By Vrinda Chauhan, Faculty Of Law, 3rd year, Aligarh Muslim University.
It was 5th June 2014 soon after two days coming from the hostel, I decided to go to the court the next day.
The 6th of June 2014- gave birth to Excitement and Anxiety in me. Excitement that of visiting the court for the very first time in my life and anxiety of facing whole lot of people.
NAND KISHORE UPMANYU was my boss. He is a Criminal Lawyer. He has his hold in the districts of Mathura, Aligarh, Hathras and the adjoining districts too.
He has his office: House no. 25 – A Geeta Colony (bank colony) Mathura. Also he sits in Chamber no. 268, Collectorate Compound, Mathura.
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He is a man of principles and expects the same from others too. Indeed I was a lucky person to be interning under him.
THE GROUND ZERO
The district court of Mathura is located in the Civil Lines area. Luckily for me it was just 10 minutes by walk. Well the Court premises was to my surprise not the one which use to watch in the movies.
The court premises is large. There is a Family Court with its office attached. Then the various Courtrooms begin with the name plates stuck on the wall in sequence as : Room no. – Judge’s name – designation. So there were about 12 -16 such courtrooms.
Devoid of the good infrastructure, it is still the hub of Justice. Spit-ups,upchucks formed the part of every nook and corner. People from the remoter area came mainly from Vrindavan, Farah, Gokul.
Some were so aggrieved that they didn’t know where to go. It seemed that they were lost and waned to get justice hurriedly.S ome were the property dealers, zamindars constituted rich populace. But some hardly could afford water.
‘Horribly Good’ – was the phrase that came to my mind. Soon I realised that this profession is full of paradoxes.
‘ Lawyers do wear Black Coat but
striving for fair justice.
Lawyers with high morals
indeed have to defend the murderers
What a DEVIL-WEARS-PRADA situation! ‘
Adjournments rule the roost but lawyers have to whisk away with the case. They really have to hasten up. The district court at times becomes so unpredictable that one is sure to get confused in the manner the case file rotates.
The lawyers has to keep on moving from o courtroom to another keeping in mind the ‘madding crowd’ of other litigants.
There is no compromise in the scorching heat one has to face. But if the file comes to the District Judge’s court,the litigant is surely relieved as DJ=AC.
This means that the court room of District Judge is of classic infrastructure and yes that is the court where I can resemble with that of movies. The well furnished Docks that is where the prisoners are made to stand in front of the judge during the proceedings.
Then there is separate bench of advocates and separate section for the parties involved. Yes! the air freshened by the air conditioner.
BEARING THE BAR POLITICS
As every district has its Bar Association. But I wonder why there is no bar to the Bar politics!
The senior lawyers maintain their hegemony. Apparently every lawyer is like ‘alter-ego’ of the other. But when they are opposite to each other in the proceedings, the real them comes into play.
I was supposed to intern the whole month of June and July that what I planned so as to gain maximum experience of this profession but I was restricted.
This restriction was not at all reasonable. The Bar people use to crib a lot. I need to highlight this matter that there is a demand of the litigants pending since 14-15 years for the establishment of the High Court bench in Agra.
As the summer’s hotness was uncompromisingly irritating, the Bar advocates were going on daily strikes to shift the timings of the court. Monday was the day reserved for the strike for High Court’s establishment.
So of course the stat of affairs of the court were seriously hampered.
The aggrieved parties were getting more aggrieved day by day. The judges sitting idle observing the course of events and yes waiting for any sincere lawyer to come up and litigate the case. Ahh! What an agony of the law- abiding- Judges.
Finally the court resumed its stability from 27th June. The date when lazy lawyers too showed up.
Imagine what paradox! the lawyers regarded as the most learned men are eventually became the cause of delayed justice!. Imagine the plight of the parties concerned, they were literally hanging on the noose of pendency.
COURT HEARINGS: THE OCEAN OF LEARNING
The session of the court used to commence from 11;00 a.m; officially 10:00 a.m. Every advocate was expected to adhere to the dress code that was white shirt nd pants with necessarily black coat.On this point I am reminded of an incident where the judge summoned in a a case the police officer urgently.
As he came hurriedly he forgot to wear his uniform. The judge chided him and asked him to bog off the court. I had the advantage of studying in the Aligarh Muslim University as I had my uniform ready and wore during internship too.
Following the usual trend that the junior entourages the senior. I too joined the line.
In the respective court room juniors use to stand and wait for the file’s no. while our sir along with other senior lawyers use to sit on the lawyers bench. The ‘peshgaar‘ use to call out the name of the case.
For instance X v/s Y so he calls out ‘ X banam Y‘. Then our sir use to go in front before the judge. Then the arguments used to begin.If our party is of the accused that is respondent then the prosecution has to be the government or state appointed one.
Believe me few state prosecutors alias ‘court sahab’ were so lethargic that on being asked by the judge to present their version of case, they used to say literally that-‘sir padha nahin abhi‘ ‘I haven’t gone through the FIR’. Indeed many prosecutors were such that they presented a bad picture in the name of prosecution. Our case use to be strong as sir presented the apt version and it eventually convinced the court.
In the Bail cases,there are 2 types of bail cases: one is the same day bail hearings in that after hearing, the Hon’ble judge use to grant bailor rejects.
And there are offences which are of non bailable nature for such cases one has to go to the high court and then from there the bail application is moved ordering for the same day hearing in the lower court.
As a matter of fact, the judge use to see firstly the First Information Report (FIR) then the witness’ depositions, the medical reports were also perused into. Reaching the court,standing 4-5 hours continuously with only fan overhead. I was always eager to listen to the counsel debating.
Noticing the heated arguments and the approach of the Hon’ble judge in adjudicating made up my day. I use to peruse the cse files.Generally sir represented the accused side that is the side on which the blames are hurled. Such lawyer is known as the ‘infamous lawyer’.
The very first document was addressed to the “Jila Adhikaari, Mathura“. Then the case name was mentioned ,then the relevant sections/provisions. Then the matter goes like this –
The accused in this case has been wrongly implicated. The version presented by the prosecution is concocted and fabricated.Then the mention comes of the accused presence on the alleged site and the time. At last the document is undersigned by the advocate concerned to the party.
I once studied the postmortem report. I came across the abbreviation GSW which meant Gun Shot Wound,meaning that if there is GSW then the report reveals the measurements of the wound and also of the range and shot type used. I ran into a junior of sir and I got to know that how canny is it to obtain a postmortem report.
As the corruption lays its wings everywhere,he had to give 1000 rupees to obtain it. the report is prepared by the doctor. When the postmortem begins there has to be a doctor conducting it,the dependents of the deceased,2-3 police officers and the eye-witnesses as their depositions are taken too,to avoid the fabrication in the report.
One of the essential part of the proceedings is the Cross-Examination. Mind it, it takes minimum 4-5 hours to examine the witness.The presence of witness,his lawyer,and the opposite party’s lawyer who cross examines the witness, is required. he judge sits and observes that no coercion or pressure is used to harass the witness.
In the cross examination the lawyer asks the questions like- who are you and how are you related to the alleged person? Where were you at the time of the scene?What is your profession,etc.
At times the witnesses are being tutored by their lawyers to speak only the taught facts otherwise they would loose the case. There is the ‘peshgaar‘ who records the deposition.
I wish to share that a lawyer have to have the multi-disciplinary knowledge. If one doesn’t have much of the debating skills then it wouldn’t matter much as compared to the knowledge and the command on the laws and the inter -disciplines.
On this point an instant is that I was reading the contentions put up by sir.
The case related to the murder and the question came up before the court was whether the Point Blank Range was there or not. Sir described the position of the accused and the deceased by the use of Pythagoras Theorem and so he convinced the court that the accused was innocent.
Another instance was that the opposite party contended that the accused used the gun to fire the shot at the body of a female. Sir smoothly described that the medical reports of that female were fabricated as firstly the hospital in which she was admitted wasn’t there at a particular place which the opposite party is mentioning.
Moreover the injuries suffered were not which would result from the gun. He very keenly studied the nature of injuries and also the diseases.
But at times Sir didn’t have the convincing arguments to put up so his last resort used to be the point of customs and the traditions prevailing at that particular place.
As every law student knows that customs played an important part in formation of Law. The series of arguments presented by him used to leave the court dumbstruck.
Upmanyu sir is the man of high orals. Being the trustee of the Girraj Maharaj School of Law and also the trustee of the Baanke Bihari shrine, he is down to earth man.He holds a great repute due to he is strict adherence to his principles.
Being the student of Aligarh Muslim university, Aligarh, he used to tell his fellowmen proudly that I am interning under him from such college, and that’s just because of the ‘tehzeeb’ and ‘tarbyat’ of this prestigious university.
He directed me to study the elementary laws and make a selective study approach for the competitions.He told that there is no shortcut to Hard work.
As every law student aspires to hold a reputation in the legal fraternity, I now was determined to do very possible hard work required with surely the blessings of Almighty.
They say – “Attitude determines the Altitude of life “