Can you share the journey that led you to pursue a career in law, starting from your education at Hidayatullah National Law University? What motivated you to choose law as a profession?
Honestly speaking I stumbled upon law by chance. I was always interested in humanities and social sciences but took up a Science in my plus 2. But I soon realised that I was not very good at it. A friend of mine then informed me that there are these institutions called the National Law Universities and people graduating for these institutions are getting well-paying jobs. It was the first time that CLAT was being conducted for admission to these colleges. I did some research and thought that it might suit my interest. So I must admit candidly that I chose law to avoid doing Engineering and was lured by the promise of a Fat Pay Cheque .
As an Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court of India, you’ve handled matters of constitutional and national importance. Could you discuss a specific case that stood out to you, and how it shaped your perspective on legal practice?
Ans. As an AOR one matter which really stood out for me was a case wherein My Client, who is an RTI Activist, was not being allowed to reside within the confines of a District on the basis of false FIR’s registered against him. The FIR’s were registered by the same people against whom action was being taken on the basis of representations made by My Client. The Supreme Court while allowing the Appeal observed and reiterated that the fundamental right of Free Movement and Residence across the Country cannot be curtailed on flimsy grounds.
Your experience involves representing clients in various High Courts, dealing with matters related to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Can you share insights into the challenges and strategies you often encounter in this area of law?
Ans. An Arbitration is nothing but a trial being conducted by a judge chosen by the parties and as per rules chosen by the parties. Therefore every Arbitration has to be approached in the same manner as one would approach a Trial before a Court of First Instance. As is the case with any Trial, even in Arbitration, it is of utmost importance that all the documents and facts, which are essential for establishing the claim, are brought on record. Even though it is said that one should not hide any facts from a doctor and a lawyer, however it is also a part of Human Nature to narrate only those facts which are beneficial to us. Therefore it is our job as lawyers to even extract those facts and documents, which are harmful to us so that we are not blindsided by them during the Arbitration. If you are thorough with your facts then all other challenges are manageable.
In your independent practice, you’ve represented clients before the National Company Law Tribunal and drafted appeals before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. How did this experience contribute to your understanding of corporate law and insolvency matters?
As a firm our primary focus is towards commercial litigation and naturally that includes litigation before the NCLT and the NCLAT. Since Insolvency Law is still at a fairly nascent stage, every case brings with it a new set of challenges. That also gives you the opportunity of contributing towards the Insolvency Jurisprudence as a whole. One case that stand out for us, which also then became a landmark judgment with respect to powers of NCLT under the IBC, is the case of E.S. Krishnamurthy v. Bharath Hi-tech Builders Ltd. We handled that case from the NCLT uptill the Supreme Court and therefore it is very close to our Hearts.
As an Associate at Gohil and Singh Law Chambers, you were involved in drafting and researching on petitions before the Supreme Court. Can you share a memorable case and the legal issues you tackled during that time?
Mr. Pradhuman Gohil, has played a big role in my development as a lawyer. I worked with him for four years and extensively worked on matters before the Supreme Court. There were several cases which helped me to hone my skills as a lawyer. However one case which stands out was a Criminal Appeal in which we were defending a person convicted for murder. The case was based purely on Circumstantial Evidence and primarily based on statements of witnesses. We prepared for that matter for over six months and the hearing went on for 3 weeks. That case had all the issues can can think of a in a Criminal Case, ranging from importance of a Statement under Section 313 CrPC, Completion of Chain in a case of Circumstantial Evidence, Veracity of the testimony of a Hostile Witness, etc.
During your association with the office of Mr. Ajit Kumar Sinha, Senior Advocate, you were involved in researching matters before the Supreme Court and High Courts. Can you elaborate on the types of cases you worked on and the legal principles you engaged with?
Mr. Ajit Kumar Sinha is my mentor in the profession. I did majority of my internships under him and eventually started my career with him. I worked under his guidance for 2 and a half year. During my time with Mr. Sinha, I had the opportunity to work on matters pertaining to mining laws, service laws, Land Laws, Tender Matters etc. I also had the opportunity to assist him in the Coal Scam Matter and the NJAC matter.
Given your diverse legal background, from constitutional matters to criminal law and commercial transactions, what advice would you offer to recent law graduates aspiring to build a versatile legal career and those interested in practicing law at a high level and dealing with matters of constitutional significance?
My Advice to recent law graduates to not restrict themselves to practising only in one area of Law. The Beauty of the profession lies in its diversity and therefore one must try and grab onto all the work that comes their way. One must be a jack of all trades, because that goes a long way at retaining clients. The aim has to be that for your Client you should be the one stop shop.
Every person has a different journey and one advice that a friend of mine once gave me is to not compare my journey with that of others. Law, and especially litigation, demands perseverance. You just need to stick around and give your hundred percent, and at the cost of sounding preachy, I must say that there are no short cuts.
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