I started working as a transactional lawyer. I joined JSA in August 2021. Prior to this I was working as a Senior Associate at Juris Corp, Delhi where I started as a trainee in 2016.

My professional life has been full of hard work and learning. Law is a demanding career and one has to be fully dedicated, if he/she wants to be successful in this area. So, I have not done anything extraordinary. However, the differentiating factor in my journey has been my mentors, who have guided me, told me about my mistakes and shaped me into the lawyer that I am today. I am fortunate that I have been mentored by few of the leading banking lawyers of our country. They have personally trained me and have focused on strengthening my basics. Even today when I am working on an arduous transaction, I ensure to stick to those basics. This trick has worked for me every single time.

3. How and when did you finalise banking and finance to be your niche?

For me, banking and finance was merely “luck by chance”. Initially, I wanted to pursue my career in mergers and acquisitions. However, during my final semester, I got an opportunity to work in the banking and finance team at Juris Corp, as a trainee. I had no idea about the work that banking and finance lawyers do, but I decided to give it a try.

Today, I am really glad that I took that opportunity. I would like to take this platform to thank all my mentors, both at Juris Corp as well as JSA, who have been constantly supporting and guiding me since the early days of my career.

4. You have a profoundly diverse experience in banking, including debt restructuring and interbank borrowings. As an expert in the field of banking, what is your view on the recently established bad banks – the NARCL and the IDRCL. In your opinion, is this new framework sufficient to tackle the rising NPAs, or do these institutions leave a lot to be desired?

While bad banks are new to India, however, this concept was first seen in the 1980s in the US. Since then, various countries have adopted this concept to tackle the stressed accounts in their respective jurisdictions.

As for India, this concept has been adopted by way of a 2-tier structure where National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd. (NARCL) – which is an asset reconstruction company and India Debt Resolution Company Ltd. (IDRCL) – which is an asset management company, have been set up. NARCL is bestowed with the responsibility of acquiring bad loans while IDRCL is responsible for managing these bad loans.

While this structure looks promising, however, this is still under an initial phase. Therefore, it is too early to comment on whether these entities will answer India’s NPA issues. The success of NARCL-IDRCL will depend on various factors, such as pricing of bad loans, involvement of public sector banks and investors as well as customers, independent and professional management of the new entity, capitalisation of these bad banks, etc.

5. How do you think the pandemic has affected the working of corporate lawyers especially regarding the banking sector?

Just like all other professionals, lawyers have also been impacted by the pandemic. It was perceived that a lawyer’s job starts and ends in his office. However, the pandemic shown us that in this digital era, a lawyer’s office is his laptop/tablet computer, with an internet connection. A lawyer, whether a corporate lawyer or a litigating lawyer, can work from anywhere around the globe. Therefore, even now when the adverse impact of the pandemic has reduced, the technology learnt and adopted during the pandemic time has led us to a hybrid style of working. This has provided us with the much required flexibility and has helped in maintaining a work-life balance.

As regards the banking sector, we have witnessed a substantial increase in the volume of transactions. Due to the pandemic, companies were in a need of money (either for their working capital requirements or for their expansion) and banks were offering them the same at attractive interest rates due to the RBI’s policies. This was a one-time win-win situation for both banks as well as the borrowers. As a result of this, our working hours had also increased.

6. Your interests also go beyond corporate law – you are a proficient photographer, chef, and poet. How important do you think it is for those in demanding professions such as yourself, to be involved in recreational activities and hobbies?

Recreational activities and hobbies play a pivotal role in everyone’s life, especially for a professional like a lawyer. It not only provides a breathing space or reducing stress but it also helps in developing soft skills such as personality development, boosting self-confidence, enhancing creativity, networking and what not.

This also leads to job satisfaction and a better work performance. Therefore, in my personal opinion, it is crucial for every individual to devote time towards their hobbies and recreational activities.

7. Research is required at every stage in legal life. In this context, what does “exhaustion of research” mean to you?

It has been rightly said by the great Nobel Prize laureate, Mr Albert Szent-Györgyi, “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” I diligently follow these golden words and try to apply them every day in my professional life.

As with the case with any lawyer, research is important and without a proper research exercise, a lawyer cannot work on his/her matters. I am no different and this rule applies to me as well. Prior to starting work on any transaction, I ensure that I am reading the correct and updated legal framework. Further, I also check precedents (whether judicial or transactional) on the subject-matter. In case there is any complicated issue involved, I make sure that I discuss it with my senior. Only after I can sense a clear picture in my mind, I start my work on a transaction. Therefore, for me, “exhaustion of research” means that I should be able to visualise the transaction, subject to the requirements and limitations stipulated under the applicable legal framework.

8. What advice would you give our readers who are young lawyers and law students on what they should and should not do, in order to succeed in the legal profession?

Reading plays a crucial role in defining our career. Therefore, we should never be afraid of reading and researching. It is today that we have so many specialised fields in law, but just few decades back, a lawyer used to advise on each and every law, whether it may be civil, criminal, commercial or corporate. The simple reason behind this is the reading exercise of those lawyers. We all should learn from this and read as much as possible.

Further, I would also advise that we should be clear on our basics. A lawyer cannot advise his clients or work on a case/transaction if his/her basic concepts are unclear Therefore, one should first focus on building concrete basics, rather than just starting to work on cases/transactions.

9. On a lighter concluding note, what would you have done if you were not a lawyer?

Had I been not a lawyer, I would have been an entrepreneur. Also, my parents tell me that I could have been a professional chef, so rather may be a chef, if not an entrepreneur.

conversation
Interviews

   

Mr Ankit Gupta is an alumnus of NLIU Bhopal (batch of 2020). He currently is an advocate in Delhi and has been awarded the Chevening Scholarship, he will be pursuing LLM from Cambridge University. He is one of the youngest to be awarded the scholarship this year and will also become the only Chevening Scholar in his batch at Cambridge University.

He has been interviewed by Divyansh Moralia, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from NLIU, Bhopal.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself, your current work profile, your work experience, and the kind of responsibilities that you have as an advocate.

I am a first-generation lawyer, currently practising at the Delhi High Court. I primarily deal in areas concerning civil and commercial laws besides criminal trials relating to economic offences. Additionally, I am an empanelled counsel with the Bar Council of Delhi and various legal aid clinics viz. NLUD Legal Aid Clinic, NLIU Legal Aid Clinic, etc. I take up pro bono briefs assigned by these clinics and conduct prosecution before various trial courts and the Delhi High Court.

I have been in the profession for two-and-a-half years now. I joined litigation with Mr Manav Gupta, a leading practitioner at the Delhi High Court, and continue to be associated with his chamber. I recollect my initial days in the profession when I realised that clerking at a chamber is one skill that is the foundation of building an independent practice. I, therefore, dedicated my first six months to frequenting the High Court and other court registries with our clerks, learning the nitty-gritty of filing cases. Thereafter, came the lessons for drafting and much later the opportunity of arguing. However, as I was associated with the legal aid clinic, the opportunity to argue came much early and I had to go an extra mile to make up for my inexperience and learn the tricks of the trade to conduct cases.

As an advocate, I believe that my primary responsibility is to keep abreast of the evolving law as shaped by judicial rulings. Apart from that, it is equally important to ensure constant interaction with the clients and get constant feedback to ensure that the client remains satisfied with your services.

2. How was your journey as a law student at NLIU and how has it helped you in the field?

The journey at NLIU has been the most enriching and scintillating five years of my career. I credit my feat of securing the admission to the University of Cambridge and the Chevening Scholarship to the five years of rigorous training at NLIU.

At the university, I took a keen interest in academics which helped me build strong foundations in legal subjects, and ultimately graduate in first division with an aggregate of 71.88%. I was also fascinated by the moot court activity for which NLIU is credited to have one of the best mooting environments amongst leading law schools in the country. It offered a quintessential opportunity to nurture my advocacy skills and explore how theory translates into practice. It taught me an important lesson that the life of the law has not always been legislation but experience and aspirations of the society.

During my law school days, I undertook extensive internships with litigation chambers and public policy think tanks. These included internships with the office of the Attorney General of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, Project 39A, NLUD, and office of Justice (Dr) D.Y. Chandrachud. The best part of such a broad pallet of internships was the exposure to various aspects of the law. It helped me better appreciate and gain deeper insights into the process of drafting, enforcing, and interpreting the law, and the role of various organs of Government, associated with each step.

Driven by my passion to undertake pro bono work, I also joined the legal aid clinic at my university as a member and was later elevated to the post of convenor. I utilised this opportunity to undertake numerous initiatives and notably the national legal literacy project viz. Aapke Adhikaar, which later came to be replicated by various other law schools,

My experiences ranging from academic learnings, internships and my stint at the legal aid clinic not only enriched me academically but also helped me explore the legal profession from the grassroots level. These multi-faceted exposures taught me the necessary skills of networking, communication, and relation building, which are seldom found in classroom teachings and textbooks. In fact, it is these skills that a lawyer employs the most. Therefore, in a nutshell, I believe that the five years of law school are something that the one year at the University of Cambridge will also not surpass.

3. What is it that motivated you to decide to pursue higher education and how did you become aware of the Chevening Scholarship?

Initially like every other law student, the awe of pursuing a master's degree from abroad was the sole motivating factor. However, as I matured and delved deeper, I realised that it was much more than just the mere “tag”. I explored that the international exposure offered by these universities is something that can nurture my personality in ways that I cannot even fathom. Additionally, the prestige of being amongst the handful of students across the globe and the opportunity to test myself at the international level made LLM all the more appealing.

I got to know about the Chevening Scholarship from our university's social media page, when one of our alumni recently received it. Later on, I got in touch with that alumnus and explored the scholarship in more detail.

4. What are your future aspirations after completing your LLM from Cambridge University?

I will come back to India after the completion of my LLM from the University of Cambridge. I intend to resume my legal practice which I have built over the past two-and-a-half years. I aim to establish an independent chamber in the following years and work towards making a name for myself in the Indian legal industry.

At the same time, I also wish to work in the field of “pro bono lawyering”, both at the policy level and at the advocacy level. I wish to develop a network of motivated young professionals, interested in developing a career in litigation and establishing a system to augment our existing legal aid framework. At the same time, I intend to push for reforms by judicial intervention and becoming part of various statutory bodies under the Advocates Act, 1961 to push for an incentivised pro bono lawyering system in India.

5. You have had a diverse experience, practising in several fields such as civil law, arbitration, commercial matters, etc. How do you feel it has helped you improve as a lawyer?

I personally believe that a lawyer should be a “may I help you” counter, meaning thereby, he should never return a brief for the sole reason that the field of law is new for him. It is with this motivation that I started my profession, and I am grateful that this approach helped me expand my exposure and made me courageous to venture out of my comfort zone. It not only helped me develop a broader understanding of various laws but at the same time, helped me enrich my advocacy skills by developing a comparative understating of legal topics.

6. You have also had a great mooting record in law school, having attained accolades in leading international as well as national moot court competitions. What, as per you, is the value of moot court competitions and how has it helped you?

The answer to this question is very simple. It is through the activity of mooting that I developed self-confidence and gained an in-depth understanding of various legal topics. I credit mooting with what I am today. I believe my initiatives of filing and arguing petitions before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India would have been a distant dream, had I not been exposed to the mooting activity right from the very first year. Therefore, as a matter of principle, a law student must take part in at least one moot court competition, whether national or international.

7. Please elaborate a little upon the registration process and selection criteria for the Chevening Scholarship.

The Chevening Scholarship opens its registration in the month of August. As a preliminary criterion, a candidate is required to have a minimum of two years' work experience, which includes internships and regular employment. The said two-year work experience is defined by the number of minimum working hours, which takes into account the number of weeks a candidate has worked in a particular organisation multiplied by the number of hours per day.

Thereafter, a candidate is required to answer four questions, which primarily focusses on the central theme of the Chevening Scholarship i.e. “leadership”. This in fact, is the most important part of the entire application process. The first two questions are modelled to test the qualities of a leader such as relation building, networking, inspiring, etc. A candidate is expected to answer these questions with the help of personal examples where he/she has employed such skills to achieve a common goal. The next question requires a candidate to elaborate upon three courses, which he plans to undertake, and the universities where he has applied for such courses. A candidate is expected to further substantiate this answer by detailing out as to how the chosen courses resonate with his prior academic/professional learnings and will also help in his plans for the future. The last question requires a candidate to delineate a post-study career plan, including his/her short-term and long-term goals.

In addition to answering the said questions, a candidate is also required to provide two letters of recommendation, to support his/her application. Once a candidate has submitted his online application, the Selection Committee invites shortlisted candidates for the interview rounds, followed by the final declaration of results.

8. What are your tips for students who wish to pursue LLM abroad and aspire for scholarships like Chevening?

The only tip or mantra of sorts that I have for future applicants is to start early in the day. Whether it be your LLM application or an application for a scholarship/grant, you should know what they entail, and accordingly, you should channelise your energy. Achieving grades/securing awards at moot courts, etc. is something that most law students undertake. You must find out that one thing that makes you stand apart and your work should resonate with that one call. Hence, the key to cracking these applications is to be focused and start early in the day.

9. Any other remarks that you would like to make for our readers?

The only mantra to crack these applications is to start early and be consistent. Have a clear goal/vision and ensure that all your endeavours are aimed towards that particular goal.

Interviews

   

Akhil V Menon is a 2018 NUALS graduate who secured AIR 66 in UPSC CSE 2021. While in law school, he was actively involved in mooting, debating and managing the Center for Law and Economics. He cracked the Kerala Administrative Exam after his graduation, and then went on to crack UPSC CSE 2021 with a stellar AIR of 66. He can be seen playing cricket in his free time.

1. I see that you graduated in 2018 from the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi and appeared for UPSC this year. Did you always want to go for civil services, if not, how did it span out, and what prompted you to go for it?

I first appeared for UPSC in the year 2019; however, I only cleared it in my third attempt. While in school, I used to casually say that I wanted to be a civil servant but never really believed that I would clear this exam one day. Law school was a turning point in my life; the culture of debate and dialogue made me aware of many issues around me. Looking back, these debates have played a vital role in my journey.

2. What were your plans after law school, were you working with an advocate/law firm or did you want to go for a corporate job?

I did not have any plans after law school; maybe that fear of free fall may have pushed me to work harder to conquer this dream. However, it is a big risk to take; civil services is uncertain in many ways. Therefore, if I were to take that decision of pursuing civil services right after graduation at this point, maybe I would give it more time and space.

3. Do you think doing an undergraduate course in law helped in your journey towards UPSC? An undergraduate degree in which other course do you think would be helpful?

My graduation subjects covered a lot of areas connected with the civil services examination. Especially the knowledge in constitutional law has been important in all stages of this exam. My optional was also law, though I did not score high in it, I could manage my optional on my own. Even during the interview phase, most questions had a direct connection with law. Above everything, I feel that law is an indispensable element in administration. It is indeed “law in motion”; thus, a degree in law is always an advantage. Apart from law, degrees in political science, sociology or economics can also help at most stages. Having said that, any degree subject that one pursues can help in some way or the other in civil services preparation.

4. I see that you were briefly involved in Kerala Administrative Services as well. Tell us about Kerala State Civil Services, how you cracked the exam and how your experience so far has been.

The KAS exam closely resembled the syllabus and pattern of the UPSC examination. Therefore, the preparation was not very different. The only difference was that Kerala-related portions had to be prepared for KAS. I took a bridge course to ensure that such a gap is filled in my preparation. In hindsight, cracking the KAS with 6th rank gave me the confidence to attempt the civil services exam again.

The experience so far with the KAS has been really good; I am a believer of the idea of State civil services and its potential to bring changes in the administrative set-up. We were taught on the history and the economy of Kerala in detail. The Kerala Darshan trip and the attachment with various State Government departments done as part of the training have helped me to understand the needs of the State and the role of an administrator.

5. Briefly tell us about your preparation strategy for UPSC, focusing particularly on a specific detail that you would want the aspirants to know about?

Failure was my teacher in this process. I have failed both in prelims as well as mains; I derived lessons from both and made necessary changes to get to this stage. My focus during these three years was to maintain that element of consistency and discipline all throughout; an average of 6 to 7 hours of time was set apart for prep.

My preparation was in and around Trivandrum for the last few years. For GS, I took guidance from Fortune IAS Academy. However, the role of coaching is limited in a highly competitive examination like the civil services; your daily routine plays an important role there. It is also important that we focus on our physical and mental health during the same period. Therefore, I tried to formulate a balanced timetable incorporating sufficient breaks in my recent attempt.

6. Can you also tell us about the changes you brought about in your preparation during your first and second mains attempts? Also, elaborate on your journey from prelims to mains and finally cracking the interview.

My first mains was a story of under preparation. I failed my first prelims in 2019; thereafter, my sole focus was to somehow clear prelims in the next attempt.

I followed a strategy of solving a maximum number of mock questions for prelims. With this method, I did clear prelims in 2020; however, I did not have much idea about the demands of the mains examination. I did not cover my optional properly, and my attempts in GS papers were also a bit haphazard. This reflected in my attempt, and I did not clear the exam. However, this year I knew that I had certain gaps in my preparation, and my focus was to cover those gaps. I identified my weak subjects in the mains examination. Furthermore, I practised writing answers in a given time limit. This helped me to build my skills to write an organised answer.

With this change in approach, I cleared mains this year. In the interview stage, I did not invest a lot of time preparing for the interview, but my focus was on the day of the interview. I tried to simulate conditions that reflected the actual interview. Also, mock interviews of various institutes helped me to better assess my preparedness for the interview. The actual interview was much easier; it was more like a sensible conversation around different topics of law.

7. I see that you were rank 2nd in your batch in NUALS. What activities were you involved in during your law school days? Elaborate on how it contributed to your personal and professional growth.

I loved mooting and debating; it has taught me the importance of reasoning in building an argument. I think that is one skill which has helped me immensely both at the answer writing stage and in the interview process. NUALS also gives you ample opportunity to understand the society that you are part of. We had a vibrant student body, which actively participated in the affairs of the university. The legal aid camps at the university helped me understand some issues at the grassroot level. For instance, the camp at Attapadi taught us the issues faced by the tribal population on a day-to-day basis and also the power of good governance to resolve such challenges.

8. How can one streamline one's preparation for UPSC exams when in law school?

I do not think I am fit to comment on that; I have just lived a laid-back life during my law school days. However, if I could ever meet my younger self, I would ask him to read daily newspaper and go through some of those NCERT textbooks. UPSC expects you to have a general understanding on a lot of issues across different subjects. Therefore, being keen to learn new things is a trait that we need to inculcate and carry forward from the law school times. Also, constitutional law should be given special attention as it helps you at several stages of UPSC preparation.

9. How do you think being a lawyer will help you in your role as a public servant? And what obstacles do you think you are going to be facing?

Knowing law is an empowering factor for any administrator, so that way, I feel I will benefit from my training as a lawyer. I think training in law also helps one to develop a sense of justice which will help a lot in the decision-making aspect. Further, a good understanding on legal provisions and its interpretation can make an officer more decisive at several levels.

Interviews

Mr Vijay Pal Dalmia has been practicing as an advocate for the last 36 years, and registered with the Bar Council of Delhi. From 1986 to 2006, he independently practised before the Supreme Court of India, various High Courts, District Courts and Tribunals in India. Since April 2006, he has been associated with Vaish Associates Advocates, a leading law firm in India, and is presently their practice head in intellectual property, information technology and cyberlaw, commercial advisory and litigation, civil and criminal litigation, arbitration, sports, gaming and gambling laws, white collar crimes including anti-money laundering laws. He also advises clients on legal issues relating to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

He has been interviewed by Madhumitha Ravindran, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from SLSH.

1. To begin this interview, please tell us a few words about yourself for our readers. Would you also like to share a fun fact about yourself?

It has been 36 years now in law practice, and I am fortunate to have handled a wide variety of cases before various legal forums. I am a true believer of the philosophy as a lawyer that “a lawyer must know something about everything, and everything about something”. Except in few types of cases, I have never said no to my clients, and have always tried to serve them to the best of my professional abilities. In this profession, I have learnt one thing i.e. you can not chase money, but money will follow you and it is a by-product of your services.

2. You have had a commendable 36+ years’ in the legal industry. What made you choose law and kickstart a career in law?

When I did my law in the year 1986, it was one of the options available out of very limited professional options. My father was a seasoned senior lawyer, and he was an inspiration for me to join this profession. Otherwise, also interaction with people and dynamism of law, always fascinated me.

3. There are various areas of law that you are specialised in. Which has been the most interesting, and which has been the most challenging for you till now? Please share any incident that you found particularly interesting or challenging.

Around the year 2000, internet was becoming popular and had started entering our lives. This part of law and its international dimensions which included cybercrimes, data theft, online privacy and widespread privacy attracted me towards cyber and technology laws. Later, in around, 2012, I started developing immense interest in cases relating to white collar crimes including cases relating to money laundering, benami transactions, income tax prosecutions, black money and foreign bank accounts, and I have been fortunate to represent clients in some of the prestigious cases in India.

4. Intellectual property rights or information technology law — which of the two do you think upcoming law students and lawyers should be more aware about?

My advice tilts towards information technology laws, as there are immense professional opportunities, and these laws everyday touches our lives. Now web 3 is coming. Things are getting decentralised. New types of agreements are taking place. Blockchain is becoming part of life. Please remember, blockchain is not cryptocurrency only. In any case, in the initial few years learn law, not any particular subject. Specialisation comes later.

5. Can you please share your experience working as counsel for the Government of NCT Delhi?

Experience was good. It was frustrating. Found lack of will on the part of the government officials to resolve the cases. Still, it gave me a vast experience in handling different type of cases, which was most satisfying.

6. A follow-up question: Can you please share your views as an advocate who has worked as an independent counsel, a government counsel, and a counsel for a law firm? How was the transition from one to the other?

The transition has been dynamic. Working in a law firm is an altogether different experience. In a law firm you act as a team, you have knowledge resources, and the knowhow. You also command instant support of professionals from different practice areas. Your research is better. Moreover, the clientele is also good and international in nature. Practising independently is always a different ball game.

7. You have been helping start-ups do business in compliant manner. What are some laws that start-ups should keep in mind before venturing into their business?

For any start-up there are two most important things. First, contracts and second is intellectual property rights. Start-ups should believe in writing, and nothing should be left to imagination. Trust is good but having things in writing is better. Whether anything relates to the partners in start-ups or with customers/suppliers, have elaborate agreements in place. Secondly, the start-up culture is greatly associated with IPRs. Start-ups must take special care to protect IPRs. The value of a start-up lies in its IPR.

8. Please share your opinions on the importance of legal research.

Indian legal interpretations, are ever dynamic. One can say nothing is final. Courts are evolving jurisprudence every day. One can never give a final opinion on any subject. So, one must make legal research a tool, which should be indispensable.

9. Finally, is there anything you would like to share with the readers of SCC Online?

Please share your knowledge which you acquire during the course of your studies and profession. Keep writing and write from a common man’s perspective. Let us make law easy.

UPSC Examination
Interviews

Mr Gourab Kumar Agarwal, an alumnus of HNLU brings laurel to his alma mater with his selection in the Union Public Service Commission Exams of 2021 securing 86th rank in the all India merit list. He has been interviewed by EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador, Radhika Ghosh for SCC Online blog.

1. Firstly, congratulations on the brilliant performance at the UPSC CSE examination. Please tell us a little about yourself and your interests?

Hi, my name is Gourab Kumar Agarwal and I belong to Sundergarh, Odisha. I did my schooling from Rourkela, and Bolangir till class 10th and then moved to Hyderabad for my 11th and 12th. I graduated from Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) in the year 2020 and since then I had been preparing for the civil services exam.

My interest primarily lies in books. I like reading books and also exploring and knowing about new authors. Recently I have started reading long articles as well and that has also captured my attention. Along with that, I also like quizzing. Apart from that I am interested in movies and TV shows.

2. How was your journey as a law student at HNLU, Raipur and how much did it help to ace the examination?

I had a very good time at the university. The exposure that the university provided, be it in terms of mooting, co-curricular activities, academics, or meeting new people from diverse backgrounds, helped me gain a lot of experiences which gave me the opportunity to develop a unique personality of my own.

Regarding how it helped me ace the examination, I think my journey as a law student at HNLU helped me figure out my strengths and weaknesses. This allowed me to structure my preparation in a manner where I could capitalise on my strong points and be prepared for my weaknesses. During my time at HNLU I also developed special bonding with a lot of people who became my support system during the preparation as they were always just a call away to listen to my problems and give me advice.

Furthermore, the co-curricular activities that I participated in during my time at HNLU, allowed me to develop specific skill sets which helped me ace the examination. Quizzing ingrained in me the thirst for diverse knowledge and the analytical application of mind which helped me during the prelims exam. Also, mooting gave me the opportunity to improve upon my public speaking skills which allowed me to perform well in my personality test.

3. What were your reasons for pursuing law and why did you choose civil services as a career?

One of the primary reasons for choosing law was that I knew that I did not want to go for engineering or medicine. So, I started exploring what other avenues were available and I figured out that law was a good opportunity in terms of career prospects after college. Also the remarkable quality of legal education with the 5-year integrated course and a standardised format for admission through CLAT appealed to me.

About civil services, it was never a long-cherished dream to appear for the civil services examination. By the end of my third year, after I had done internships at various places like litigation chambers and corporate firms, I actively started thinking about civil services. The thing that made me interested in the exam was the syllabus and the idea that if nothing, I would end up becoming a better-read person. Along with that, I realised that civil services is also a natural extension of the study of law. Instead of applying the law as a lawyer, one is enforcing the law in civil services, with both requiring a good understanding of the subject. And lastly, the quality of work and the diversity of opportunity that this job provides, was according to me, suitable to my personality.

4. Please give us an insight into your UPSC preparation? What kept you motivated, and what hurdles did you predominantly face while preparing for the same?

Early on I had decided that I would not be going to Delhi and I would rather stay at home and prepare for the exam. Hence, my preparation revolved a lot around online resource. I made use of Google liberally to accentuate my notes, read newspapers on my laptop, took help from YouTube to clear any doubts I had, among other things.

Also, my preparation was structured around a very specific schedule. I would prepare framework as to how much of the syllabus I want covered in the next couple of months and accordingly I would make weekly and daily targets.

With respect to sources, I decided to keep my booklist very limited. I had learnt a mantra that I would not read 10 books for one subject, but I would definitely read one book at least 10 times before sitting for the exam.

And lastly, to keep myself from getting burnt out, I actively took out time during the day for my hobbies.

Regarding what kept me motivated, I think the desire to excel in whatever I was doing and to be better than yesterday kept me going. The feeling was that if any one person can do it, then it can be done and I would try my best to do it. Also, the idea of learning new things day in day out made me enjoy every aspect of my UPSC journey.

Having said that, there are definitely a lot of hurdles that one has to clear while preparing for the exam. Insecurity was a big hurdle. Since this exam is very unpredictable, one can never be sure of the result.

Along with that, the taxing nature of this exam does not give you the liberty to spend much time with one’s friends and family members. So slowly a gap starts to grow in one’s personal relationships which becomes difficult to minimise.

But whenever I was feeling down, I watched this speech by Harsha Bhogle in IIM Ahmedabad (HERE) to raise my spirits and get back on track.

5. How did you prepare yourself for the interview?

For the interview stage, I made sure that I was updated with everything that was happening in India. Since my first preference was Indian Foreign Services, I also needed to be up-to-date with all the happenings around the world. Apart from that I had prepared a list of probable questions around my background and my hobbies. I revised important laws and was following leading portals for legal news.

To prepare myself for the actual interview, I gave mock interviews and interviews to my friends for brutal honest opinions. This helped me in understanding my thought process behind every answer that I was giving. I also followed certain basic principles for my personality test, such as:

  1. That the interview is supposed to be a conversation and not a question answer session.

  2. That I was to hold opinions about important topics and not be ambivalent in my approach.

  3. That more than my knowledge, the interview stage is to judge my personality.

6. What immediate change do you wish to see in India as a man of power and responsibility?

I would not characterise my future career trajectory as one primarily of power but more of a responsibility. Having said that, an immediate change I would wish to see in India would be the freedom from want. To ensure that all people in the society have equal claims to the right to prosper and develop according to their own requirements without being subjected to artificial discrimination and challenges.

7. What advice would you give to our readers who are currently aspiring for civil services?

That during the entire preparation you would be bombarded with the cacophony of advices, but do not pay heed to them without making an independent evaluation of your own based on your own strengths and weaknesses. You might be told that it is not possible to clear the exam with the law optional, or that the manner in which you are preparing will not pay any results. But ultimately you have to make a decision for your own self and do it sensibly. Finally, it is worth remembering that this exam is difficult but not impossible to crack. With a single-minded focus and hard work coupled with smart work, one can devise his/her own strategy and ultimately ace this exam.

In conversation with Adv Firdouse Qutb Wani, AoR (Supreme Court), on life as a female litigator in India
Interviews

   

Ms Firdouse Qutb Wani, a law graduate from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi is a first-generation practicing lawyer, having standing at the Bar for more than a decade and half, with rich and diverse experience in the field of law. Ms Wani is an Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India. She was made the Additional Standing Counsel of Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) at a relatively young age and which position she continues to hold till date.

She has been interviewed by Syed Mohd Haroon, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from Jamia Milia Islamia.

1. Could you brief our readers a little bit about yourself, and what made you choose law as a career? How was your journey in the initial years?

I belong to Kashmir, the crown of this country and call myself destiny's child. My family moved to several cities and States because of my father's work, hence I grew up in different places and it exposed me to the diversity of our lovely country. I do not really think I choose law as a career, in fact it is vice versa, this career chose me. My father Prof. M. Afzal Wani, being an academician and that too in the field of law, played an important role in my liking of this field. I still remember how my father's library at our home, used to fascinate me, even at the young age of about 8 or 9 years. I have memories from those times of the environment of our home, especially the drawing room, where my father, and his students, his lawyer or Judge friends, and law enforcement people, used to have detailed discussions on nuances of the law. I got my first exposure to law, through such an environment and the same had a very positive impact on me. Constitution or you call it civics, in school, used to be my favourite subject. The thought that one can have an opinion and same can be put across, without fear by a person, was the major temptation for me to get attracted to the legal profession. I started having an opinion on “law”, my initial impression of “law” or “laws” was that of an “enabler”.

To be very frank, the initial journey was full of hurdles but yes also full of opportunities. Many are not aware that when I was in final year of my law school, I had received admission offer from Kings College, London, to pursue LLM. In fact initially I thought of taking it up and pursue higher education and maybe dabble in academics. I had interned during my college years with Mr K.K.Venugopal, Mr K.T.S. Tulsi and several law firms and organisations like National Commission for Women and somehow these internships had made me more confident to join the litigation and I just wanted to join the profession at the earliest.

Once I got the offer, it made me think and my mother told me to do what my gut tells me. Now I do not remember, everything but I do remember that I just joined the profession and here I am today. To be very frank it worked for me and it is not necessary that it would work for others also. I actually toiled a lot. I was rejected by several law firms when I applied for internships and I also felt many times that many known lawyers and law firms used to opt for national law students therefore in my office, I never look at the college name when someone applies for a job or an internship. Trust me the passion for the profession, is the must-have ingredient to be a good lawyer and not anything else. I always believed in myself and yes I did feel dejected at times but kept myself intact. I remember when I interned with Mr Vijay Nair (Advocate), he paid stipend to other intern and not to me. I asked him why this disparity and he told me, we are letting the other intern go and extending your internship period as you are an asset to us. I was thrilled beyond words. I was offered first job by him only and later on I went on to join chambers of Mr Cherukuri Mukund, quite a known name in the corridors of High Court of Delhi.

I did not only face hurdles for not coming from a National Law School but also being a female lawyer. Now the times have changed a lot. I remember once when my senior gave me a brief to work on a case for a client, I got quite a cold shoulder from the client and he asked my senior how would a female defend him. He made sure that I should not work on his case. With time, I also learned to deal with such situations and ultimately the bottom line is when you work very hard, it paves way for you. I remember a senior lawyer telling me in a litigation where we were representing adversarial interests, that his client told him that he argued well but “Ms Wani” was better. He told me that he did not need to tell me this but as women lawyers are mostly discouraged to carry on in this profession, hence I thought to tell you about this compliment which an opposite party has showered on a woman counsel and it will make me more strong. This did touch my heart and I am sharing this only to keep the spirits of all other female lawyers high. My mantra is simple, when you believe that you can do it, nobody can stop you. When I became a mother, I knew, I have to be an inspiration for my daughter. I am happy that I put on blinkers the day I held her in my hands and just focused on what would help me to keep on going as a professional and a mother at the same time, without worrying about judging eyes and mouths. I think it is very important that we should be clear in our minds about what matters to us and not what others expect us to do. Every milestone is full of hardships and nothing comes easily to you. We should always respect others for what they have achieved because most people just tend to see your success and not the hard work and sacrifice that have gone behind it. Every being is different, so there is no set formula for fighting challenges and achieving success, but one thing is constant and that is self-belief.

2. Belonging to Kashmir, you are aware of the innumerable hurdles to access to consistent and quality education in the area, how has it impacted you (or countless other talented children in the valley), according to you what should be done to overcome this?

The situation in Kashmir is quite fragile and it is no secret, that the biggest sufferers are the children of the valley. I remember during my school days, we used to go to school twice or thrice a week as the rest of the days, there used to be a curfew or some kind of protest, resulting in the closure of the schools. The situation there is not only affecting the quality of education but is also impacting the mental health of the children.

We have quite good schools in the valley, and we can see that very intelligent and smart children are coming out of the valley. Schools have now become quite aware of the impact of the situation in the valley, hence they do help students by counselling them, to keep them at bay and help them to cope with the overall unrest in the valley. This is the least that schools can do. Parents are also getting involved with the children but when the situation gets too tough, I have seen parents sending their wards to boarding schools, away from the valley, so that they can have stress-free education.

I believe we should focus on our children and youth so that they can be provided with a qualitative and peaceful environment to make their futures bright. There is no dearth of talent in the valley, we only need a platform to nurture the same without any fear and threat.

3. Since you have done multiple matters concerning commercial laws, including commercial arbitration and appearing before the original commercial side of the Delhi High Court, what do you think should be the approach adopted while handling the same?

I think any kind of legal matter, requires precision, no matter what genre we are talking about. When we have a case to handle, first we should go through each document, we have in hand and read between the lines. We need to investigate each and every aspect, like the maintainability, basic laws involved, judgments and rulings on the issue. Initially, we should see if the dispute can be resolved amicably and try to mitigate the losses. In case litigation is what is required, then we should make a strategy to go about the case and keep on reviewing the tactics and strategy, from time to time, as the case develops. We should be aware of both sets of documents, the one which is damaging to the case and also the one which is in favour of the case. We should be always prepared with the strategy to defend our case if some damaging document is put forth by the other side. At the same time, we should be aware of documents, which we may not be in the possession of but are aware that such documents can benefit our case. We should pray for the disclosure of such documents. In case such documents are not produced by the other side, at least it can draw a negative inference against them and that can also do good for your case. Evidence, and witness statements including expert witness statements, plays important role in a case, hence same requires to be looked into meticulously.

One more thing, which is very important is that once you are entrusted with a case by a client, you should advise your client to run every kind of communication to be issued in relation to such a case through you, as it is very important that no damaging document is created by your client, affecting your overall strategy of handling the case.

4. How much weight would you give to proper legal research and the tools used for doing it? How should law students equip themselves with legal research skills?

When we are handling any legal issue, it is very important that we should be aware of legal precedents available in respect to such an issue and for that proper legal research is very important. If one is good at legal research, such a skill can help a lawyer to craft a winning argument. I have seen many a times, even in a weak case, sometimes good legal research, turns the table in your favour.

Legal research does not only provide one with a support for a legal issue but also enables you to provide good legal advice to the client. Nowadays with technology uprise, we have so many tools to do good research. Some of the tools available also have artificial intelligence and that not only helps in good research but also comprehensive one. Research tools are also helping us to save immense valuable time.

Students and young budding lawyers should accoutre themselves with research skills, as even in presence of research tools if one is not aware of what to search for, the tools are not going to help. One should have the skill to identify the relevant legal issue/problem and also the relief that is being sought. A student/young lawyer should break down a case and examine each fact involved, no matter how irrelevant a fact is, as sometimes an irrelevant fact turns out to be very important at a later stage. When a student/young lawyer would look into the facts meticulously, he/she would be able to identify the legal issue involved.

Once the legal issue is identified, student/young lawyer should look into the statutes/regulations/laws involved with respect to the legal problem at hand. One can also read articles, and law journals, discussing the law involved as the authors of such articles have already done good enough work and that saves your time. Thereafter we can go on to case laws and my advice is not to rely on case headnotes solely, although they are very helpful but not enough to decide that the said case law is going to support your case, hence read the whole judgment, and then decide if it is of some help to you. Sometimes a case law turns out to be less supportive and more damaging, therefore before relying on the same, one should go through it thoroughly.

A good researcher always looks for “good law”, that is one which has not been struck down or invalidated by the court. Here the technology helps a lot, as the tools available now, easily help us to know if a certain case law has been invalidated or reversed. In fact, the tools also help us to know more about the case where such a case law has been cited and what has been the observation of the Judges in respect to the same.

Law keeps on evolving and changing, it is very important that one should remain updated with the development, hence it is very important to enhance our research skills and use the available tools in the best manner possible.

5. In your experience as counsel, do you think the oral advocacy skills vary with the sectors and the forums in front of which you present oral arguments? If yes, what is your opinion on the differences that one needs to bear in mind when arguing?

Yes, oral advocacy varies with sectors and the forums. In fact, it varies from one courtroom to another.

For good oral advocacy, my mantra is “know the Judge”. One should actually observe the Judge beforehand and see, how the particular Judge interacts with the counsels? Whether he is asking many questions and if yes then what kind of questions? Whether the Judge is well versed with the particular field of law? We should be also aware of the background of a Judge i.e. if a particular Judge is a non-judicial members or a judicial member?

Precisely a lawyer should be able to adapt his/her arguments to suit the Judge. In case it is felt that a Judge does not seem familiar with particular legal principles involved in a case, then one should spend more time in explaining the same and in case it is felt from the previous orders of said Judge, that he/she is aware of the field of law, then one should try to impress on spending more time on the strong points of the case.

One should not only focus on the arguments being put forth but also try to involve the Judge in the whole process. If a lawyer feels that Judge is not following the arguments, try to go slow, pause and let the argument sink in. Make sure that the argument is not vague and put forth your point clearly, that you want Judge to take note of. If a question is being asked, make sure that you address the question immediately and if you feel the question asked is not relevant, try to put forth the submission in a most humble manner, and explain why such a question is irrelevant to your case. If you feel that you require some more research to address a specific query, put forth by a Judge, try to seek time to look into it, so that you can put forth your best foot forward, to assist the court.

Overall, as the cases vary, the attitude and approach of Judges also varies, hence one should be able to put forth the case in a manner best suited to the taste of that particular Judge. A good lawyer does not only research about the case but also the Judge.

6. As an Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court, kindly tell our readers about your experience briefing Senior Advocates, the requisite preparation required, and the challenges/fruits of being an AOR at the highest judicial authority in the country?

As an AOR, I have always felt, that it is very important that one should know the art of making an exhaustive brief note of the case. A good note helps to bring the important points within the knowledge of the Senior Advocate with ease and that reflects in the arguments of the senior as well. Senior while getting briefed does not have much time in hand, hence you should be thorough with the facts, relevant law and case laws, so that you are able to answer the queries put forth by the senior, during the briefing, in order to prepare for the case. Like Judges, seniors also vary in their approach, hence a senior should be briefed keeping in mind the same.

Being an AOR, Supreme Court of India, involves immense hard work as you are the one who is responsible for the case at the highest judicial authority. I have felt many a times that being an AOR, somehow makes a client trust in you more, as he/she feels that you are recognised by the Supreme Court as the one to practise before the Supreme Court.

An AOR needs to stay updated with the process of filing, formats, and varied guidelines apart from other aspects of the practice. Keeping in view Supreme Court is the last resort court and AOR is one's representative, hence same puts immense pressure on you and to remain calm and focused is very important. It is very important that an AOR, looks into all the records of the particular case and make sure not to miss anything very important to a case. An AOR requires to be very organised and thorough with the records. It not only helps in good drafting of the petitions but also comes in handy while briefing Senior Advocates if the need arises. Many a time an AOR only puts its signature on a petition, without even knowing about the case, that is a very unethical and wrong practice. When we take an oath as an AOR, we should understand our responsibilities and take our position seriously. We should be aware of the facts of the case, even if we may not be arguing the matter. We should keep the persons involved, updated about the status of the case and give them the best possible advice in the different circumstances of the case, as we should always remember that the Supreme Court is the last refuge, for a person and we are their representatives at this final harbour.

7. You and your achievements, including your inspirational speeches at various conferences, seminars, and forums, have impacted and motivated a lot of young women lawyers, who intend to make their career in litigation. What is your advice to them?

It fills me with happiness, when young girls come to me and say that they have opted for the profession after getting inspired by me. I would simply say that everything in this universe comes in a pair. Therefore, if there are hurdles, then trust me there have to be solutions for these hurdles. You need to stand firm on the ground and if I have been able to come so far, you can also. I am full of gratitude, and I have many to thank, for the support and encouragement they provided me at different times, which kept me intact on the ground.

Litigation consumes a good part of your life. It involves immense hard work and dedication. It is like an heirloom, the older it gets, the more valuable it becomes. The more you learn the more you earn. Once somebody had told me that litigation is something where the more you would use your brain, the more you would earn. My understanding is that we should focus more on learning in the initial years of the practice and look for opportunities, where you can argue a matter and not just seek a passover for your senior. You should always come to the court prepared with the case, as in the field of litigation, the sky is the limit, you just need to grab that one opportunity which helps you to establish yourself in this profession. There is no straitjacket formula for succeeding in this profession but the more you would learn and explore, the better you tend to get and that helps you to stay determined for the longer run.

Women lawyers face huge issues, in this profession but gradually things are getting better, but we are still far from creating the best conditions for females in this profession. There is a need for sensitisation in respect to young mothers or expecting mothers. Very recently creche facilities were started in Delhi High Court, which is a welcome change and I hope it is followed in other courts also. Many times, a very good female lawyer is compelled to leave the profession due to a lack of support from the system as we tend to forget that a woman can be a good professional and a mother at the same time, if we show some faith in her and provide her with some facilities, to discharge both the duties in a balanced manner.

The virtual mode of hearings has been a boon for many young mothers, as this has helped them to attend to their matters and cater to the needs of their small children. I think for the said reason, virtual mode should not be discontinued ever.

We women can do best in the worst conditions, hence I advise all the young budding female lawyers, not to stop being in this profession, for the only reason of being a woman. Your existence as a woman cannot dictate that you cannot opt for litigation as a career. Women are more sincere and dedicated when it comes to litigation. There is a need of self-belief. I would again say when female lawyers have done it before and when I have been able to do it, even you can. Keep the negativity at bay. Many times you will see male colleagues mansplaining you, there is a need to point out the same immediately and defend yourself. At times we do not know something, it is fine and we should not look down upon ourselves as we cannot be knowing everything at every point in time. We learn with time, nobody can be knowing everything always. We can succeed in life only when we respect ourselves and have complete faith in whatever we have opted for. Once my husband, Advocate Zaryab Jamal Rizvi, told me that even entering into this profession is the battle won by the females, so they should not think of quitting it. I would also like to say that if we cannot stand determined on ground for ourselves, how can we defend rights of others, hence lets stay put and keep on achieving our goals.

8. As an Additional Standing Counsel for DSIIDC, could you please share some advantages and disadvantages of being empanelled in government bodies? How has the experience shaped your career?

It is a dream come true for any advocate to be on panel of lawyers of a government body. Apart from DSIIDC, I am also on Panel of Delhi Government and Delhi Waqf Board. With government bodies, there is a huge issue in respect of response to different actions to be taken as even a small decision is taken after it passes through a hierarchy of people. There is a need of being focused and careful when you are working for a government body. If an official is not responding, you have to keep on following and make sure that the work is done. One should be very careful in making statements in the courtroom and nothing should be stated without instructions from the body you are representing.

Talking about DSIIDC, I started as a panel lawyer with the Revenue Division of the Corporation and I just forgot about the barrier between day and a night, while providing legal support to the same. I toiled very hard to streamline the records of the Corporation and the officials cooperated and worked along with me. In no time, we started getting favourable orders from the courts and I started getting cases of other divisions as well. Gradually appreciation from the higher officials started coming and with pace of time, I was made Additional Standing Counsel for DSIIDC. I think hard work of my whole team, blessings of all the loved ones, especially my parents Prof. M. Afzal Wani and Mrs Mubeena, support of my better half Advocate Md. Zaryab Jamal Rizvi and younger brother Mr Hilal Qutb Wani, really helped me to reach at the position that I am today. Once when I met one of the higher officials, he asked me several times if I was Firdouse Wani, as he told me that the contents of the drafts and the opinions and the telephonic discussions we have had till then, appeared to be given by some senior old lawyer and he was not able to believe that a young woman can draft and talk like a pro at a younger age. It did make me a bit happy but at the same time, it reminded me of the times, when a client just looking at the age, refused to engage me and did not go for the expertise and the knowledge I had in respect of the field. I accept that the more experience you have the better you get but sometimes a younger mind can do what an experienced mind would not have thought of. I think people should stop thinking on these lines. I sometimes get blown away by the knowledge of young budding lawyers and interns, around me and I actually get to learn from them.

9. Apart from litigation, you have spent considerable time fighting pro bono cases concerning the rights of women and children. You have also been helping economically weak students pursue their dreams. Could you shed some light on that experience as well, especially since there is no financial remuneration?

I have always believed that money should not be a reason, for not fighting for justice and remaining uneducated. If a person has accepted injustice as his/her fate or a child is unschooled due to lack of money, then it is shame for humanity, at least for me in person it is.

While I was studying law, I worked as a volunteer with many organisations, dealing with cases of abuse against women and children and the condition of each and every victim impacted me in an inexplicable way. I promised myself to help those who keep on bearing injustice due to their financial situation and after I joined profession, I started taking some matters pro bono. We have Legal Services Authority and they are doing an amazing job. I think we need to have more of campaign programs to make people aware of the facilities provided by the authority and try that the same reaches to the masses.

I am fond of children and believe that the future of any civilisation should not be deprived of reading and dreaming big, hence I collaborated with several schools and through my law firm, I have been sponsoring the education of several students, for more than a decade. I remember when I was in college, I paid for a school kid's uniform using my own college fees and lying to my parents of losing money in the college. I should not have lied to my parents but I always have a smile on my face, whenever I remember that incident. Now when the Almighty has put me in a position where I can do a bit for the society, I think I am just full of gratitude and I am actually healing my own inner spirit and making my inner soul happy and full of peace when I do something for a child.