READER BLOG: Oxford India Moot Court Competition: Organisers Arrested, Moot Almost Called Off, Several Goof-ups

The Oxford India Moot Court Competition was organised from 14th-16th of March in New Delhi.

To say that this was a moot court competition would be an insult to the competitions that are generally organised. It all started with the memorial selection, whose results were endlessly delayed. It should have been the cue for the participants to understand how badly the things would shape up.

No contact number

Post the selection, the participants did not have a single contact number where they could contact the organizers. The email address so provided was of no use.

A mail was sent in asking the participants not to contact them as they would not be able to answer so many queries on time.

Participants were told that they would receive a phone number where they could contact the organisers during rounds, which is still awaited.

No draw of lots

On Friday, 14th the date on which the competition was to begin, the draw of lots was cancelled and pretty much all the organisers were clueless about what was going on. We were informed that the match up list and the memorials will be mailed (which never happened).

At 7.37 AM, we were sent a mail to turn up at the venue by 8.30. This was obviously very convenient for teams from outside Delhi and specially ones who did not have access to the internet.

The police and an arrest

On turning up we realised that there was huge crowd and a police van was standing by.

The members of the Organising Committee were arrested for allegedly beating up a boy and a girl representing a team which had turned up late for registration the previous team and were disqualified.

Their train was late and this obviously was not a good enough ground for the organisers to consider and allow them (this was alleged by the team when the police had turned up). We heard that the moot might just be called off.

No court masters

The rounds had already begun (on time which was unexpected) and each round (which was to last for at most an hour) went for two hours given there were NO COURT MASTERS and the judges asked the teams to keep time.

Furthermore, the judges did not have the memorials and there was no memorial exchange.

Participants help organize the moot

Also, the organisers refused to entertain any questions and the compendiums and related material were lying on the desks untouched.

In fact participants (me being one of them) were helping the organisers get their act together. A judge had flown down from Bombay to judge the quarters and after asking for directions all over, I believe he eventually left.

The rounds were pathetically organised, the teams inside were asked to call in the next match up.

No lunch, rude organizers

No lunch was served and tea was delayed (the caterer asked me to remove the memorials from the table as he had to organise the tea and otherwise he would have them chucked away).

The organisers were extremely rude and refused to answer any query.

A surprise for researcher examinees!

They first informed (informing simply comprised of coming out and yelling out what they wanted to say regardless of the teams being present) that the researcher exam would take place after the result for quarters would be announced and those who qualified would take the exam the next day.

A lot of researchers moved out to study and then suddenly there was an announcement that the exam would take place immediately. Many of the researchers missed the same and those who turned up late were not given extra time as the organisers thought ‘they had asked other researchers the questions’.

The quarters were to start by 8 PM (the prelims had begun at 9 in the morning) which definitely says a lot about how much the organisers respected the time.  I am clueless about the semis. They also refused to keep the rounds the next day as ‘they had no place’ for the same.

No one could move around as the announcements could take place at any time and the teams would be expected to act immediately.

We neither know how the selection to the quarters was was decided (as it was a win loss system and one of the qualifying teams to the same had lost one round – as informed by the judge in court) and by the end of all of this the teams were too frustrated to even care.

The closing email

The cherry on the cake was the mail which asked the participants not come for the closing ceremony. An extract of the same is –

“The organizers of the Annual Oxford India Summit 2014, have informed the Moot Organizing Committee (MOC) that as the number of registrations for the event significantly exceeds the seating capacity at the venue, it is unfortunately not possible for them to accommodate any of the teams participating in the Annual Oxford University India Moot Court Competition 2013-14.

Only those teams which have been shortlisted for Semi-Final Rounds may be accommodated at the venue tomorrow for the remaining rounds of the competition.

Please note that the results for “Best Speaker Award”, “Best Researcher Award” and the “Best Memorial Award” will be announced on Monday, 17th March 2014 via email and will also be published on the official competition website www.oxfordmoot.in. The concerned winning teams will also be intimated via telecom and sent their Certificates and Prizes via registered post.”

Results still awaited

For one this is the first of its kind off a moot where the organisers did not want the participants to take part in the closing ceremony. We are still waiting for the results.

Given that there is no transparency and the organisers have time and again refused to assist the teams in any manner, the credibility of the forthcoming result and the fact that the participants would ever receive their certificates is questionable.

The competition already came with a lot of expectations, given that it was being organised by the ‘OXFORD UNIVERSITY’ but what came out was a rude shock for all of us and I agree with the statements made by my co-participants who just had one thing to say post the prelim results, “Thank god, the torture is over.”

Editor’s Note: Do read- REVEALED: OUS India is Not a Representative of the University of Oxford [Addendum to the Oxford India Moot Blog Post]

Also read: Oxford India Moot: Women Participant Assaulted, Recording Phones Snatched, Students Manhandled By Bodyguards, IIC Nearly Cancels the Moot

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Note: Lawctopus has no liability or responsibility for the contents of reader blogs. In case you have any issue with this post please contact Tanuj at [email protected] or +91 9176209952.

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Comments Till Now

  1. Gayatri Aryan says:

    I agree with most of what is mentioned. I haven’t seen or experienced as grotty an organisation ever before, be it moot or anything else. I was told they didn’t have a faculty or the student support, like the colleges, to make it perfect, but they sure did have a group which could have been, but miserably failed to be, a regiment. I didn’t have an idea of when the inauguration formally began or ended, while I WAS there, trying to get SOME clue about the schedule. It just got worse by the day. All the controversies aside, which no one predicted, whatever was in their hands could have been managed well. I hope they review everything properly before their next competition.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The quality of memorials was way bad for being selected in a national moot court competiton. one of our opposite teams had their cover page blank,the name of the appellants and respondents were wrongly put and what not. and still they qualified the memorial round.

  3. Participant says:

    True! The memos were a complete work of plagiarism. It almost seemed as if the organizers just randomly selected some memos. The quality of judging was poor. Judges hardly cared what you spoke and kept texting or answering calls over the phones. Can imagine a team with less than 5 citations in all? Ugh! I just did some research and his Abhishek V Chhabra is an MBA from Oxford and NYU. Clearly he has no idea what goes in the Moot Court. Though an Executive Committee member, his name and photo has magically disappeared from the http://www.ousi.org website. As far as his Linkedin account is concerned it still has a photograph and his details. Given such big sponsors that website displays I wonder what happened to the money if they really sponsored this event! Sigh!

  4. Hi! Yes, the link given by Arnab here has been written by me – a silent spectator of this event. I was accompanying my friend who had come from a different city to Delhi for this event (if I may call it so). Just to clarify, the boy and girl beaten up were known to me, and it was not because they had turned up late. Its because Abhishek V. Chhabra and his mismanagement allotted the same number to both the Goa team and my friends’ team, and because my friend’s team did not realise this before the Goa team, Abhishek Chhabra was hell bent on disqualifying them on some pretext on the other. My post misses out a lot of the language used by him and his illustrious troupe of “professionals”. But what does one really say about a Moot Court comptt. where a girl is beaten up and has to resort to calling the police!

    Can I please appeal to all of you, to BOYCOTT this event in future at University level?

    @SR : Abhishek V. Chhabra was arrested. More about his arrest here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/medhavi-gandhi/abhishek-v-chhabra-i-can-do-anything-i-want/10152119321283020

    • Shri Puneet Gupta and Shri Abhishek V Chhabra have been BFF’s from their Modern School (BKR) days. FYI: Shri Puneet Gupta is an engineering graduate from IIT Delhi, from where he specialized in chemical engineering.

  5. UnluckyMooterTurnedLucky says:

    This is a shame. Especially when each team had put their best foot forward to prepare their memorials. As law students, we all are familiar with the sleepless nights and endless research one does while doing a moot. It has shocked me even more since I could have never (not even in my nightmare) imagined the occurrence of such incident, at least not in moot courts.
    Earlier I thought I was unlucky that my memorial didn’t get selected and blamed myself for sending it one minute late. But now I think, whatever happens is surely for the best. I think all this while I was just being lucky.

  6. plzzz report all dis crap to the official mailing id oxford university …. dis is shit …. and it must be duly reported and entertained …..
    with due repect i would like the participants to report this to the higher n official authorities …

  7. I would like to bring out the reality of the “disqualified team” that had to bear the brunt of organiser. The team was not late for any act. Rather the team was among the early birds to reach the venue and peacefully act as per the guidelines. The team was disqualified without a valid ground. THey were disqualified for acting according to the information passed on by the member of organizing committee concerning submission of the memorial. Yes you read it right…FOR ACTING ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION PASSED ON ” by members of organizing committee and by no delay on their part as the article says. Secondly another team had received same code as the “disqualified team” to which again the organisers had no answer and consequently they stooped down to levels of assault and abuse.

  8. Caught you says:

    I think the ‘participant’ above is from the MOC. The organisation was outright pathetic. In a qualification of 2 wins necessary, a team which lost one round qualified! The judges were so informal that they neither had any literature with them, had very little knowledge of law (one of them said that the 24th amendment is declared unconstitutional ages ago) and were continuously talking in their cell phones while judging. This was truly an out of this world experience. on the brighter side, the prop was a good one, and thanks to it, my constitutional law is way stronger. (Yay)

  9. Participant says:

    Well, considering the large scale, the fact that the venue was iic and each bit of info was communicated on the website, albeit with minor delays with conformance of broad procedures, it was not a chaotic organization – yes, it was relaxed but practically reasonable. those who werent selected would obv want to throw excuses. the judges, who were not a part of the OC, unanimously held that the research of the memos was exceptional.

    • IndigoLandaluz says:

      i have read both selected and unselected memorials and can safely say that the so-called “standard”, while present, was not uniform. arguments have been made in a selected memorial, one which was entirely plagiarised, on the validity of the right to property as a fundamental right. assuming you’re aware of the moot problem, i’d take it you’d agree on the idiocy that was this memorial’s selection.

    • i think you got selected and you’re trying to save your face. But tell us one fact which is untrue…. and about not getting selected, fyi we were against an extremely incompetent team (which was taking in hindi, the judge himself was making fun of them and their memo being what a 5 year old could’ve made) they made it to the “certificate of merit”. THEY WERE USING HINDI IN THE COURT!!!!!! if that sounds like sour grapes to you, then so be it. Our grounds are absolutely on merit.

    • Participant says:

      Not chaotic organization? Did you happen to miss the fist fight and then the police vans that pulled up to the venue? Also it isn’t about throwing excuses, even participants like us who were selected acknowledge that memorial evaluations were done in an arbitrary manner.
      The judges themselves were unaware of the moot problems, and didn’t even have the memo’s n front of them.
      All teams who submitted memo’s worked very hard on them, i think it is only fair to ask for the score sheet and the basis upon which some memo’s were selected

  10. Participant says:

    Accurate description of the event, however you forgot to add the part where the organizers took the disqualified teams phone and then smashed it.
    While all the teams were invited to the famed summit, we were all then un-invited.

  11. participant2632 says:

    This is true, every bit of it. The moot was a sham, where no one was coming forward to claim themselves to be the organizer. Inspite of having a long list of sponsors and claiming to have the support of such heavyweights, there was not enough money spent to even offer water to the participants. It not only raises questions of were these xyz actually ‘sponsors’ and if yes, what happened to the moolah.

  12. law isstudent says:

    What a mess!!!
    I am glad we didnt make it to the orals. Was better off doing nothing than be tortured!

  13. abhishek nehra says:

    ch[…]a bna diya…….

  14. Jayavardhan Singh says:

    I was relatively disappointed when my own memorial wasn’t selected. Then i saw one that was. The arguments were copied with shameless ease from kesavananda bharti; Palkivala in verbatim. This did make it fun though for the team had no idea what they were doing. They copied everything . And so pages went on speaking of Article 13, revisiting Golak Nath and contesting every constitutional amendment passed post 1970, most of which had nothing to do with our problem. Five cases were cited in all. Its safe to say that there was no real standard. Their incompetency was accompanied by no less than a complete lack of anything sane- no semblance of professionalism or anything ‘Oxford’. The moot had crap written all over it, just wish I’d realized earlier. Thanks for this post, though. Makes a few of us feel better about ourselves. Cheers.

  15. Who was the member of the committee that was arrested?

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