Can you share a bit about your background and upbringing, especially how you ended up pursuing law as a career?
My journey into the field of law is somewhat unconventional, rooted in an upbringing that seamlessly blended athleticism and a commitment to education. Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, I was born in Bangalore and received my education in Patiala, Chandigarh, and Delhi, reflecting the diverse cultural influences that shaped my worldview.
My parents, with my father being a Dronacharya Award Winner in Judo and my mother serving as the Chief Judo Coach with Sports Authority of India for over 35 years, instilled in me the values of humility and hard work. The mantra that ‘hard work has no substitute’ became a guiding principle, thanks to my father’s wisdom.
Initially immersed in a promising career in sports, representing Himachal Pradesh in various BCCI tournaments from U-15 to U-23 levels, my trajectory took an unexpected turn due to a sports-related injury. This setback prompted a moment of introspection, leading me to re-evaluate my career path.
Amidst the contemplation, the decision to transition into law emerged organically. Inspired by a desire to push beyond my comfort zone and propelled by the encouragement of my parents, I embarked on the journey to become an advocate. This shift was marked by rigorous preparation for the Delhi University entrance exam, which I successfully cleared, ultimately choosing to enrol at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University.
It was during my time at CLC that I discovered the rich legacy of its alumni, further deepening my appreciation for the profession I had serendipitously found myself in. In retrospect, I didn’t so much choose law as it chose me, a realization that has fuelled my commitment to excellence and continuous growth in the legal field.
I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities that shaped my journey, and I carry forward the invaluable lessons of discipline, resilience, and dedication instilled in me through my unique blend of experiences. Today, as a seasoned lawyer with nine years of experience, I draw upon both my sporting and legal backgrounds to approach challenges with a well-rounded perspective and unwavering determination.
You completed your LLB from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. What factors influenced your decision to study law, and were there specific experiences during your academic years that shaped your interest in the legal field?
Honestly, after cricket I had no other option but to choose law, there is no specific reason or any decision that influenced me to study law.
I pursued my LLB at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, and my journey into the legal field was somewhat unconventional. Having initially aspired to pursue a career in cricket, the transition to law emerged organically.
In my first year, following the advice of my seniors to enjoy the initial phase, I focused on grasping the fundamentals and keeping a balance between academic studies and my passion for cricket. It was during this time that I discovered a genuine interest in Criminal Law, sparking the beginning of my journey in the legal domain.
As I progressed into my second year, subjects such as Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Civil Procedure captivated my attention, deepening my understanding and enthusiasm for the legal intricacies. An internship experience further exposed me to the practical aspects of legal work, where I engaged in clerical tasks, gaining invaluable insights into the operational side of the profession.
The turning point came in my third and final years of college when I made a conscious decision to fully commit to my legal studies. Realizing that my cricketing aspirations were taking a back seat, I explored potential career paths. A pivotal moment occurred in March 2015 when a senior connected me with an internship at Luthra and Luthra, providing me with a firsthand experience of the legal profession.
Simultaneously, a subsequent internship with Mr. KTS Tulsi, Senior Advocate, in April further solidified my interest in law. The dynamic and challenging nature of the work at both offices fueled my passion, ensuring that each day was intellectually stimulating.
The opportunities I got was only because of cricket which landed me to my internships, which shaped my professional trajectory. These experiences have not only enriched my legal knowledge but have also instilled in me a deep sense of commitment and enthusiasm for the legal field.”
You’re currently engaged in independent legal practice, handling a diverse range of cases. Can you walk us through the pivotal moments that led to your decision to transition from working with law firms to establishing your independent practice?
Embarking on my legal journey, my initial exposure to the legal profession unfolded through internships at Luthra and Luthra, a prominent law firm, and later under the guidance of Mr. KTS Tulsi, Senior Advocate. These experiences, though disparate, were pivotal in shaping my journey as a lawyer.
During my stint in a law firm, the routine was structured, demanding undivided attention to assigned tasks within the confines of an office. However, my subsequent internship with Mr. Tulsi, Senior Advocate, introduced me to a different world—a dynamic blend of courtroom advocacy and after court management. Witnessing the strategic use of skills, experience, and court craft to win cases ignited a profound fascination within me.
Despite the allure of firm remuneration, I recognized a deeper passion for the courtroom. The prospect of being confined to an office space without the vibrancy of court experiences did not resonate with my vision for a fulfilling legal career. Driven by a belief instilled in me since childhood—that hard work paves the way to success—I transitioned to LawRato, where I honed my communication skills with clients. However, the confinement of a firm environment eventually led me to seek a more dynamic setting.
Gratefully, I found mentorship under Mr. Jaspreet Singh Rai, a period that contributed significantly to my growth and gave me a fair bit of experience in Trial Court. Destiny smiled upon me when I secured a position at the Chambers of Mr. Tulsi, a dream opportunity by the support of Mr. Amit Sharma and Mr. Raj Kamal.
Before venturing into independent practice, I had the privilege of working with Mr. Karan Bharihoke, Advocate-on-Record who played a transformative role in shaping me from a novice into a confident, independent lawyer. His mentorship instilled in me the courage to appear before the court and the resilience needed to pursue my goals.
You’ve had significant experience in handling high-profile cases, including criminal matters, civil matters, and more. Could you share a challenging or notable case that you’ve worked on and the lessons you learned from it?
In my not so extensive legal career spanning nine years, I’ve had the privilege of handling some high profile cases, each carrying its own weight of significance. High-profile cases, in particular, demand a heightened level of diligence and responsibility, given the elevated stakes involved for both the client and the legal representative.
Throughout my journey, I’ve had the honor of collaborating with seasoned advocates and independently handling noteworthy cases. One such pivotal experience that stands out is my involvement in the Nirbhaya Case (Appeal) at the Supreme Court, where I assisted my senior who was representing the parents. The magnitude of this case not only underscored the gravity of criminal law but also provided me with a profound insight into the nuances of Supreme Court procedures.
This experience served as a springboard for my subsequent work, notably in preparing and drafting the Petition in the Arushi Talwar Case. The lessons gathered from these high-profile cases have been instrumental in deepening my understanding of criminal laws and honing my legal skills.
I am deeply appreciative of the trust placed in me by seniors, which has been a constant source of motivation throughout my career. Every case, regardless of its nature, has been a stepping stone for my professional growth. I firmly believe that embracing and learning from each experience is imperative for continuous development as legal professionals.
In essence, my journey has been shaped by a commitment to excellence, a deep appreciation for the opportunities afforded to me, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of every legal experience.
You’ve worked with esteemed advocates such as Mr. KTS Tulsi, Mr. Harin P. Raval, and others. How has mentorship played a role in shaping your career, and what advice do you have for young lawyers in finding the right mentors?
In this profession finding the right mentor is what every young lawyer would dream. In my legal career, the significance of mentorship has been profound and instrumental. I have had the privilege of working alongside distinguished advocates such as Mr. KTS Tulsi, Mr. Harin P. Raval, Mr. Karan Bharihoke, and Mr. Raj Kamal, each of whom has played a pivotal role in shaping my professional journey.
The mentorship I received from Mr. Bharihoke and Mr. Kamal, spanning the entirety of my career, has been invaluable. Their guidance has not only illuminated the path but has been a constant source of support during challenging times. I consider them beacons of wisdom, always approachable for clarifications, and ready to provide insights into the intricacies of the legal profession.
Reflecting on my experience, I would advise young lawyers to seek mentors who not only possess exceptional legal acumen but are also genuinely invested in nurturing the next generation of legal professionals. The essence of a good mentor lies in their ability to impart knowledge, offer constructive criticism, and share their practical experiences. A mentor should be someone who sees beyond the professional competition, taking the time and effort to contribute to your growth.
I am deeply appreciative of the guidance I have received, and it has instilled in me the importance of paying it forward. As a seasoned practitioner, my advice to young lawyers is to actively seek mentorship, be receptive to constructive feedback, and cultivate relationships with mentors who prioritize your professional development. In doing so, not only will you acquire valuable skills and insights, but you will also contribute to the perpetuation of a culture of mentorship within the legal community.
From your perspective, how would you describe the current legal landscape in India, especially in areas like economic offenses, commercial dispute litigation, and recent legal developments? How has technology impacted the practice of law in recent years?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective on the current legal landscape in India, particularly in the areas of economic offenses, commercial dispute litigation, and recent legal developments.
The landscape of economic offenses in India has seen significant changes in recent years. The country has witnessed legislative developments aimed at addressing white-collar crimes, with a focus on laws such as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. These laws, along with the Companies Act, 2013, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860, form the backbone of India’s regulatory framework against economic offenses. In 2023, pivotal judicial decisions brought clarity and precision to the nuanced aspects of money laundering, including territorial jurisdiction, bail eligibility, and the procedural obligations of enforcement agencies.
Commercial dispute litigation in India has also evolved, with the establishment of specialized commercial courts designed to provide efficient and timely resolution of conflicts. These courts employ case management techniques to streamline proceedings and encourage parties to explore alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration before proceeding to trial. The trend towards alternative dispute resolution methods is increasingly being embraced by companies in India.
Recent legal developments in India have been multifaceted, reflecting the complexity of the challenges faced by the nation. The legal system plays a pivotal role in addressing economic and social disparities, with ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable society. The Supreme Court and High Courts have been active in shaping the legal landscape, with rulings on a wide range of issues.
Technology has had a profound impact on the practice of law. It has streamlined processes, improved access to legal resources, and enabled more efficient communication. In the context of commercial courts, technology integration has been instrumental in promoting a more effective dispute resolution process.
Drawing from my nine years of experience in the legal field, I would advise aspiring lawyers to stay abreast of these evolving trends and developments. It’s crucial to understand the interplay between law and technology, and to adapt to the changing dynamics of the legal profession. Always strive for excellence, but remember that the pursuit of justice should be at the heart of all we do as legal professionals.
In conclusion, the legal landscape in India is dynamic and evolving, shaped by legislative developments, judicial precedents, and the integration of technology. As legal professionals, we must navigate these changes with diligence, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to justice.
You’ve been involved in cases that have gained public attention, such as the Aarushi Talwar Murder Case. How do you manage the pressure and public scrutiny that comes with handling high-profile matters?
Each case, regardless of its prominence, brings unique challenges and learning opportunities. Drawing from my sports background, I understand the importance of timing – knowing when to start and when to stop. This philosophy translates into legal practice, emphasizing a focus on the task at hand.
Handling high-profile cases, like the Aarushi Talwar Murder Case, demands a blend of professional poise and personal resilience. Recognizing the inevitable pressure and public scrutiny, my approach revolves around a practical mindset.
I prioritize client objectives over the name of the case, steering away from unnecessary pressure. Overthinking is counterproductive. Trust in thorough preparation and professional competence forms the foundation of my approach.
Anytime you appear before a court, you always have butterflies running through your stomach. But my only mantra is not to think much and deal with every case as it comes. My experience in high-profile cases underscores the need for a strategic and composed outlook. Success hinges on maintaining professional rigor while navigating the intense scrutiny, much like delivering a top-tier performance in sports.
Having excelled academically, how do you balance the theoretical knowledge gained in law school with the practical challenges faced in the legal profession? What advice do you have for fresh law graduates entering the field?
Honesty, Patience and Hard Work is the advice I shall give fresh law graduates entering the field. In my experience, I’ve noticed a shift among interns and young lawyers, with some placing undue emphasis on stipends and remuneration rather than on learning and professional growth. (I know the younger generation would not like this part). Patience is paramount in our field; the legal profession offers boundless opportunities for those who approach it with dedication and a long-term perspective.
Hard work, another cornerstone of success, involves staying focused on your goals, mastering procedural intricacies, understanding the law thoroughly, and presenting your cases with unwavering commitment. Success, I believe, is an outcome of consistent, diligent effort.
Addressing the evolving nature of law, it’s imperative to keep abreast of daily developments in statutes and judgments. However, the true essence of this profession manifests in the courtroom—where legal theories transform into practiced skills, confidence, and court craft.
For aspiring legal professionals, my advice is to approach each day as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and refine your skills. Embrace courtroom experiences as they come; there’s an undeniable beauty in the synthesis of theory and practice. As you navigate this dynamic field, you’ll discover the profound fulfilment that stems from a genuine passion for the law.
I encourage new entrants to the legal field to embrace this journey wholeheartedly, with humility, and to derive satisfaction not only from personal achievements but also from contributing positively to the legal community.
Considering your achievements and experience, what advice would you like to offer to fresh law graduates who are embarking on their legal careers today? If there’s one piece of advice you wish you had received at the beginning of your career, what would it be?
I am still learning and I have a lot to achieve in life. As a friend who possesses a little bit of experience over the others who would be graduating soon or have entered the profession.
Reflecting on my own journey, if there’s one piece of advice I wish I had received at the outset of my career, it would be to find joy in the process of learning. This profession is dynamic and ever-evolving, presenting opportunities for growth at every turn. By immersing oneself in the school of learning, one not only acquires knowledge but also cultivates a mindset that views every experience as a valuable lesson.
I often share the sentiment that in the legal profession, you never truly lose – you consistently gain insights that contribute to your professional evolution. Aspiring legal professionals should approach their careers with a clear vision, a full commitment to the journey, and an unwavering determination to learn from every experience. In the words of a mantra I hold dear, ‘Clear Eyes, Full Heart Can’t Lose.’
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