Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life is Full of Surprises

At the end of my judicial career, I was a frustrated; unhappy about my decision in late 1990's for accepting judgeship: teaching 'Information Technology and Intellectual Property Rights for a semester in the Allahabad University did not elevate my spirits.
But joining back the legal profession, starting practice in the Supreme Court reinvigorated me. I met lawyers who had argued their cases in my court, clients whose cases I dealt with. This gave fulfilment and new meaning. Life often throws surprises in unexpected ways. Here is one of them.

न्यायाधीश का कार्यकाल समाप्त करते समय, मैं अपने अन्दर टूूट चुका था; नाखुश था अपने उस निर्णय से कि मैं न्यायाधीश क्यों बना: इलाहाबाद विश्वविदयालय में एक सेमेस्टर 'सुचना प्रौद्योगिकी और बौद्धिक सम्पदा अधिकार' कानून पढ़ाने के बाद भी कुछ नहीं बदला।लेकिन सुप्रीम कोर्ट में, वकालत शुरू करने से सब बदल गया। उन वकीलों से मिलना, जिन्होंने मेरे सामने बहस की, उन मुव्वकिलों से टकराना, जिनके मुकदमें किये - इसने जीवन में नये रंग भरे, लगा जीवन बेकार नहीं हुआ। हर मोड़ पर ज़िन्दगी, नये गुल खिलाती है। उन्ही खुशनुमा अनुभवों में से एक।

Picutre courtesy -  SASTRA University Thanjavur

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Prejudice - The Womb Of Injustice

This is the thirteenth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'Scottsboro Boys case - First Round Supreme Court'. This post explains - what happened in the second round before the US Supreme Court; how the  Scottsboro Boys case ended; how prejudice breeds injustice; and most importantly what is the duty of a lawyer.

There was not a single Black in the jury in the second trial of the 'Scottsboro Boys case'. During trial, Liebowitz had taken objection that blacks were available, yet, not a single black person was ever called for jury service; and the names of the Blacks were forged afterwards in the jury roll. The trial court had negated the forgery part and had held that the names of the Blacks were included. The Alabama Supreme Court thought this question to be immaterial.

Leibowitz took up this objection before the US Supreme Court.  The Chief Justice asked him if he could prove it. Leibowitz answered in affirmative and jury roll was produced; this is mentioned in the first footnote in the judgement: perhaps the only time that it so happened. The US Supreme Court in Norris Vs. Alabama 294 US 587 negated the conclusion of the trial court that no forgery was committed by holding,
'We think that the evidence did not justify that conclusion'
The Court also set aside the conviction and remanded the case.  The court held,
'We think that the evidence that for a generation or longer no negro had been called for service on any jury in Jackson County, that there were negroes qualified for jury service, that according to the practice of the jury commission their names would normally appear on the preliminary list of male citizens of the requisite age but that no names of negroes were placed on the jury roll, and the testimony with respect to the lack of appropriate consideration of the qualifications of negroes, established the discrimination which the Constitution forbids. The motion to quash the indictment upon that ground should have been granted.
Whenever by any action of State, whether through its legislature, through its courts, or through its executive or administrative officers, all persons of the African race are excluded, solely because of their race or color, from serving as grand jurors in the criminal prosecution of a person of the African race, the equal protection of the laws is denied to him, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.'
After the case was sent back by the US Supreme Court1, the defence realised that Leibowitz was treated as an outsider by Southerners and it would be better if a southern lawyer defended the case. A local attorney Charles Watt became the leading lawyer. Leibowitz assisted from the sideline.

After remand, the charges of rape against five of them were dropped. Out of these five, one (Ozie Powell) pleaded guilty to the charge of assaulting the Deputy Sheriff. The remaining four were convicted of rape. Out of these four, only Norris, was sentenced to death. Their conviction was upheld by Alabama Supreme Court. Later death penalty of Norris was converted for imprisonment for life by the Governor.

Their pardon was refused but they were granted parole. Norris was granted parole in 1946 and he jumped the parole but later showed up in New York city in 1976. He was considered as a fugitive by Alabama State.  He died on 23.1.1989. He has published his autobiography 'The Last of the Scottsboro Boys' describing his ordeal.

Patterson also jumped his parole. He published his book 'Scottsboro Boy' in 1950,  while he was a fugitive.  Shortly after its publication, Patterson was arrested by the FBI, but the Governor of Michigan refused Alabama's extradition request.  

This is how the saga of Scottsboro Boys that inspired 'To Kill a Mockingbird' ended. The case is a blot on American legal system.  No one believes that the boys were guilty, yet they were convicted because 'prejudice is the spider of the mind; it is womb of injustice. One has to stand up against the prejudice and fight the injustice. It is for this reason that a lawyer's creed is to take up a case irrespective of the unpopularity of the cause or the accused.

In the next post, we will talk about duty of lawyers and unpopular case that I did, before we will talk about some other good legal biographies.

#LegalTrek #YatindraSingh 

#Courtroom #SamuelLeibowitz

Monday, September 26, 2016

Scottsboro Boys case - First Round Supreme Court

This is the twelfth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'Scottsboro Boys' Case - Facts'. This post explains, what happened after their conviction was set aside by the US Supreme Court and how Leibowitz entered in the case.
Ruby Bates and Victoria Price Picture courtesy Wikipedia
LegalTrek 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Scottsboro Boys' Case - Facts

This is the eleventh post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'The Man On The Cigarette Packet'. This post explains is about the facts of the Scottsboro Boys' Case - the case that inspired Harper Lee to write 'To Kill A Mocking Bird'.
Samuel Leibowitz with the Scottsboro Boys - Courtesy Wikipedia

LegalTrek 
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।।Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity।। Introduction to Setalvad।। Benches and The Law Commission।। Court of Appeal – Not A Good Idea: Some Suggestions।। Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography।। Leibowitz - The First Case।। Art of Cross Examination।। The Man on the Cigarette Packet।। Scottsboro Boys' Case - Facts।।

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Man On The Cigarette Packet

This is the tenth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'Art of Cross Examination'. This post explains why many witnesses are honestly mistaken about the identification and why leading question are not allowed in the Examination-in-Chief.

LegalTrek 
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।।Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity।। Introduction to Setalvad।। Benches and The Law Commission।। Court of Appeal – Not A Good Idea: Some Suggestions।। Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography।।Leibowitz - The First Case।। Art of Cross Examination।। The Man On The Cigarette Packet

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Art of Cross Examination


This is the ninth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'Leibowitz - The First Case' and this post is about importance of cross examination, a good book on the same and how Samuel Leibowitz used it in a case. 



LegalTrek 
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।। Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity।। Introduction to Setalvad।। Benches and The Law Commission।। Court of Appeal – Not A Good Idea: Some Suggestions।। Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography।।Leibowitz - The First Case।। Art of Cross Examination।।


Monday, July 04, 2016

THE UNIFORM MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE BILL...

Two areas are close to my heart, namely uniform civil code and population control. I had drafted bills in late 1990's before I was  offered judgeship. The bills were distributed in the Parliament at that time but before they could be introduced (whether as a bill from the public or as a private member bill) the Parliament was dissolved. 

The Central government has asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of implementing the  Uniform Civil Code in detail and submit a report. I thought of publishing the bill relating to Uniform Civil Code that I had drafted.
This cartoon is by Sandeep Adhwaryu on... the Uniform Civil Code  published in Mail online India

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Leibowitz - The First Case

Samuel Leibowitz - Courtesy America Pink 
This is the eight post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography' and this post is about how Samuel Leibowitz got his first case and what happened ti it. 

LegalTrek
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।। Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity।। Introduction to Setalvad।। Benches and The Law Commission।। Court of Appeal – Not A Good Idea: Some Suggestions।। Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography।। Leibowitz - The First Case

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Courtroom - Finest Legal Biography

This is the seventh post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was 'National Court of Appeal - Not A Good Idea' and the next few posts will be about the  legal autobiographies/ biographies. This post is about a book titled 'Courtroom', the finest legal biography that I have read.

Friday, June 10, 2016

National Court of Appeal – Not A Good Idea: Some Suggestions

This is the sixth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was about 'Benches and the Law Commission' and this post is about whether we should have National Court of Appeal (NCA) or not what steps may be undertaken to reduce the pendency in courts.
Photogrph courtesey offcial website of the Supreme Court 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Forty Years Ago

ADM Jabalpur Vs Shiv Kant Shukla (The Habeas Corpus case) dealt with maintainability of Habeas Corpus petition during emergency. It was decided forty years ago on 28th April 1976. It made Justice HR Khanna immortal and continues to be a blot on the otherwise golden armour of our highest  Court.
VKS Chaudhary was Senior Advocate and the chairman of the Trust. He was detained during emergency. The full bench of the Allahabad High Court held his Habeas Corpus to be maintainable. However the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court in the Habeas Corpus case. 
Justice yatindra Singh (now chairman of the Trust) was the counsel in the case. The article below is recollection of that time before the Supreme Court.

नवभारत में निकले, हिन्दी में इस लेख को पढ़ने के लिये यहां चटका लगायें।

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Benches and The Law Commission

This is the fifth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was about my 'Introduction to Setalvad' and this post is about MC Setalvad's view on Lucknow bench as well as his view on benches of the courts.

Courtesy Allahabad High Court website

LegalTrek


Saturday, April 09, 2016

Introduction to MC Setalvad

Picture from the book 'My Life'
This is fourth post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was about, Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity and before talking about the views of MC Setalvad, the first Attorney General and the Chairman of the first Law Commission of Independent India about benches and Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, I thought proper to write about my introduction to that great lawyer. 

LegalTrek


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity

This is the third post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was about, how Allahabad High Court was established and this post is about why there is a bench of the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow.
Lucknow Bech Allahabad High Court - courtesy Allahabad High Court official website

LegalTrek
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।। Lucknow Bench - Historical Necessity।।

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Allahabad High Court Is Born

This is second post of the series 'LegalTrek'. The last post was about, why I became a lawyer and this post is about how the Allahabad High Court  was established.

LegalTrek
How I Became A Lawyer।। Allahabad High Court Is Born।। Lucknow Bench - Allahabad High Court।।

 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

LegalTrek - How I Became A Lawyer

Allahabad High Court was established in 1866. This year is one hundred and fiftieth year of its existence. On this occasion Allahabad High Court has planned a year long activities. It kicks off today, among others, in the presence of the President and the Chief Justice of India.

On this occasion, I plan to write a series titled 'LegalTrek'; about the incidents and cases that in a way shaped the Court's as well as my life. Perhaps, this may be useful, instructive. However, in between the posts of the series, there would be other posts as well. 

This post is about, why I chose  the professional of law.
Allahabad High Court - From centenary volume

Thursday, January 21, 2016

EUTHANASIA AND CONSCIENCE TO KEEP

Euthanasia, mercy killing, assisted suicide, physician aid in dying is debatable issue. Even if it is desired by the person concerned, it poses moral dilemma for those who have to take the decision. In our country, it is punishable and this question is referred to the constitutional bench in Common Cause vs Union of India 2014 SC (Supp) 1456 = 2014(5) SCC 338 after disagreeing with Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug Vs Union 2011(4) SCC 454 = 2011 CrLJ (Supp) 301. The bench has sought the views of the government on the same. The following article considers the debate, moral dilemma, and law of the other nation in this regard. It also takes into account the latest decision of the Canadian Supreme Court in Carter Vs Canada upholding such right.
Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug - picture courtesy Wikipedia

Aadhaar - Inadequate Data protection

Ambedkar Presenting final draft of the Constitution to Rajendra prasad - Picture courtesy Wikipedia The three part series on 'Priv...