Md. Kaleem Mohiuddin graduated from the University of Nagpur with a degree in law in 1994, subsequently working under a Senior Advocate for a short span. He then started practicing independently in civil as well as criminal cases and is currently Additional Public Prosecutor for Additional Assistant Sessions Court, Karimnagar.
In this interview Mr. Kaleem Mohiuddin talks to us about:
- His time at law school
- His journey in career building
- His interest in civil law
- Choosing litigation over Corporate companies
CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
I am a first generation lawyer in my family. I graduated in law from Nagpur university in 1994. I didn’t choose law for any specific reason, it happened to me. Currently I am a practicing lawyer in the district and session court of Karimnagar, Telangana. I used to represent clients in both civil as well as criminal cases. In 2015, I got appointed as an Additional Public Prosecutor for Additional Assistant Sessions Court, Karimnagar for three years. I am presently representing police cases as well as other civil cases.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, FROM YOUR COLLEGE LIFE, HELPED YOU THE MOST TO BECOME WHAT YOU ARE NOW?
I am glad I pursued my legal education from University of Nagpur for the practical exams that we had for 200 marks unlike other universities with no such similar weightage. The marks for practical exams were divided equally between thesis writing and the rest for participating in Moot Court, working for Legal aid camps, attending Lok Adalats and visiting courts to see proceedings under the guidance of a practicing advocate. Now, without this particular examination, I wouldn’t have been aware of crucial things like Lok Adalats and importance of legal aid camps. Also, I made a thesis on Relevance of Facts in Indian Evidence Act. The number of sections it contained not only made it confusing but also interesting. For this reason, I think it is very important for law colleges to have curriculum which includes practical exposure and the students should take advantage of it and gain as much knowledge as they can.
CAN YOU BRIEF US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AFTER ACQUIRING A DEGREE IN LEGAL STUDIES?
Before started practicing independently in 1996, I was as a junior advocate under Advocate E. Jaggareddy. Within a period of six months of working and learning under him, Mr. Jaggareddy had other engagements, thus he could rarely come to the office which made other junior advocates show up irregularly to the office. Irrespective, I used to be in the office every day and would attend the proceedings of all the cases taken up by us. I used to work hours together flipping pages of numerous books and files and study deeply, putting things together to find loopholes in cases. Judges who had not been so polite to be otherwise, started appreciating me and that is when I felt so encouraged and my confidence level got boosted up.
YOU SAID, YOU USED TO REPRESENT BOTH CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES, WHICH ONES DO YOU FIND MORE APPEALING?
I find civil cases interesting; it is not just because the office that I worked in dealt with civil cases but also because I find civil cases challenging. In civil cases, you have to prepare the case yourself but in criminal cases you only get to defend. Pointing out mistakes is an easy task but creating a proper case is not.
WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR LIKE? WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST PART OF BEING AN ADVOCATE?
I feel privileged to work for the state. Earlier, I used to represent the accused, while now I represent the complainant. The best part about being an Advocate and especially working for the state is the feeling that you get when you help providing justice to a needy person. Rendering services to the needy helps you feel better too. The immense satisfaction at that you can aid in providing justice to the person whose rights have been wrongfully infringed is something that can’t be expressed. As I have said, law happened to me, I am glad that it did. It makes me grow every day.
DID YOU EVER CONSIDER BECOMING A JUDGE? CAN YOU ALSO GIVE A REASON BEHIND IT?
I personally would not want to become a judge. The scope for development decreases as you become a judge. You definitely have a huge duty upon yourself to analyze the issue with reasoning and give your judgment, but the opportunity of applying appropriate laws and fighting is lost.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON LOK ADALATS?
I think Lok Adalat system is very important in a country such as India where the number of cases is really high. It is, in fact, one of the very important things that Indian judiciary was in need of because it can be conducted at suitable places, arranged at a short notice and can be conducted in local languages. It helps in dispensing a lot of cases in very less time; also, it is the best supplementary forum for victims for satisfactory settlement of their disputes. I too have settled a lot of cases in Lok Adalat. Lok Adalat has the competence to deal with a number of cases like Matrimonial disputes, Family court cases, Partition claims, Damage cases, Motor vehicle compensation claims, etc. It advances equal access of justice to all.
ARE THERE ANY CHANGES THAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN INDIAN LAWS OR LEGAL SYSTEM?
The way Indian judiciary is working for the justice of citizens is commendable. There are few things that should be taken care of. Filling of vacancies at the earliest is needed; also the inadequacy of staff and judges should be considered and taken into account. I would also want to see few changes in procedural laws. Civil Procedure Code was drafted in 1908 when we were under the British rule. The time has changed, we have become independent but we still are following the same old laws. Amendments have to be brought and a time should be fixed for the disposal of cases because there are numerous provisions in Indian laws that could be used by litigants with mala fide intention and cases are prolonged unnecessarily. Compensation procedure should be included in procedural law for long litigation.
DO YOU THINK MORE LAW STUDENTS SHOULD TAKE UP LITIGATION THAN GOING FOR CORPORATE WORK? WHY?
One should do what appeals to him, but looking at the present trend of law students preferring corporate world over litigation I think students should give themselves a chance to go fight a case in the court. With the kind of infrastructure, practical skills and exposure that law schools are providing now-a-days, students are lucky enough to have such facilities and they should be able to take up litigation which is not a very difficult task to them. One might not get cases in the very first days but one can definitely work under a senior lawyer, dedicate a year for understanding the procedure, making good social relations, networking and learning things. Corporate world might be amazing but so is practicing in a court. Practicing makes you feel that you are an integral part of the society. Also, students should take up the task of making a good image of advocates in the society. The other thing that I see is that most of the people think that one could earn more in corporate world, which isn’t true. One can earn enough by practicing before a court. After all, the satisfaction that you get is above anything else.
WHAT ARE THE TIPS THAT YOU WOULD GIVE OUR READERS, LAW STUDENTS?
I think students should have thorough knowledge of all the acts. One should be a regular reader and should take care about the appearance. You are not a common man, you are an Advocate. Know as many things as you can, appear decent because the major part of your profession is to provide guidance to others. Maintaining good relations with others is another important thing. Be cool and friendly. When you deal with a case, hear the client very carefully, understand the legal issue and go through the Acts. Refer precedents and get a good command over procedural laws. Don’t be an independent practitioner right after graduating from law school. Join an office under a senior Advocate. Choosing the right office and right person to work under is very important. Do not think of earning at the first instance. Develop your communication skills and network. Be positive in your profession. 90% of the society would talk about the negative aspects of your profession, but law is the best profession in the current scenario. After all, the best part about life is being satisfied and that is something that you can acquire by becoming a lawyer and helping people. Also, do not think of earning money. Money is a part of life and not life itself. Follow the right path, learn things, money will follow. Before anything, develop individuality.