About the Competition
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow is hosting the 10th edition of the International Media Law Moot Court Competition in collaboration with SCC Online. Ever since the 1st edition in the year 2013, the student community of National Law University, Lucknow has put in days of focused effort to organise this moot court competition which acts as the University’s contribution to the mooting fraternity of National Law Universities. It is very encouraging to see the participation increase consistently with every passing year. This year will see participation from 32 teams including both National and International teams.The teams vie for 4 categories of awards – Winners with a prize money of INR 25000, Runners Up with INR 15000, Best Oralist and Best Memorial with INR 10000 each.
This year’s Moot problem has been drafted by Mr. Anindya Roy and Ms. Ishita Khare. Mr. Anindya Roy is an alumnus of National Law University, Lucknow and is now an Associate at Goodwin Proctor, London. Ms. Ishita Khare, an alumnus of National Law Institute University, Bhopal is a Senior Associate at Khaitan and Co. The Moot Court Competition has come to fruition through the untiring support and dedication of the University’s Moot Court Committee (MCC) headed by Joint Convenors, Arunima Athavale and Deeksha Anand of the 5th Year.
Day 1 – The Opening Ceremony
4:15 PM: The inaugural ceremony of the Competition was graced by the benign presence of Prof. (Dr.) Subir K. Bhatnagar, the Vice Chancellor of the University, and Dr. Prasenjit Kundu, Faculty Coordinator of the Moot Court Committee.
4:25 PM: The Vice Chancellor addressed the gathering, boosting the morale of all the participants. He talked about the importance of Moot Court Competitions in not only developing legal acumen but also being an important knowledge asset for law students. He thanked all the judges, SCC Online and declared the competition open.
5:15 PM: Mr. Chetan Singh Gill, Senior Manager, Eastern Book Company addressed the gathering and held an interactive session about how to access and use the SCC Online database. He also discussed the nuances of mooting, and its importance in law schools.
6:00 PM: The participants were briefed and after a short while the Match-ups were released post which Memorials were exchanged. The palpability in the meet was conspicuous, the participants left the meet with the mounting nervousness of presenting a case at court tomorrow.
7:45 PM: The judges inclusive of experienced senior advocates, partners and associates at reputed law firms, joined the meeting to be briefed on the moot proposition, marking scheme and other technical details
Mr. Anindya Roy and Ms. Ishita Khare, the problem drafters delivered an insightful speech explaining the issues centered around the Moot Proposition.
8:00 PM: A question and answer session was taken by the problem drafters regarding the issues related to the Moot Proposition.
The judges are ready for tomorrow to witness the preliminary round – 1, wherein 32 teams from the best law schools of the sub-continent present their case.
Day 2 – Preliminary Rounds and Quarter–Final Rounds
Preliminary Round 1 – 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Court Room 1: WBNUJS, Kolkata was up against Villa College, Faculty of Sharia and Law. The counsels were grilled by the judges to extract the most coherent arguments. The participants put up a brave face on as they answered the questions to the best of their ability in order to put forth their most convincing arguments. The judge focused on various peculiarities of law that prompted the participants to come up with several interesting arguments.
Court Room 2: Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar was up against BENNET University, Noida. The participants presented articulate arguments that convinced the judges as to their assertions, backed by the proper authority of law. The judges engaged in questioning regarding authorities and backing of international laws, which was dealt confidently by the counsels. The judges also engaged in procedural questioning. The judges focused on various peculiarities of law and international principles that prompted the participants to come up with several interesting arguments. The round came to an end with engaging rebuttals.
Court Room 5: Christ College, Bangalore had a challenging round against National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi. The participants presented their arguments in a well structured manner, The judges grilled the counsels in order to extract the most cogent arguments. The judges primarily focused on the legal backing of the arguments with relevant case laws and precedents. The participants put a brave face on and answered the questions articulately. Both counsels were asked to submit their prayers following their arguments. The participants gained invaluable experience in the art of answering the queries of the judges with precision and brevity.
Court Room 8: National Law University, Jodhpur was up against SASTRA University,Thanjavur. The participants presented articulate arguments in an attempt to solidify their contention. The participants were questioned by the judges in great detail. The participants gave well thought out answers that convinced the judges as to their assertions, backed by the proper authority of law. Both the teams were equally matched in research and it all came down to the skills of oral presentations.
Court Room 10: Manipal University, Jaipur was up against CLC, Delhi. The participants presented articulate arguments, backed by the proper authority of law. The judges engaged in some grilling questioning, which the participants answered to the best of their ability and the judges were thus thoroughly impressed. Both the teams were given the time extension of 3 mins and later they were engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side. Both the teams were equally matched in research and it all came down to the skills of oral presentations.
After an intriguing set of arguments by all of the teams, we have now arrived at the end of the first session of the Prelims.
Preliminary Round 2 – 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Court Room 1: DNLU, Jabalpur faced off against Symbiosis Law School, Noida in a competitive round. The judges engaged in constant questioning, which was dealt with confidence by the counsels. The counsels did their utmost to persuade the judges that their arguments were legally sound, otherwise they would have been reduced to mere conjecture. It was a battle between two premier law schools both equally placed in their research which ultimately came down to who could present their set of arguments in a more cogent and coherent manner.
Court Room 4: Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University were up against Nirma University, Ahmedabad. Before proceeding to the arguments, the judges asked the petitioners to summarize the facts of the case. The teams were well researched and presented convincing arguments to support the case on their respective sides. The judges questioned the participants on the particulars of the law, and international principles centered around the case at hand. After both the sides presented their arguments, they proceeded to the rebuttals.
Court Room 6: BENNET University, Noida faced Christ university, Bangalore and had tough battle. Both the teams presented a set of cogent and impressive arguments. The counsels were questioned by the judges multiple times, but it was dealt by both the sides confidently. The counsels answered the several queries of the judges with precision and brevity. The judges seemed pleased with the ancillary issues presented by the counsels to support their central argument. At the end both the sides engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side.
Court Room 8: National Law University Odisha squared up against the equally talented team of National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The participants presented well drafted arguments indicative of the thorough research carried out by them. The participants seemed well versed with the intricacies of the problem and were questioned by the judges on the particulars of the law and its authoritative backing. The participants answered to the best of their ability and the judges were thus thoroughly impressed. Following the arguments, the participants presented their rebuttals
Court Room 11: Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad v. Government Law College, Mumbai was a neck-to-neck round between two premier law schools. The court room saw the bustle as the counsel on behalf of the petitioners receives a round of questions from the Bench, which they answered to the best of their ability. Both the teams were given the time extension of 2 mins and later they were engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side. The feedback was enriching for both the teams.
Preliminary Round 3 – 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Court Room 1: DSNLU, Vishakhapatnam was up against TNNLU, Tamil Nadu. The participants presented articulate arguments that convinced the judges as to their assertions, backed by the proper authority of law. Both the teams had very competitive speakers. Both the teams engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side. Judges gave a very motivating and enriching feedback at the end to both the teams.
Court Room 2: Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat squared up against Presidency University, Bangalore in an intense round where the judges grilled the counsels on the intricacies of the moot problem and relevant legal provisions. The judge focused on various peculiarities of law that prompted the participants to come up with several interesting arguments. The participants answered to the best of their ability and the judges were thus thoroughly impressed.
Court Room 4: National Law School of India University, Bangalore and Symbiosis Law School, Pune faced each in a cutthroat round. Fine set of arguments were presented by both the sides accompanied with answering of questions presented by the judges in an attempt to make their respective cases stronger. The counsels presented their arguments with utmost clarity and coherence. The participants were questioned by the judges, and they answered the same with authorities and legal backing. The round came to a successful end after both the teams delivered their rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side.
Court Room 5: The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad v. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala was a close fight between two premier law schools. The participants presented their arguments in an attempt to make their case strong. The judges focused on various peculiarities of law that prompted the participants to come up with several interesting arguments. The participants gave thorough answers to the judges. Following the arguments, the participants presented the Rebuttals. The judges gave an inspiring feedback at the end and provided insight to the participants on how they can improve.
Court Room 8: NUSRL, Ranchi was up against GNLU, Gandhinagar. The court room saw an engaging round as the judges were asking numerous questions. The counsels attempted their best to try and satisfy the judges of the legal backing to their arguments Later they were engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side. Both the teams were equally matched in research and it all came down to the skills of oral presentations.
6:45 PM :The Quarterfinals Breaks
After a gruelling two rounds of tough questions and confident rebuttals the teams that have broken into the Quarterfinals of the 10th RMLNLU SCC Online International Media Law Moot Court Competition, with their iron clad cases are-
Tamil Nadu National Law University
National Law University, Odisha
Symbiosis Law School, Pune
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
Symbiosis Law School, Noida
Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University
Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
National Law University, Jodhpur
The Quarterfinals will begin shortly.
7:15 PM :The Quarterfinals
Court Room 1: Tamil Nadu National Law University were up against National Law University Odisha in the quarterfinals round being judged by Mr. Pushkar Anand Mr. Divyanshu Bhatt and Mr. Victor Das, all of whom are very experienced. The judges grilled both the sides with constant questioning over the binding value of legal provisions mentioned by the counsel. The judges asked several tricky questioned which were answered by the counsels in a tactful manner and this taught them the much-valued art of thinking on one’s feet. The round came to an end with clear rebuttals and sur-rebuttals presented by both the sides.
Court Room No. 2: The room witnessed the round between Symbiosis Law School, Pune and WBNUJS, Kolkata. The bench comprised of Mr. Hari Krishnan, Mr. Ravi Shanker Jha, and Mr. Kushal Bansal. The participants seemed exceptionally well versed with the facts and principles of law being applied to the case at hand. Mr. Hari Krishnan questioned the counsels on the principles of law extensively. The various tests applied by the counsels to satisfy the queries of the bench were indicative of the well-researched case being argued in the round. Both the teams were given the time extension of 3 mins and later they were engaged in prompt rebuttals and sur-rebuttals against the arguments presented by the other side.
Court Room No. 3 : Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University squared up against Symbiosis Law School, Noida. The round was judged by the learned bench comprising of Mr. Ishaan Madan, Mr. Ankit Yadav, and Ms. Kalyani Bhide. The round began with the Team from SLS Noida presenting its arguments. The counsel was asked to throw some light on the facts of the case. Following which the team was questioned thoroughly with respect to International Law. The counsel answered the questions with proper legal backing and sound legal principles. The team from BHU showed great zeal in presenting their arguments and dealt with all the questions thrown at them. This round brought out several interesting insights into the characteristics of the problem and their argumentation. Following the rounds the judges gave valuable feedback to the participants in order to help them overcome their shortcomings
Court Room 4: The room saw Gujrat National Law University going up against National Law University, Jodhpur. Mr. Anindya Roy, Mr. Ramesh Kumar and Mr. Rishi Mishra were on the bench that posed a series of questions which put the participants in a position to think and come up with the most convincing of arguments. Both sides were confident and articulate in presenting their sides before the judges. The round came to an end with a brief and crisp set of rebuttals and sur-rebuttals.
The rounds came to end with teams from National Law University Jodhpur, Symbiosis Law School, Pune, Symbiosis Law School, Noida, and Tamil Nadu National Law University qualifying for the semifinals. They left the meet with excitement and nervousness for the big day tomorrow.
Day 3 – Semi-Finals and Final Rounds
12:00 PM: The Semi-Finals
Court Room No. 1 : The match-up between National Law University, Jodhpur and Symbiosis law School, Pune was an extraordinary display of skills of in-depth legal research and oral argumentation. Judged by the learned bench comprising of Ms. Ruchira Goel, Mr. Samar Kachwaha and Mr. Anindya Roy. Both the teams were given a time limit of 45 minutes each to present their arguments including rebuttals, the petitioners took an extension of 23 minutes, while the respondents took an extension of 13 minutes. The petitioners and respondents both started their arguments with the issue of maintainability. The teams presented international authorities before the bench to strengthen their case. The judges questioned the teams on the fundamental principles of international law when the speakers were arguing using the principles of freedom of speech expression under international law, judges and were precise in seeking loopholes in their narratives by trying to catch every mis-step of the counsels, which were responded to by both the teams to their best capacity. Both the teams were equally matched in their attempt to present strong and clear cases to the judges. The judges also asked the teams about their locus standi. The judges were well versed with the moot proposition and time and again referred to the same to ask the counsels questions referring to the same. The judges seemed pleased with the ancillary issues presented by the counsels to support their central argument. The round was reflective of the participant’s thoroughness of the law applied. By covering the finer points of the law, all four counsels covered all possibilities and contingencies to the case at hand and hence concluded a hard-fought semi-final round.
Court Room 2: Tamil Nadu National Law University versus Symbiosis Law School, Noida was a fierce round of arguments and counter-arguments. The bench comprised of Mr. Nadeem Murtaza, Mr. Akash Prasad and Ms. Ishita Khare. The round began with the Team from SLS presenting their arguments. The counsel was asked to summarize the facts of the case before proceeding with the arguments. The judges grilled the participant regarding the facts mentioned in the moot proposition. Prachi Shreskar (speaker 2) was questioned in great detail regarding the statutes of the International Court of Justice and the significance of national symbols. The team from SLS concluded their arguments with a total extension of 25 minutes. The team from TNNLU was questioned thoroughly with respect to defamation. The participants answered the questions tactfully and provided the judges with the answers they were looking for. Mr. Aakash Prasad asked well-structured questions in order to gauge the knowledge of facts. The team concluded their arguments with an extension of 15 minutes. The counsels had to balance time-management with the plethora of issues to be dealt with. Fine speaking skills were put on display by the participants. The teams cited various authorities to back their arguments, to the satisfaction of the bench and as a counter to the contentions of the opposing counsels. It was a closely contested round which came down to the rebuttals in the final minutes of the round. The round was hard fought, adding to the anticipation of the results.
2:45 PM: The much awaited results of the Semi-finals have been declared, the teams making it to the Finals of 10th RMLNLU SCC Online International Media Law Moot Court Competition are –
National Law University, Jodhpur
Tamil Nadu National Law University
3:00 PM: The Final Round
The applicant, Tamil Nadu National Law University presented their submissions first –
The proceedings started with agent 1 giving a brief submission of facts for the perusal of the judges.
The speaker then went on to systematically list out the issues to be argued by the counsel and the co-counsel hence lending a comprehensible structure to the method of argumentation.
The first argument presented by the petitioners was that the current dispute in Issue-I is mainitable in front of the court. The counsel referred to Article 36(1) of the statute of ICJ in their first leg of arguments. In addition to all this it was argued that the court has jurisdiction over the presidential order passed, as both the parties are members of WTO and signatories of GATT. The judges questioned the agent regarding the jurisdiction and the type of International Law which is being applied in the present case. The judges also questioned whether a case of such commercial nature has ever been presented before ICJ and not WTO at any prior instance.
The petitioner answered the question by citing the case of Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America, which led to further questioning by the judge over the relevancy of the cited case in the present matter.
The judge then asked the counsel to define defamation against the state, the counsel defined the same using international law and said that this issue will be dealt with by the other speaker and moved on to the next issue i.e. freedom of speech and expression enshrined both in the Winlandan constitution and the International Law. The judge questioned the counsel over the locus on the issue, the counsel answered the same by talking about the erga omnes obligations that it draws from the UN Charter and ICCPR. The petitioner further argued about the merits of the ban, and how the ban does not fulfill the restriction by applying the 3 part test prescribed under article 19 of the ICCPR. The arguments under which were –
Not prescribed by law
Lack of Legitimate aim
And it is not necessary and disproportionate.
The judge asked the counsel to elaborate what facet of public international law has been violated, and how do they relate the state law with the international law, which was answered by the counsel.
The counsel dealt with the queries raised by the learned bench, gracefully and the court mannerisms and etiquettes were on full display during the course of argumentation.
The speaker started her submission by highlighting the 4th issue, which is – Whether the ban on Chirp under the Presidential Order is tenable under the principles of International law. And talked about the most favored nation treatment that the member nations of WTO get.
The judges mentioned to the counsel that of the entire case of the petitioner s is merely based on trade disputes then why is wto not the correct forum for them and why have then approached ICJ, the counsel answered the same by clarifying that the case is not merely a trade disputes but includes more aspects than that.
The counsel argues that no good faith exception can be made in the present instance as time and again president palapatine has made anti qinquestian statements.
Then the counsel moved to make submissions on the issue of defamation and submitted that they are aware that there is no distinct definition of defamation of state hence they said they shall rely on Domestic laws and 38(1)(c) of statute of International Court of Justice, and they interpreted attributability from the same.
The counsel pointed out that an Additional context that needs to be considered is that in sickness runerians were being considered super spreaders who are majority in the country.
Therefore, by providing a wide perspective of the general narrative argued by the Plaintiff’s the co-counsel rested their case.
The Respondents National Law University, Jodhpur presented the counter arguments next –
After a stellar performance by the petitioners, the counsel for the respondent had their work cut out for them.
The counsel on behalf of the respondent started by laying down their course of action for their submissions and said that they would discuss the first 2 issues.
Their first submission was around the issue of jurisdiction and maintainability of the court in the present case. The respondents said that the dispute is not maintainable before the court as the court does not have the jurisdiction.
The counsel presented that Art. 42(1)(b) provides that a state party can refer the matter of alleged violation of provisions of ICCPR by another state party to the Human Rights Committee established under Art. 28(1) for the same purpose which has exclusive jurisdiction ,ICCPR does not confer jurisdiction upon ICJ and any dispute involving an alleged violation of human rights treaty as the subject matter cannot be adjudicated before this court and the same is not admissible, special jurisdiction will prevail and and this court will not have jurisdiction over the same.
The case of Jadhav (India v. Pakistan) was cited by the speaker, but the judges questioned the relevance of the case in the present situation as that case was about consular access. Iran v United states was also mentioned and judges questioned them about the facts, but the respondents were unaware of the same which was not appreciated by the judges. Further the judges asked the counsel for the authority which was answered by the counsel by citing the case of Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America which led to further cross questioning around the facts and principles of the same.
Then the agent presented that defamation of state does not fall within any of the 3 sources of law presented by the petitioners, and hence the matter does not fall within the subject matter jurisdiction of this court.
The agent submitted that the present case fulfills the 3 part test under article 19 of ICCPR i.e.
Prescription by law
Necessity and Proportionality
The judges questioned them on the aspect of national security, and asked them to not only rely on the facts but also mention the law to know the basis of the exception, which was then dealt with by the speaker.
Then the respondents submitted that the misinformation from the app led to ostracization of minorities, problems in hospitals, and the judges questioned the respondents on the same as it was their people using a foreign app spreading misinformation against their own people which was allowed by them themselves and now they are accusing a foreign entity of the same, which was dealt by the speaker.
Then the counsel moved on to their last argument about proportionality. With this the counsel rested their case and handed the podium to the co-agent.
The second speaker on behalf of the respondents presented the third, fourth and fifth issue of the case.
They submitted that neither the external self determination nor Internal self determination can be attributed in the present case.
The case of Guinea v Democratic Republic of Congo was cited by the counsel to strengthen their arguments.
They submitted that the ban on chirp was effectuated for national security and public interest reasons, the judge then inquired as to why this app was allowed to operate in the country earlier.
Upon questioning by the judges the counsel submitted that the ban of chirp deals with all the issues such as miniformation, national security threat and hence if the ban on chirp is upheld by the court they would not approach the court again for the same claims. However, the judges still were not convinced with the issue of maintainability in the present case.
Then the respondent moved to argue the merits of the case.
The judges asked for the recourse that the respondents have for all the rights that have been violated, the speaker answered the same briefly.
In order to prove the legitimate aim of the measure it is contended that there were several aims in the mind of the government like National security- national intelligence law required all organs to cooperate with the QCP regarding data collection.
The counsel brought to notice Article 7 of National Intelligence Law Of The Socialist Republic Of Qinques states that The National Intelligence Law requires all Qinquestian enterprises and organizations to cooperate with the QCP in terms of data and information sharing with the government.
The judges questioned the agent on their domestic laws, their intricacies and application in the present case.
The counsel for the petitioner then proceeded with the following rebuttals:
The first being that Clause 3b of the global financial powers act on pg 8 of clarification does not provide power to the president to curb free speech.
The second being that the Special committee report did not ever actually recommend that the app needs to be banned and is an act of legislative overreach.
The petitioner further submitted that the Unfortunate events that happened in private hospitals show no proof of any action taken by the government. Moreover, the Internal problems cannot be termed as national security, failure of govt to handle the situation is being labeled as a threat to national security.
The respondent then proceeded with the following Sur- rebuttals:
The counsel submitted that the Supreme Court has interpreted statutory provision and held it valid in terms of powers of the president.
The agent further submitted that Privacy of individuals was getting hampered, and hence the action was needed.
The arguments of the both the sides, concluded, the bench now had to make a decision.
5:00 PM – The Closing Ceremony and Declaration of Results
Nervousness hung in the air as the teams joined the meeting for the declaration of results. After a brief address by Mr. Atul Kumar Tiwari, acting Vice Chancellor of the university wherein he welcomed everyone to the 10th edition of RMLNLU SCC Online International Media Law Moot Court Competition and thanked our sponsors for the support they have given to this competition from the last 10 years. He thanked the problem drafters for drafting a problem that dealt with such contemporary issues. Then an address was delivered by our Guests of honour Mr. Rahul Goel, Mr. Murali Neelakantan,and Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee, Justice S. S. Shamshery who gave valuable feedback to the participants. They emphasized that one must give more time researching and less time rehearsing.
The results of the 10th RMLNLU SCC Online International Media Law Moot Court Competition were declared –
Best Memorial – Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
Best Speaker – Symbiosis Law School, Noida, Aakshat Khetrapal
Runner’s Up – National Law University, Jodhpur
Winner – Tamil Nadu National Law University
Tamil Nadu National Law University won the the RMLNLU SCC Online International Media Law Moot Court Competition and thus concluded another successful edition of the sub-continent’s most reputed Moot on International Media Law.