Neeati Narayan interviewed the winners of Lokmanya Tilak National Appellate Moot Court Competition, 2014- Apurupa, Iti and Malvika from the Rizvi Law College, Mumbai.
It was based on criminal provisions and had a daunting problem which the girls dealt with effectively and emerged as victorious. Read on for more insight for such Moot Court Competitions.
Speaker 1: Apurupa Vatsalya
Speaker 2: Iti Singh
Speaker 3: Malvika Shetty
Hey guys, congratulations on your victory! Basic questions first, what made you choose the moot in the first place?
Apurupa – Hey! Thank you so much! It was a criminal moot problem! The IPC and Constitution are usually my field of interest! Yes we were disappointed that it turned out to be an anticipatory bail application but we only understood how tough it is to get any adjudicator to listen to something without going into the merits of the case!
Iti – Thanks a lot! So, we found out about the Moot Competition just 15 days before it was scheduled to be held and we were really impressed with their Moot Problem Docket which was a REAL BRIEF of 52 pages and we built it up in our heads that it’s a hard core Criminal Appeal but it turned out to be an Anticipatory Bail!
We were disappointed at first, but I kid you not, Anticipatory Bail is one of THE most difficult task for a Lawyer to convince a judge that a prima facie case can or cannot be made out for an anticipatory bail without leading or admitting a single document or evidence.
How was the process of preparation? How did you go about the entire stage?
Apurupa – I am very last minute in everything I do cause I somehow work best under immense pressure but my team wouldn’t let me rest. We were very active in the limited period of time given to us – sleepless nights, thorough research, visiting courts, watching the conduct and ethics of lawyers eventually paid off.
In something as simple as a bail application we included sections of IPC, CrPC, Constitution, Evidence and even international conventions!
Iti – Well the process of our preparation was rather shoddy and thoroughly rushed! But we put in consecutive all nighters and managed to finish our memorials which rewarded us fructuously as we bagged the BEST MEMORIAL as well!
Malvika kept Apurupa and I very focused as she’s really organized and the two of us are last minute babies but after thorough research and visiting the High Court to see criminal proceedings a couple of times, it helped us pick some Court Ethics. We used to cross question each other, literally play the devil’s advocate, grill each other so we would be prepared with every line of defense and counter arguments!
Malvika -The IPC commentaries was our bible. We also relied heavily on several other authorities. But, our focus was primarily on knowing the facts of the case at the back of our hands. We also met with a public prosecutor practicing in the Sessions Court in order to understand the case better and also to get a clearer idea about what the judges will be expecting from us.
How was it like working with the team? What do you think are your team’s fortes? What were the roadblocks?
Apurupa – With the team, I couldn’t ask for more. These girls are first year students but if you talk to them, they’ll give a fourth year student a run for his degree! We’re hardworking and ambitious, which is the most important thing to attain extraordinary results!
Iti –We worked out beautifully as a team! We’re highly compatible! I think what kept us going was self-motivation but as a team, we understand each other’s rhythm and end up complimenting each other’s style of advocacy!
The roadblocks were many – time constraints, being girls, who let’s face it, in a patriarchal society such as ours, don’t think women have it in them to go too far! But we are three highly ambitious girls, aggressive yet not condescending but I guess the most important thing is to believe you’ll crack through and YOU WILL.
Malvika – Well we all admire each other a lot and that especially helped us overcome whatever little qualms either one of us had. Both Iti and I were very keen on doing a moot with Apurupa, being a fourth year student and our college Moot President and the experience was thoroughly enriching.
She made it a point to teach us how to go about the drafting process and research and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t largely owe the win to her.
How many teams were you up against in the competition? Which team would you consider to be your toughest competition?
Iti – It was DES Law College’s 6th Lokmanya Tilak National Appellate Moot Court Competition so there were teams from various places as far as Lucknow to as remote as Nagpur or Pune. JH Raisoni Law College was against us in our preliminaries and their speaker was very convincing!
The Judges in our Preliminaries were seasoned mooters of their times and were so proactive! They grilled us at every argument we put forward but the key is to never give up and never concede to your opponents! The minute a mooter says – “Counsel pleads ignorance” you’ve half lost your battle!
How was the final round up against?
We almost thought we’d lose to them but we were thrilled to make it to the Semi- Finals where we were thrown against ILS, Pune who happened to be our strongest competitors from the semis to the finals! We were pitted against them both times! It was really intense! Like a battle of DJ’s!
The judge in our finals was a sitting Judge at High Court, Bombay – Justice Sadhna Jadhav. And let me tell you she looks like an angel but is a real toughie! She threw us under the bus on more than one occasion and I almost remember sweating through my nose, my palms, my forehead but all I told myself was – now or never cause if you’ve come this close to winning, you might as well take it back home!
Apurupa – As students, we were clueless on few law points but that doesn’t and shouldn’t stop a speaker from logically deducting an argument from pure facts! ILS, pune was against us in both the semis and finals. These guys were well versed with their research on law but their team compatibility was poor. That definitely gave us an edge.
Malvika – There was stiff competition. Our toughest competition was ILS- Pune. We were up against them for our semi- finals and finals rounds. Both their oral and written submissions were articulated, impressive and might I say, quite daunting but like we mentioned we were thoroughly prepared with counter arguments.
What message would you like to pass on to the mooters and the non-mooters?
Apurupa – I’ve been mooting from year one and I can say, with utmost conviction that has given me a lot of self confidence and I’ve learnt the art of twisting a person’s thought process to the tune of my words!
During my four years in Law School and internships, I’ve seen the best lawyers walk home with the order in their favour just with their persuasive skills. So law students need to polish their mirror in that respect.
Iti – To the mooters – You cannot give up no matter what! And as students, the judges don’t expect you to know EVERYTHING on LAW.
You’re still students, you’re learning. As a matter of fact Lawyers are still learning because the application of our statues is so vast but what the judges really look forward to is your advocacy skills, your ability to think on your feet, your ability to speak logically even if you don’t know the entire application of any Section.
You have to be aggressive, you cannot plead ignorance but at the same time you can’t think less of the judiciary so you must respect their office and simultaneously get your point very clearly across the bar. As her Ladyship Justice Jadhav pointed out and I quote – Mooting is net practice before going for the big game to earn your living.
And to the non mooters- You’ve got to go out there and start mooting! Its only progressive.
Malvika – for mooters it’s important to keep in mind that thorough research coupled with confidence is the key to a win. Any inadequacy with respect to either of the two can put you in a fix.
For non-mooters, I’d say they are missing out on wonderful opportunities that moot competitions provide to enhance their skills of advocacy.
Asst. Editor’s Note: This all-girl team was awesome enough to share their written submissions with Lawctopus and for that, we thank them from all our functioning hearts. Please refer to the memorials and the case docket below.