“E-commerce in India is moving forward by leaps and bounds. With it , there are  bound to be cyber crimes”- Aviral Saxena, Advocate-on-Record at Supreme Court of India

This Interview has been published by Pragya Chandni and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you share the journey of how you decided to pursue a career in law,  especially with a focus on Government Litigation ? 

Firstly I would like to thank Superlawyer for this interview and convey  my deep appreciation for their endeavor. Law graduates would find my insights  useful while planning their professional journey. 

Being the second generation lawyer, law was the obvious choice as I have been  watching my father attending court. Also the fact that law is one such mechanism  which touches human lives .It is one such avenue which can bring about positive  changes in this inequitable world. 

I got through the National Law Institute University , (NLIU) Bhopal in 2007.I  started my practice at Allahabad High Court. After the elevation of my father as a  High Court Judge, I shifted to Delhi to practice at the Supreme Court in 2013.  One does not start with government litigation in the  formative years . I landed with ‘government panels’ after spending considerable  time in private practice. By God’s grace , I have been continuing the work for the past many years before the Supreme Court and different tribunals across Delhi. It’s  indeed a privilege to be part of a competent team of government lawyers where I  get to work on complex and high profile cases. I have gained considerable  experience while representing State Governments and Corporations. 

With extensive experience in dealing with both State Governments and  Corporations, can you highlight a particular case that has been the most  challenging or memorable in your career so far?

I have been extremely fortunate to have worked on a wide range of  cases.While every case I argue is close to my heart , but the one that stands out is  the service matter in which I appeared as a standing counsel on behalf of the Delhi  Transport Corporation before Delhi High Court. An Employee had resigned after  rendering 29 years of service.The court was inclined to grant relief on equitable  ground. I could successfully convince the court that the word “resignation” and  “voluntary retirement” cannot be used interchangeably in the case of an employee  and thus not entitled to retiral benefits. 

Another satisfying case has been of a gazetted government officer wherein I was  able to secure the quashing of criminal proceedings as well as divorce under  Article 142 of the constitution from the Supreme Court . There were multiple cases lodged by his wife in different districts. 

I have had the opportunity to assist the Senior Advocate/Advocate-on-Record(s) in several high profile cases like CBI autonomy ,Triple talaq Article 370 etc to  name a few. 

How did your academic background shape your perspective and  approach towards practicing law

Apart from my legal background , I believe my law school NLIU  played an important role in shaping my personality.Be it moot court participation or time bound completion of research papers involving rigorous research or  internships with top law firms have all contributed to my professional growth .  The interdisciplinary approach taught there has also enabled me to develop a  broader perspective which is helping me to diversify my practice .No wonder , I  never found any hurdles in adapting to the distinct practice culture of the Supreme  Court after shifting to Delhi from Allahabad (now Prayagraj) in 2013. I cracked  the Advocate-on-Record (AOR) exam in my very first attempt in 2019.

It has been an enriching experience to represent the Government of India ,Uttar  Pradesh and Uttarakhand before the Supreme Court of India. I also appear before  different High Courts like Allahabad , Chandigarh etc frequently. 

You have an LL.M. in Cyber Laws and have published articles in  prestigious journals. How has the specialization in Cyber Laws influenced  your practice, and what challenges do you often face in this dynamic field

After some years of practice, I wanted to pursue post-graduation  However it was not possible to leave active practice and pursue studies.  Coronavirus Pandemic provided me an opportunity to pursue a two year masters’  program in Cyber Laws from School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind  Singh Indraprastha University [GGSIPU], Delhi. These two years not only gave  me invaluable insights, but also provided me with an alternative perspective  that is going to benefit my career as a lawyer. 

E-commerce in India is moving forward by leaps and bounds. With it , there are  bound to be cyber crimes.We all have seen critically acclaimed web series  ‘Jamtara-Sabka Number Ayega’ where the phishing, a type of cybercrime, is undertaken in an organized manner by the village teenagers . I believe that the role of  Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the realm of cyber security looks promising.The  challenge remains to be seen in respect of effective implementation of AI systems  given the fact that such systems are going to be trained in safeguarding data. 

As an Advocate-on-Record, you’ve appeared before various courts and  tribunals, including the Supreme Court and High Courts. Could you share  some insights into the differences in presenting cases in these forums and  how you navigate through them?

I believe the approach varies from court to court.This is due to the fact that  the jurisdiction of each court is different . For instance, the Supreme Court is not  only the highest court of the land but also the final court of appeal.This mandates lawyers taking a different approach which one would not take before High Court  or Tribunal(s). It is like identifying the error committed by Court /Tribunal below  and presenting it in a limited time frame before Supreme Court judges. The case  with the High Court(s) is different as lawyers have the liberty to argue at length. 

Practice in Trial courts involve more procedure laws while Higher courts involve  mostly appellate or writ jurisdiction dealing with legal issues relating to  substantive law. Facts are the main weapon of choice before the Trial courts  while Higher courts deal with nuances of law.However, I would add a caveat.  Facts are the backbone of every case irrespective of courts involved and lawyers should always be well versed with them .If left to me , I would say that every case  is decided on the facts and law helps in unearthing the truth and reaching at the  correct conclusion to promote justice. 

Given your interest in writing articles and being invited by universities  to judge legal events, how do you balance your advocacy work with these  academic pursuits, and how do they complement each other in your  professional growth

Being an Advocate actually provides the satisfaction of directly  representing the ‘aggrieved’ before the court. Whereas writing legal articles or  mentoring law students reflect my commitment of giving back to the legal  fraternity. 

Both Advocacy and Academic pursuits might be distinct but they are essentially  complementary. Writing articles or mentoring allow me to engage with burning  legal topics on a broader scale. It provides me a platform to share my knowledge 

and insights with my peers. It would be wrong If I don’t admit that writing brings  about an in-depth understanding of the legal principles. Meeting ‘like-minded’ professionals is another advantage. 

Thus balancing practice with academic pursuits is challenging but immensely  fulfilling. 

You’ve worked with different government bodies, including the  Government of India and various state governments. What unique  challenges or considerations arise when representing government entities  compared to private clients

I have been appearing before the Supreme Court of India , Delhi High  Court, NCLT, NCLAT, and NCDRC. With over a decade of experience, I  personally feel that the case of Government bodies is often strong legally but  lacks either professional advice or proper representation. For instance, crucial  evidence is not adduced or documents vital for adjudication of the case are  not annexed before the Court/Tribunal(s) .Such instances have led to the  dismissal of cases before Supreme Court having financial ramifications. 

When entrusted with a case , I try my best to go through the records thoroughly  and ensure superfluous claims are nipped in the bud and genuine claims, if any ,  remain for adjudication. Professional fee offered by the Government bodies is although meager but the volume of cases give consistent opportunity to appear before the Courts which enhances one’s nuanced understanding of law , not to  forget court craft. 

Private clients on the other hand approach lawyers after taking painstaking  research about the reputation one enjoys in the market. I found such clients smart and attentive. But the problem crops up when it comes to managing their 

expectation especially at a place like the Supreme Court where the dismissal rate of  cases is high at the admission stage. 

I have been fortunate enough to get the best of both worlds. It has been so far a  transformative experience that has broadened my horizons and equipped me with  the skills necessary to handle extremely challenging propositions. 

As a Managing Partner of Avika Law Offices LLP, and with reported  judgments to your credit, what advice would you offer to law graduates  entering the profession, particularly those interested in government  litigation ? 

My journey from a law student to Managing Partner of Avika Law  Offices LLP has been a rewarding experience. I would urge law graduates aspiring to enter this dynamic profession to look for good mentors. It is extremely  important to have a good chamber in initial years which lays down a strong  foundation. Embrace lifelong learning considering the vastness of law as a  discipline. Constant updation is sine qua non .Go for additional qualifications to  hone skills .There are no shortcuts in this profession. Always uphold integrity.  

Lastly, frequent interaction with peers and legal professionals is a fruitful idea as

It provides both guidance and opportunities in the profession.

Get in touch with Aviral Saxena-

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