Saturday, August 26, 2017

Diary Entries - Part 5

April 1977 - Change of regime: With the coming of Janta Party into power at the center and swearing in of Shri Morarji Desai as the Prime Minister of India, there is a change in the air of Supreme Court. Niren De, Attorney General for India, has been replaced by S.V.Gupte, as Attorney General for India, he is an exceptionally respected Senior Advocate with a suave, sophisticated and aristocratic demeanor, Lal Narain Sinha Solicitor General of India has been replaced by Shri S.N.Kacker as the Solicitor General, a Senior Advocate from Allahabad, who like my father was short heighted and healthy and suffered from asthama as did my father. Shri Shanti Bhushan, a Senior Advocate from Allahabad, who had earned a great name and fame in appearing against Smt. Indira Gandhi in her election matter, was sworn in as the Law Minister replacing Mr. H.R.Gokhale, whose admission to SCBA was seriously objected to Shri C.K.Daphtry, Senior Advocate,  a doyen of Supreme Court being former Attorney General of India and known for his great wit was the President and Shri B.R.Agarwal, who was a partner of Gagrat & Co. and had done a book on Supreme Court Practice and Procedure and who was a very close friend of my father was the Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Lunch in the chambers of Mr. B.P. Maheshwari: Shri B.P. Maheshwari, an elderly advocate, having chamber on the right of our chamber in the front, was an old acquaintance of my father. In fact my father as an advocate was getting his cases filed through him as Advocate on Record. He was a very affectionate and a practical person. When I met him in the corridors of Supreme Court, he asked me to come into his chamber. As I met him in his chambers he inquired me as to where I was taking my lunch and I told him that I took a full breakfast and ate dinner when I go back home. Mr. Maheshwari candidly told me that, that did not work. The tendency was to eat ‘samosa or pakora’ in the canteen when one felt hungry and that was not good for health at all. He told me that there was a ‘tiffinwalla’ who was bringing tiffins consisting of 4 home made chappaties, daal, rice, one vegetable everyday and included kheer on Friday and that it would cost Rs.1.75 per tiffin per day and insisted that I must take lunch in his chamber, for I was like his son. This was one of the best solutions for my lunch I could have got. I used to reach home by 10 pm and used to take a bite in the Supreme Court canteen in the noon during lunch and evening after court hours. The routine was further set, now I had my lunch in the chamber of Mr. B.P. Maheshwari, with his junior Mr. Sethi and Ms. Rafat Hashmi, a lady lawyer from Delhi. Mr. B.P. Maheshwari’s son R.K.Maheshwari was an Advocate and was in USA. In spite of my several inquiries he did not tell me anything about him and went silent and his eyes went wet, whenever I talked to him about the issue. Someday I will know about the same 
    Supreme Court had delivered 54 judgments in 1950 and 78 judgments in 1951. Interestingly though Supreme Court Reports (SCR) was the Official Law Reporting Series by virtue of Law Reporting Act, 1875, but all the judgments of Supreme Court were not published in SCR. SCR published only reportable judgments, but since all judgments of Supreme Court were binding by virtue of Article 141 of the Constitution, a large number of judgments not published in SCR were published in All India Report a private publication from Nagpur since 1914. For 1950 out of 54 judgments, SCR published 40, AIR published 13 and 1 was published in Cr.L.J.  My father’s library had the complete set of AIR since 1914 and we used to religiously clean them during summer vacations and put brown paper covers on them, as I was doing for my school books.  AIR was publishing judgments of all the High Courts in India and we used to number each one of them so that they can be placed in series in the book racks and were not lost when carried with the cases to the court. 
    Apart from Indian and Foreign text books on all subjects, AIR Manual and Halsbury Laws of England, Ramamurthy & Co had subscribed for several other publications like Cr.LJ, LLJ, SLR,  a recent publication introduced since 1969 was of Supreme Court Cases (SCC) and then there were cyclostyled judgments circulated by the Supreme Court Bar Association, every week. All ER (All England Report) like AIR was a private publication, while WLR (Weekly Law Reports) was the Official Series, US Law Reports Lawyers Edition, Australian Law Reports and Commonwealth Law Reports (Canada), Howard Law Review were also there. There was an independent section for bare Acts arranged alphabetically and loose volumes of the latest law reports.
    One thing which struck me was the fact that Mr. S.C.Agrawal, before leaving for conference with Mr.R.K.Garg or for the court, would briefly brush through the loose volumes and cyclostyled copies of latest judgments. I soon realized that one of the major issue during the hearing of the matter was, when the Hon’ble judge would ask the appearing senior advocate, if he has looked into the latest judgment delivered by the Supreme Court and it was very discomforting for the Senior Advocate if he had not. It was more embarrassing if the Judge would say that the judgment cited at the bar has been reconsidered recently and he must have a look into it.  The judgments were delivered every day and were not available unless circulated by SCBA or published in a law report. To be respected advocate, it was imperative, to keep abreast with every judgment of the Supreme Court, before going to the court to avoid any humiliation or uncomfortable situation of any sort.
    If a judgment was reported in SCR, the court would insist on citing SCR only. There was one Shri Gopi, an old librarian in SCBA, who had published a conversion table from AIR to SCR and SCR to AIR, which was quite in demand and use. Whenever a list of judgments to be cited before the court was given to the SCBA library to bring the books to the court, the SCBA library staff would get corresponding SCR with proper flags to the court. There was also an encyclopedia of Supreme Court judgments, which was very helpful to get the citations by name of the case alphabetically. 
Another important issue for an esteemed advocate, was his capacity to keep constant  track of follow up and over-ruled judgments. Mr. Ashok K. Sen, who had a better library than Supreme Court Judges Library, for he had some English Law Reports, not even available in the Supreme Court Judges Library, had in pencil marked on his personal law reports the citation of the judgments in which the judgment was followed, distinguished, referred, overruled, etc, like a ready referencer. He was also the law minister of India from (1957 to 1966 - Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet). Mr. S.C.Agrawal had it all in his memory which was updated every day along with judgments from UK, USA, Australia and Canada and that is the unmatchable bedrock and strength of Ramamurthy & Co. Several advocates, came and asked Shri S.C.Agarwal about the latest judgments on any issue, which he told with a great smile, which he was always bearing. Finding precedents on the issue in hand is a major activity in advocates office.
    509 judgments were delivered in the year 1976 and 222 judgments between 04.01.1977 to 06.05.1977. There were 14 Constitutional bench judgments in 1976 and 3 in 1977. MISA judgment in 1976 where 13 judgments of the various High Courts, including one delivered by my father in the High Court of Rajasthan was set aside and in which Justice H.R.Khanna had given a dissent, was an important judgment. In 1977 the Supreme Court had delivered 3 Constitutional Bench Judgments. Constitutional Bench Judgment of Justice Krishna Iyer in Fatehchand Himmatlal dealing with validity of Maharashtra Debt Relief Act expounded the constitutional philosophy. 
Summer Vacations: This was a leap year, the total working days for Supreme Court were 183 and total non working days were 183. There was a long summer vacation spreading over a period of 10 weeks from May 7 to July 18. During vacation, two Hon’ble Judge would sit singly for four weeks and two in the next four weeks and take up only very urgent matters. The long summer vacation has been a long tradition since the British days. The High Courts were working for 212 days and the sub-ordinate judiciary for 240 days. The only logic I could find out for this long vacation was that the judges from Britain, who were coming to India, must be travelling back during summers. Travel by ship would be taking two weeks one side totaling to four weeks either side and 6 weeks were left for actual vacation, to get a break from the court routine. The matters whose limitation expired during the summer vacation, were all prepared during the period, piled up and had to be filed on the reopening i.e. July 19, 1977. High Court had 6 week vacation and since my father loved and enjoyed to travel all around, he always had his itinerary worked out well in advance and would leave immediately as soon as the vacations started and would be back a few days before the reopening. He had gone around the world to Dubai, several countries in Europe, various places in USA, Hong Kong and Japan, as an advocate in 1971. 
     In absence of any communication with my senior Mr. S.C.Agarwal or Mr. R.K.Garg on the subject, as to how I should actually go about the profession, I had just continued to absorb everything I could, every moment I was in Supreme Court. Since the summer vacation were coming close and I had to vacate 60 South Avenue, I asked my senior Mr. S.C.Agarwal, to tell me as to what I should be doing during the vacation. He told me since, I had come directly to Supreme Court and had no experience of Trial Court, I must go to a senior in Trial Court and talk to Shri B.P.Agarwal, a senior Advocate in Jaipur. I had a feeling that my coming directly to Supreme Court was not a very acceptable decision, but I had no choice, the choice were made elsewhere, I could only do my best to my perfection.
      I came to Jaipur, discussed the issue with Shri B.P.Agarwal and joined Shri H.M.K.Wali, advocate, who had his office at Wali Gardens and started accompanying him to the trial court in Jaipur. He had two juniors working with him Mr. R.K.Yadav and Mr. Amar Singh. It was amazing to find a wonderful, fine, magnificent and highly respected human being in Mr. Wali. He was totally unruffled and unperturbed and was always smiling and thinking deep. As soon as the matter would be reaching, he would walk to the pan shop, collect a bundle of pan and walk back to the court thinking, contemplating and considering the various aspects of the case. He used to eat almost 40 pan in every day. The judges would hear him with great respect and apt attention and pass the orders. Mr. Wali showed all respect to every judge and made his arguments clearly and precisely. Finally one day he gave me a voluminous brief to read and prepare. After carefully preparing my notes, when I discussed the issues and briefed him he put me a few question, just to test the direction or my understanding and was quite pleased and said that I must have learned all this in Supreme Court with the great seniors with whom I was working. 
28.06.1977 – An uncomfortable experience -As I entered the court today just behind my senior Mr. H.M.K.Wali, the presiding judge recognized, me and almost jumped out of seat. He enquired as to what brought me to the court. It was quite a embarrassing situation. I told him that I had joined Mr. Wali and just walked out of the court, never to come back again.
01.07.1977 – Back to Delhi, back to Supreme Court, Stay at Indian Law Institute and shifting to Ashok Vihar - I read in the column of ‘thought of the day’ - ‘The eagle never lost more of its time than when it went to learn of the crow’. I showed the same to Mr. Wali and he told me that I had nothing much to learn in the trial court and it would be better if I go back to Delhi and practice there. He further expressed that learning will come as I will continue to work on cases as it came, each case was a learning process and every procedure and issue in it must be clearly understood. 
Since I had vacated 60, South Avenue and had no place to live, I made enquiry and got accommodation to stay in a room on the side of Indian Law Institute @ Rs. 5 per day, for a period of 30 days, which was the maximum period allowed there. I met a few academicians there, who used to visit for attending conference or research at ILI and it was a great treat to talk to them and relate to some of my actual experience in Supreme Court. I thereafter, shifted to my cousins place in Ashok Vihar Phase 1, which was quite a distance from Supreme Court, commutation period was more than an hour in DTC bus. I used to take a morning 7.45 am bus to Shakti Nagar, if I did not get a direct bus , another bus to Tilak Bridge and walk to Supreme Court. Leave the chamber at 9 pm, walk till Tilak bridge, wait for the bus to get to Shakti Nagar, change to another bus to Ashok Vihar reaching  back by 11 pm. Attend Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan on Friday Evening and Sunday morning. All through the commutation, I used to read Shrimat Bhagwat Gita, which I had copied in my diary or various jottings which I took down from the books I had read and there were many.   
     Further Readings: I had already completed reading Complete work of Vivekanand in 8 volumes and had moved on to ‘Godfather’ by Mario Puzo, an amazing book opening the heart of underworld in USA, along with same came in ‘The Valachi Papers’ by Peter Mass and ‘Honor thy Family’ by Gay Telese, about a Bonano Family of New York, USA which finally ended in conviction held by the US Supreme Court. Also read ‘The Day of the Jackal and ‘The Odessa File’ by Fredrick Forsyth. Two books which really gripped and enthused me and which was found it difficult to keep it aside was ‘Fountain Head’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand. Her other books followed – ‘We the Living’, ‘Anthem’, ‘For the New Intellectuals’, ‘The Virtue of Selfishness’, ‘Voice of Reason’. The character of Horward Roark,  Dominique Fracon,  Peter Keating, and Ellsworth Toohey in Fountain Head and the characters of the three disciples of philosopher Dr. Hugh Akston - John Galt, Francisco and Ragner and the classic lines about them:
     “Don’t be astonished, Miss Taggart… and don’t make the mistake of thinking that these three pupils of mine are some of superhuman creatures. They’re much greater and more astounding than that; they’re normal men – a thing that world has never seen – and their feat is that they managed to survive as such. It does take an exceptional mind and still more exceptional integrity to remain untouched by the brain – destroying influences of the world’s doctrines, the accumulated evil of centuries – to remain human , since the human is the rational”
   This thought was solidly buttressed by the brilliant Essay on Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, Midas Mulligan, Richard Halley and many others were powerful characters as many in Ramayan and Mahabharat. Apart from the speech of Francisco on the concept of money, another statement by Ayan Rand formed the fundamental of my understanding:
“Ideas cannot be fought except by means of better ideas. The battle consists, not of opposing, but of exposing; not of denouncing, but of disproving; not of evading, but of boldly proclaiming a full, consistent, and radical alternative.”
    Shrimat Bhagwat Gita was interpreted by all three propounders of main stream of Hindu Philosophy – Advait by Shankracharya, Vishsist Advait by Ramanujam and Dvait by Madhvacharya.  Adviat philosophy was again expounded and taken to the English speaking world by Swami Vivekananda and the individual centric philosophy of Ayn Rand both demanding individual human being to endeavor for leading and craving for total perfection to the best of his ability, potentiality and capacity was in total contradiction, disagreement and inconsistent to what our chamber was known for and was propounding, welfare based on need. Mr. R.K.Garg with photo of Lenin hanging in his chamber, was all about nationalist socialism, providing the have not’s, a minimum basic for everyone. To understand socialism and the philosophy underlying it I bought three volumes of Das Capital, which I was not able to read, but read ‘The Grammar of Politics’ by Harlod J.Laski and the beautiful opening lines made so much sense and expressed the brilliance of the outstanding work. The lines read as follows:
    “My husband once said, that every time an intellectual has the chance to speak out against injustice, and yet remains silent, he contributes to the moral paralysis and intellectual barrenness that grips the affluent world." Frida Laski w/o Harold J. Laski, author of ‘The Grammar of Politics’
   It seemed that the two philosophies were in contradictions,  but to mind there was none. Development or progress of the Self wholly supported the commitment to fellow beings. To understand the whole it was imperative to fully grasp the so called contradictions which were in fact complementary to each other. Contraria Sunt Complementa, was the motto on Bohr's coat of arms 'Contradictions are complementary” Bohr was a visionary physicist and developed the quantum theory, he was ready to see the dual nature not as a contradiction but as 'two sides of the same coin’. 
   I was in the most powerful chamber propounding a philosophy and was in need of some amount to sustain myself and the same was true with many others who had shifted to Delhi, but there was no money, for there was practically no contribution to the day to day working, except some errands, but that seemed to be process of learning. Money was not an issue with me, for my father had given me a blank cheque book, which I could fill with any amount and deposit in my account, but the issue was my earning on my own with dignity and there was none till date. There was, therefore, some error somewhere, between philosophy and practice but that did not make sense. Any philosophy which did not have practical application at individual level has no purpose to exist at national level. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Further Diary Entries – Part 4

Dairy Entry - Neither Mr. S.C.Agrawal nor Mr. R.K.Garg nor Mr. V.J.Francis told me ever to do any work nor was I ever paid anything for I was doing just nothing. Just come, watch, read and learn if you can. Ramamurty & Co. was a perfect well structured powerful law firm to deal with every issue raised in Supreme Court. In fact they were there in all important Constitutional matters, with Mr. R.K.Garg leading from the front and Mr. S.C.Agarwal, also known as the moving encyclopedia of Supreme Court, supporting him with a great sime. Everybody was enjoying what was happening and a lot was happening every day. There was nothing specific for me to be do or contribute in the on going activities, except Thursday settling of list with Mr. V.J. Francis. It was amazing to see Mr. S.C. Agrawal working always bearing a great smile. He would read the whole file cover to cover, make some notes, pick up some judgments and draft the whole Special Leave Petition in his own hand writing which was like scribbling in the smallest size possible. Beginning from ‘In the Supreme Court of India’ till ‘Drawn and Filed by’ or sometimes dictate to the steno in the same style, if the steno was free as he was mostly getting work from Mr.R.KGarg. There was one typist who alone was able to decipher Mr.S.C.Agarwal hand writing and would cut the stencils. From stencils copies of SLPs were rolled out in the side room by Mr.Sikka, one plus eleven. One plus seven were filed in the Supreme Court (if the matter was referred to 5 judges, there were sufficient copies available), one for Mr. R.K. Garg, one for Mr. S.C. Agrawal, one for Mr. V.J.Francis which I used to use for reading and making my notes and one for the client. I would read all the briefs that were listed, make my notes, read the judgments referred in the judgments of the High Courts and noted by Mr. R.K.Garg and cited by Mr. S.C.Agrawal during conference. I was enjoying absorbing everything that was going around. If notice was issued in the SLP, then the stencils were re-rolled and one copy for each respondent was filed with the registry, which used to prepare the index. The opposite counsel was given three sets, one for his senior, one for AOR and another for his client, after he had confirmed that he had filed the Vakalatnama.
Joining Diploma in Administrative Law – Indian Law InstituteRight in front of Supreme Court was a building  of Bar Council of India and next to it on the right was a four storied building of Indian Law Institute. When I visited it I found it had a huge library, particularly Law Journals from Howard, Stanford, Yale and many other Law Universities. I also found that they were running a diploma courses in Administrative Law, Labour Law and Company law. Since I had a good time to spare, I joined Administrative Law diploma and would go in the evening to attend my classes from 5.30 to 7.30 come back to the chamber and read till 9 pm.
Joining classes at Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan - My grandfather used to tell us (me and my elder brother) a story every late evening post dinner 8.15 to 9.15 since I was of the age of 5 till 13 yrs of age. They covered the entire Bhaagwat, Mahaabharat and Raamaayan. Swami Chinmayanada had come to Jodhpur for his 365 Geeta Gyan Yagya for the period 7 days. While I was in my final year LL.B, I accompanied my grandfather for the morning discourse on 13 chapter of Srimat Bhagwat Gita and evening discourse on Narad Bhakti Sutra and Parshno Upanishad. This was the beginning of my spiritual awakening. I think it came at a time when it was most required. A got a copy Srimat Bhagwat Gita by Swami Chidananda with my grandfather signatures and it was the great treat of my life, reading the same from the cover to cover. The introduction running into 78 pages opened my thinking process and the book was the greatest treat of my life, which I still continue to enjoy and refer to whenever necessary. On enquiry I came to know that Chinmaya Mission was conducting classes of Friday evening and Sunday Morning in Upanishad at Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, which was on Karturba Gandhi Marg, walking distance from Supreme Court. I met Swami Yagya Chaitaniya there, a young yogi and a very close disciple of Swami Chinamayanad. The classes started with Kathopanishad, the next to follow was Kaivaliyopanishad and thereafter all the major 11 upanishad.
Acquaintances, Associates, Colleagues and Friends - There are a large number of amazing young advocates from all over the country who had passed their law in 1975 – 1976. May be there is some commonality or a good reason for all of us being here together. Made some good acquaintances with Ashok Panda from Orissa, Ram Kumar from Chennai, Ms. Malini Poduval from Kerala, B.B.Singh from Bihar, Rupinder Singh Suri from Delhi, Manik Tarkunde was Justice Trakunde’s daughter from Bombay, a very respected senior. There is an interesting group of Ms. Sunanda Bhandare, Y.K.Jain, K.K. Mohan, Anil Singh, Rajeev Dutta, Naresh Sharma and L.R. Singh, meeting every Friday evening at Ashoka Hotel. Cold tea with lime and french fries and lot of discussions. I enjoyed their company and the wide range of thoughts communicated by them.
03.01.1977 – Elevation of P.S.Kailasam as Judge of Supreme Court – Justice P.S.Kailasm from Madras High Court was elevated as a judge of Supreme Court today
29.01.1977 – Elevation of Justice M.H.Beg as Chief Justice of India - Today justice M.H.Beg was sown in as the 15th  Chief Justice of India. The ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, where only few were invited. Mr. D.P.Singh, Mr. R.K.Garg and Mr. S.C.Agarwal had all gone attend the ceremony. Justice H.R.Khanna who was the sole dissenting judge in the MISA case was superseded and had resigned. He would have continued as Chief Justice for about 43 days, till 12.03.1977. This was the second supersession in the history of Supreme Court, when a seniormost pusine judge was not made the Chief Justice of India. The earlier was immediately after the judgment of Keshwanand Bharti in 1973, the basic structure case, when Justice A.N.Ray was elevated as the Chief Justice of India and three senior judges Justice J.M.Shelat, Justice K.S.Hedge and Justice A.N.Grover had resigned. Commitment to political thinking seems to be imperative for giving effect to the progressiveness and dynamics ingrained and inbuilt in the Constitution.
24.03.1977 - Congress Loses Election - Congress lost election in Center and Rajasthan. Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister of India and Mr. Bhiron Singh Shekhawat in Rajasthan. Mr. Shrikrishanmal Modi lost election from Neem Ka Thana. I will have to vacate the room I was so comfortably occupying at 60, South Avenue, in next 3 months.
31.03.1977- 4.00 pm – SCBA Meeting - Supreme Court Bar Association today held a meeting to consider the actions of Mr. H.R. Gokhale, of what did to Law and Justice and the Supreme Court as a Union Minister of law and justice and not to allow him to continue as a member of the Bar Association. He was instrumental in imposition of Emergency and incharge of all legal issues with Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Ramamurty & Co. was very close to her. Mr. S.C.Agarwal had drafted the S.LP against the Allahabad High Court judgment, setting aside her election. Mr. Govind Mukhoti the Vice President of the Bar Association spoke about the resolution he had in his hand for not allowing SCBA membership to Mr. Gokhale. A cry was there to postpone the meeting and there were many cries to see that the cries stop.
  The resolution was then read by Mr. J.P. Goyal the main contender in favour of passing the resolution as he seemed to be, started with some personal allegations about him helping his son in law by briefs and to see that he becomes something, which otherwise would not have been possible. Then he came upon saying that Mr. R.K. Garg sat down in Keshwanand Bharti case taking Rs. 1,00,000. At that stage Mr Shiv Pujan Singh came out and shouted and cried that if that was so, than everyone in the profession was corrupt.
   The entire Bar shouted, all and every one shouted at the top of their voice and nobody could listen what other said but everybody said what he long wished to say. It seemed out to be a wonderful channel to project ones thoughts, when nobody could listen but everybody could hear. This made the V.P. say that the resolution be passed by raising of hands. Hands were raised, counted in its own way and resolution could not be passed. There was a victorious joys and some faces fell lopsided, but then there was call for recounting. Again hands were raised, recounting was done, this time the other side got more hands on its side. The expressions changed, some faces became long and other exalted with joy. The meeting ended with resolution being passed.
  It is most interesting to see people with personal grievances, personal attachments, personal knowledge, with rigid political orientation and singled channeled thoughts seeing their profession of a lawyer being suspended by a thin thread of political relationships. In the game of power, when it is used ruthlessly, it can be serious misuse for others existing during the same time. Every man is so bewildered, effected an involved in the moment that the real cause always remain hidden, forgotten and we are so much effected by this thought, that we think ourselves as the effect only, totally in contradiction with what says Shrimat Bhagwad Geeta, but this is the real world of activities in flesh and blood for the purse and that is the philosophy for the soul.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Further Diary Entries - Moving Ahead in Lateral Time

05.08.1976 (Thursday) - Matters were over by 4.00 pm. At 4.15 pm, Mr. Sikka handed over a thick Tentative Cause List with the covering paper giving item numbers to Mr. V.J. Francis. Mr. Francis asked me to accompany him to the Court. I had a question mark on my face. He told me that it was a Thursday, on which the Cause List for the next week was settled in the Chief Justice Court by Mr. C.M. Oberoi, the Asst. Registrar and that was the first place apart from mentioning in court, where an new Advocate learns to address the Court. The Chief Justice Court was packed by Advocate on Records, all having cause list with numbers written on the first page, in their hand.
      Matters were called one after another. The Advocates were insisting on matters not being listed, particularly where notices had been issued and stay had been granted and the other side insisted that matter must be listed for the stay was operating against their clients. One of the interesting grounds was ‘material instructions not received’, which was a great humor issue. The environment was very cordial and very dignified, everybody knew everybody and the Asst. Registrar had continued to insist that the matters should be listed in the next week, for he had little matters for the court. Mr. V.J. Francis told me to speak out two dates in the next week, when the matter should be listed and Mr. C.M. Oberoi looked at me, for that was a new voice coming for Ramamurthy & Co. and accepted it willingly. Mr. Francis himself submitted the cases where the matter had not be listed or to be listed weeks thereafter. The matters which had to be listed after the next week were shown in the tentative list for that week and were confirmed again before they were listed.  Since the dates were already known well in advance to the advocates, as the clients had to come from all over the country, it was good reason for not giving the name of the Advocates on Records on the cause list. Ramamurthy & Co. had a great repute for it appeared for employees and labour supported by trade unions. R.K. Garg had a flair and command in his presentations and arguments, he was a member of Communist Party of India (CPI) and was known for his strong nationalist socialist philosophy. Ramamurthy and Co. had a lot of criminal and service matters from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and South and also Civil litigation.
     06.08.1976 (Friday) - Around 5 pm, Mr.R.K.Garg came into the 20 A Lawyers Chambers along with another advocate and a two other persons behind him, who looked like leaders (Office Bearers of P & T Trade Unions) and told Mr. S.C. Agrawal “ OK, let’s go” and looking at me said “You also come”. Mr. Agrawal got up and we all went outside. Mr. Agrawal took the driver seat of a white Fiat, Mr. Garg sat next to him and four of us got squeezed in the back seat and we all drove to a market place very close to Supreme Court called the Bengali Market. On the way I saw Triveni Art Gallery on the right of the road after a big round about. I had enjoyed painting since my early childhood and had done several of them in dot painting, pencil, batik, oil. Everybody was in a relaxed mood, it was a Friday evening, we all ate samosa and chola bhatura and went back to the chamber. After sometime everybody left including Mr. Sikka. No work on Friday evening or Friday evening was the only non-working evening for Advocates, rest was all working days and working evenings, it was all about law, law and law. I was enjoying every moment of my life in Supreme Court.
     Since I had nothing particular to do or go, I made a call to my grandfather and mother and told her that I was fine. I then made a few calls to my relatives in Delhi and informed them that I was in Delhi. They asked me if I could come and have dinner with them, to which I readily agreed, asked them about the bus number which I could take to reach their closest bus stand and fixed up my evening meeting for the next and the next Friday.
     07.08.1976 (Saturday) - Had conference meeting in the chamber of Mr. R.K.Garg. There were two more Advocates present there. After Mr. S.C.Agrawal left, Mr. R.K.Garg introduced me to them. One was Mr. R.K. Jain form U.P. and other was Mr. R.P.Singh from Bihar who had joined Mr. D.P.Singh.
    10.08.1976 - Ramamurti and Co. is an amazing place and a citadel of the Marxist or Communist or Leftist thinking, of which I have no knowledge or idea at all, seems to do something with politics, will learn it all over the years. Mr. Francis told me that Mr.V.K. Krishna Menon who was the Defence Minister in Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet and Mr. Mohan Kumarmanglam who was Home Minister in Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet and Syed Mehmood were the original Seniors who were briefed by Mr. M.K.Ramamuti, Mr. D.P.Singh. Mr. R.K.Garg and Mr. S.C.Agrawal and Ramamurti & Co was formed and were allotted 20 A, 25 and 26 Chamber.  After the death of Mr. Mohan Kumarmanglam in a plane crash in 1969, there was a split in the Law Firm where Mr. M.K.Ramamurti retained 25 Lawyers Chambers with Ms. Shyamla Pappu and Chamber No. 20 A, which was infact a canteen and the largest amongst the chambers and 26 were retained by Mr. D.P.Singh, Mr. R.K. Garg and Mr. S.C.Agrawal. After Mr. D.P. Singh was designated as a senior Advocate, Ramamurthy & Co, had two partners, Mr. R.K. Garg and Mr. S.C. Agarwal.
    There was no restrain on any advocate to continue to keep his files and continue meetings with his client in 20 A Lawyers Chambers. There has been a huge lot of advocates who had been associated with Ramamurthy & Co. Other Advocates who were using the chamber regularly were Mr. Naryan Netter, Advocate on Record for the State of Karnataka and a very fine gentlemen to the core. Mr. Narayan Nettar was a class fellow of Mr. S.C.Agrawal in London, when they were doing their Bar at Law there in 1956-58.  His wife was a lecturer of English in Kamla Nehru, College. Mr.P.D. Sharma, Advocate was another advocate who was occupying the chamber regularly, a simple human being, who kept to himself. A smile and a hand shake every time we met.
   13.08.1976 - Justice M.L. Jain, a judge in the High Court of Delhi, a very close friend of my father , was transferred from High Court of Rajasthan, because of his differences with another Senior Judge in the High Court. Justice M.L.Jain informed me to come to Ashoka Hotel and meet Mr. Shrikrishanmal Modi, a Member of Parliament from Neem ka Thana, Rajasthan. At the meeting Mr. Modi told me that he had a M.P. flat at 60, South Avenue, with a Barsati Floor and that I can stay there.
   15.08.1976 - I reached 60, South Avenue, with all my belongings, an attaché and a bedding. Mr. Shrikrishanmal Modi had left instructions for me and I went up to the Barsati Floor. It was a one room apartment with an attached washroom and a terrace in front. There was greenery all around, an MP Canteen right in front and a very calm and wonderful environment. I felt extremely comfortable, for there was lot of peace, fresh air and freedom.
   16.08.1976 - Setting into routine -Got up in the morning at 5.30 am as usual. Went for a jog around 6 am. Came back went through my yoga exercises, did my pranayama and meditation to which I was introduced 2 years ago by a yogi whom I never met again, took bath and was ready around 8.00 am. Went to the MPs canteen, took my breakfast, two boiled eggs, four slices of bread and a glass of milk. Took a bus to Krishi Bhawan, changed the bus and got down at Tilak Bridge and walked to Supreme Court.  In the chamber between 9.00 to 9.15 am. Read the law reports, starting making notes, read some briefs, had my lunch in the canteen, continued to be in the chamber till around 9 pm, walked down to Tilak Bridge, took a bus back to South Avenue. Went straight to the Canteen, took my dinner, four tandoori chapatti, half plate aloo matter and half plate gobhi and in my room by 10 – 10.15 pm.  Read some books. I never subscribed and never felt the necessity of Newspaper. Washed my clothes twice a week after coming back, upto about 12.30 -1 pm and met my relatives on Friday evenings. Sometimes called my grandfather and mother in the late evening before I left the chamber. This was a routine I continued to and follow every day.
   03.09.1976 - Today I got my enrollment as the Advocate from the Bar Council of Delhi and can now wear a white band, a black coat and a gown and can regularly appear in the court along with Mr. Francis and my seniors. My grandfather had completed his LL.B in 1926 and  retired as the first Registrar of High Court of Rajasthan on 31.03.1951 on his attaining the age of 58 yrs. from Jodhpur. My father had completed his LL.B in 1946 but joined the bar in 1950 since he was the prcharak for south delhi during that period. However, since warrants were issued against all RSS personnel after Gandhi murder in February 1948, my grandfather insisted him to join the profession. My father had started practicing law with Mr. C.L. Agarwal at Jaipur. In 1958, my father had along with our family shifted to Jodhpur, after abolition of the Jaipur Bench of the High Court of Rajasthan. He was associated with R.K.Rastogi and had started independent practice thereafter till he was elevated as a judge of Rajasthan High Court in 1973.
   Since my father was a sitting judge of High Court of Rajasthan and was likely to remain till 1986, he felt that my presence in Rajasthan would not be conducive in his, my and the institution’s interest. I, therefore, did not apply for my enrollment as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Rajasthan, but applied it to the Bar Council of Delhi. My name was proposed by Mr. S.C.Agarwal and for the second recommendation Mr. S.C.Agrawal requested Mr. S.K. Mehta, Advocate whose chamber number was 43 and he had willingly and happily accepted aswe walked to his chamber.
   20.09.1976 - We had item No. 1 in the Chief Justices Court and I was sitting next to my senior Mr. S.C.Agrawal. Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare, from Bombay, an advocate on record and daughter of Mr. H.R.Gokhale, Union Law Minister, Government of India mentioned a matter which was on the cause list of the next day, for not to be taken as she was not in town. The A.N.Ray, Chief Justice said that she must get it mentioned on the next day, to which she said that she would not be there the next day and, therefore, it would not be possible for her to mention it the next day.  Chief Justice A.N. Ray then said “Then, let some young advocate mention the matter tomorrow” and looked around. As he looked around his eyes suddenly stopped at me who was sitting in the front row, next to Mr. S.C. Agrawal, and he said “You, young man, mention the matter tomorrow”. It was a pleasant surprise for me, but I thought may be that is the way the Supreme Court functions and encourages juniors. I instantaneously got up and uttered “Yes, My Lordships” and realised all eyes were fixed on me particularly, Ms. Sunanda Bhandare.
There were other mentioning by other advocates and Mr. S.C. Agrawal asked me if I knew Chief Justice A.N. Ray and I said of course not. After our matter was over and as I came out of the Court, I saw Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare and her junior associate Mr. Ajit Sharma, waiting for me. It was the same question again “How Chief Justice A.N.Ray, know you” and “Who are you”. I told them that I did not know Chief Justice A.N. Ray and that I had shifted to Delhi and Supreme Court, because my father was a judge in High Court of Rajasthan and perhaps the only other advocate I knew out of Rajasthan was Mr. S.C.Agrawal and that I will mention the matter tomorrow and that they may give me the brief, so that I can at least read what is there in.
21.09.1976My First appearance before court - I reached the Chief Justice Court at about 10.25, Mr. Ajit Sharma, Advocate was there. I said I was ready, he smiled at me. I was the first in the row of mentioning and told the Chief Justice that the matter was mentioned yesterday and their Lordships had requested me to mention the matter for adjournment. He simply said “Adjourned for two weeks” and I walked back and handed over the brief to Mr. Ajit Sharma. He had put in one year, his father had worked with H.R.Gokhale and he had joined the chamber of  Mr. M.C.Bhandare and Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare. Mr. H.R.Gokhale had two daughters, the elder one was married to Dr. Y.S.Chitale, Senior Advocate and the younger was married to Mr. M.C.Bhandare.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Diary Entry – 02.08.1976 (Monday) - Day Two

Reached 20-A Lawyers Chamber at 9 am. The door was locked, Mr. Sikka arrived shortly. I requested him for the key, so that I can get a duplicate, he said he would get me a duplicate by the evening. Mr. V.J. Francis arrived shortly thereafter and gave a very warm and friendly smile and hand shake. Mr. S.C.Agrawal and Mr. R.K. Garg also arrived around 10 am. Mr. D.P. Singh, the third member of Ramamurti & Co. the eldest and a designated senior and several other advocates arrived and all of them in their full robes with white band and black gown left for the court. Since I was not yet enrolled as an advocate, I was not entitled to wear a white band and a black gown. Mr. V.J. Francis told me to accompany him and we moved towards the Supreme Court main building. Everybody carried one or more briefs and nobody carried the books, as my father used to carry in book trays in the High Court, with the name embossed on it. The trays were made specifically to carry the books to the court rooms and the files were tied in a square cloth and called basta.
The Supreme Court of India has a majestic presence about it. The aerial view of the Supreme Court is that of a balance with Chief Justices court in the center with a big dome and two arms on the side ending in a semi-circular shape like hooks. As I climbed the stairs from the front, I recollected a day in 1964 when I had come to Supreme Court with my father and we had entered the Chief Justice Court. Justice P.B.Gajendragadkar was than the Chief Justice and was presiding over a constitutional bench with Justice K.N.Wanchoo (who was Chief Justice of Rajasthan and my father had appeared before him) Justice M.Hidayatullah, Justice J.C.Shah and Justice S.M.Sikri and I had always wondered how would some body look in a black flowing gown which was worn by Batman in the comics, which I then used to enjoy reading. It was a great annihilating moment for me as I entered the corridors of Supreme Court. The strength of the eight pillars in the front in Dholpur stone looked magnificent. I touched them physically to feel there strength and my physical presence in an institution which was the highest temple of justice in the country like the culmination of all the four dhams erected by Shankracharya at Rameshwaram, Dwarka, Badrinath and Jagganath Puri
There were five courts with Court No. 2 on the right side of Chief Justice Court, when he was sitting inside and Court Nos. 3 and 4 on the left hand side and Court No.5 on the extreme end of the corridor, next to Court No.2. Nobody was able to tell me why Court 4 was next to Court 3 and not after Court 2 for that should have been the normal sitting methodology applied by the Supreme Court. The senior most judge sits on the right side of the presiding judge and the junior on the left. The next junior judge on the right of the senior judge and the next junior to the left of the junior. It’s odd on one side and even on other side, strictly according to seniority. The only reason I could make out was perhaps because Court No. 4 must have started functioning immediately after Court No. 3, while Court No. 5 must have come later when the strength of the judges would have increased and Court No.4 was closer to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Library and the main entrance for the convenience of the advocates and clients, while Court No.5 must have come later at the other end.
Supreme Court of India had stated with the strength of 5 judges (Justice H.J.Kania (Bombay), Justice Saiyid Fazal Ali (Patna), Justice M. Patanjali Shastri (Madras), Justice M.C. Mahajan (Punjab), Justice B.K. Mukherjea (Calcutta) and Mr. S.R.Dass (all of them were sitting judges of Federal Court of India on January 26, 1950). The strength of the judges had increased to 13 in 1956, at present there were 11 sitting judges.
There were Senior Advocates, Advocates, Advocates or records and clients in the corridors. All were moving with a definite thought and a definite purpose. I along with Mr. Francis went to the SCBA Library and gave a list of books for each case in each court. On the basis of the list of books given in the SCBA Library, the peons there, carried them to each court and collected them after the court hours, unless the matter was part heard and a slip was kept on the books ‘Please don’t remove the books’. A copy of the list of books was handed over by Mr. Francis to an officer of the court sitting behind one of the two court masters sitting in the center and the appearance of the advocates was handed over to one of the two court master. Everybody knew Mr. Francis and shook hands and smiled, a great place to work, I thought and felt.
As I entered the Chief Justice Court, I was once again awe struck by the interiors after 11 years. But than I was a then a visitor, now I was here to be here and to be a part of this institution. I could feel the high energy level, some whispers amongst the advocates, most of them were friendly smiles, good morning wishes and quick handshakes.  The Chief Justice court had a huge white dome, with holes to control the acoustics. The teak wooden paneling almost 10 ft. high was just breath taking and there was a portrait of Justice H.J.Kania, the first Chief Justice of India on the right side and a portrait of Justice M.C.Mahajan on the left. Some advocates were standing for mentioning urgent matters for being listed or adjournment of the listed matters and the two rows of chairs was almost completely occupied with advocates in their robes, white or stripped trousers, black jacket, black coat, white shirt, white band and black gown. Some advocates were wearing high neck collars.
The first chair on the right side was empty and came to be occupied by Mr. Niren De, the Attorney General of India, who looked to be a towering personality, particularly in view of his statement in MISA case “During Emergency, there is no fundamental right in life and the Union of India had power to hang anybody’. My father was one of the thirteen judges, who had delivered the judgment in MISA case for the High Court of Rajasthan, which was over ruled by the Supreme Court. His view was that the person who is being taken in custody was at least entitled to be identified as the person against whom the warrant was issued. The Supreme Court must undoubtedly have its own logic and reasoning, someday I will certainly understand the same.
Hon’ble Justice A.N.Ray was the Chief Justice and was presiding with Justice M.H.Beg and Justice Jaswant Singh in Chief Justices Court; Justice H.R. Khanna was presiding in Court No.2 with Justice P.N.Bhagwati; Justice Y.V.Chandrachud was presiding in Court No. 3 with Justice P.N. Shinghal  (the first judge to be elevated from High Court of Rajasthan to Supreme Court) and another face known to me before I came to Supreme Court; Justice A.C.Gupta was Presiding in Court No.4 with Justice S. Murtaza Fazal Ali and Justice P.K. Goswami was presiding in Court No. 5 with Justice N.L.Untwalia for miscellaneous matters. 
After the miscellaneous matters were over the bench would break and the benches would be reconstituted for Final Hearing as follows  - Chief Justices Court - Hon’ble the Chief Justice, Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.H.Beg; Court No.2 - Hon’ble Justice H.R.Khanna, Hon’ble Justice N.L.Untwalia and Hon’ble Justice Jaswant Singh; Court No.3 - Hon’ble Justice Y.V.Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice P.K.Goswami and Hon’ble Justice A.C.Gupta; Court No. 4 - Hon’ble Justice P.N.Bhagwati and Hon’ble Justice S. Murtaza Fazal Ali. No final hearing matters were listed before Court No.5.
Interestingly unlike Rajasthan High Court, the cause list did not give the name of the Advocate and I wondered how any advocate would make out which was his matter, unless he knew the name of each of his pending cases. But the advocates and their clerks just knew.
Cases continued to be conducted and I continued to watch as advocates and Senior Advocates argued and the judges passed the orders. It was a pleasure seeing great Seniors whose names I had heard. I saw Mr. C.K.Daftry former Attorney General of India, moving with a stick very slowly in the corridor, Mr. Niren De was the Attorney General, Mr. Lal Narain Sinha, from Bihar was the Solicitor General and Mr. Raman from Madras was the Additional Solicitor General. Mr. S. T. Desai, who had his book on partnership law, Mr. G.B.Pai, Mr.O.P. Malhotra whose book on Industrial law I had read in the college were all there. Mr. Ashoke K. Sen, who had visited our house when Automobile Transport case was argued in the Rajasthan High Court, was the Law Minister.
There was a canteen in the ground floor, where I had my lunch and tea and samosa in the evening. Everybody left the chamber around 7.30 pm, Mr. Sikka gave me a duplicate key of the chamber. I continued to stay till 9.00 pm and read SCR as advised and make my notes. Took a three wheeler back to Humayun Road