Are lawyers obsolete?

The dynamics of the legal market continue to amaze me. India has lakhs of jobless lawyers sitting around exterminating houseflies in district courts around the country. In any random sample, less than 10% make a living wage. As has always been the case, without a daddy or uncle in the…

Invisible Elephant in the Court Room

If you live long enough, you come to realize that today’s outrageous is next week’s new normal. Like 18 hour power outages, people can get used to almost anything. Eleven years ago, Praveen Babi, the iconic Bollywood heroine of my generation died leaving much of what she owned to charity.…

Self-inflicted Wounds

When the Supreme Court directed the Government of India to establish a National Disaster Mitigation Fund in May 2016, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley observed that India’s judiciary was destroying its institution structure “step by step, brick by brick”. Who is responsible for this judicial activism is a matter of debate,…

The trouble with privatised justice

Consider the irony: many lawyers agree that India’s justice machine has all but collapsed but Indians generally believe deeply in Indian courts. Similarly, many lawyers agree that privatised justice (also known as arbitration) has all but collapsed in India but clients generally believe they provide an exciting opportunity to transcend…

Persecuting victims: Justice for the emotionally overblown

Long before Tarun Tejpal’s legendary libido unfairly dented her credibility; Tehelka’s Shoma Chaudhury devastatingly demolished CBI’s case against Arushi Talwar’s parents back in June 2013. Avirook Sen’s recent book on the subject expands substantially on her critique without necessarily unearthing a great deal of new data. What neither Chaudhury nor…

Law And Living-in

Here’s a confusing contradiction for the connoisseur: Indian courts are very slow to decide anything at all, but they are exceedingly quick to evolve laws to respond to ever-changing social mores. The battle over the rights of homosexuals may not be the best example of this, but in most departments…

Striking Disservice

For 5000 years, we have believed that the individual is defined, not by his rights, but by his duties. How this has transformed into an environment of rights and entitlements is quite the untold story. On most days of the week, the Supreme Court of India undoubtedly does very brave…