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MEDIA POPULAR ADVOCATES

 

It has been my endeavor to make a brief analysis of the career of successful advocates who have now become part and parcel of media.  I have sincerely taken up this exercise in our experts section and was able to draw opinion from learned experts to find as to how special are these Advocates. I have been regularly following the career of the following advocates for the last 20 years. I found many aspects are Very Very Special in them in their own way.  Many of our LCI members shared their experiences with some of these stalwarts in their professional careers and disclosed the best qualities of each and every one in this list for the benefit our young and aspiring lawyers in the country can emulate to become highly successful in making Judicial Reforms. My honest intention of this post this article is to benefit upcoming lawyers who can take a cue from the experiences and feedbacks shared by our beloved experts.This article would help our young and brilliant judicial brains to pave way to fight for Judicial Reforms simplyfing the long drawn legal process so that every citizen in this county should never wait for Justice.  Though these personalities are affiliated to various political parties I have attached importance only to their legal skills and acumen which every professional would agree.Here is a list of such advocates.

 

1. Ram Jethmalani
2. Harish Salve
3. Arun Jetley
4. Manish Tewari
5. Ravi Shankar Prasad
6. Majid Memon
7. Jayanthi Natarajan
8. Abhishek Manu Singhvi
9. Mahesh Jethmalani
10.Kapil Sibal
11.Soli Sorabjee
12.Shanthi Bhushan

My study is purely based on the following three aspects:

(a) Why they are best?
(b) What is their success formula?
(c) Who are all their mentors?

However the list is never ending since there are still more excellent judicial brains operating in India. We can be proud of these doyens for the service they have rendered to our judicial system. 

Mr. Shanthi Bhushan, who always stands on a special pedestal for his honesty,integrity and courage.

 

In my opinion the basic difference between these listed advocates and others is that they study the law and cases most minutely and bring out the face which was not known earlier.

 

 

Experts cited just two recent examples.



1) When the whole media was crying foul for the parole of famous haryana minister son and alleged killer of THE hotel bar girl , Jethmalani gave a very nice argument to the public, law and media. HE SAID THE FACILITY OF PAROLE IS TO KEEP A CONVICT HUMAN SO THAT WHEN HE RETURNS BACK AFTER JAIL TERM HE CAN BE A ACCEPTABLE CITIZEN.

2) SIMILARLY MR MAJID MAMON IN A GANG RAPE CASE DECIDED ON 7-8 TH OCT 2010 AT MUMBAI , HE JUST DUG OUT THE MOBILE RECORDS OF THE RAPE VICTIM AND SHOWED TO THE COURT THAT THE VICTIM WAS TALKING TO DOZS OF PEOPLE DURING THE PERIOD WHEN SHE CLAIMED OF BEING GANG RAPED. RESULT THE CASE AGAINST ALL THE ACCUSED WAS DISMISSED.

 

Our Indian judicial system  runs on well oiled machinery. In most of the cases, the higher judiciary consistently follow the settled principles of law and hence, the advocates' role becomes limited where there is well settled law. The media popular advocates do not have any added advantage in the court of law.

 

These Media popular advocates are basically divided into two categories. Some become popular by virtue of opportunity or chance. Some become popular by patronizing or supporting the programmes of a single TV Channel or Newspaper. In the first category, fortunately the advocate gets such a case, which stirs the public conscious and the advocate representing the victim becomes popular overnight. There are some advocates who become popular because of the cases they take up related mostly to human rights, AIDS, etc. But some advocates are media savvy. They wait like vultures to get opportunity to become popular through media and give such hateful comments on ongoing trials, as in the case of Jessica Lal  every body is aware of the fact that the counsel was appearing more on T.V. than in court. They defend the indefensible to show that they have better brains than their brothers which is contrary to the reality.

 

Many brilliant advocates, even very young advocates with only two to three years at the bar can match the skills of even advocates listed above. But they will not get popularity because they do not know the tactics of cultivating the media, sipping and singing with media. Advocates who are honest and dedicated to the professional tasks mostly concentrate on their cases with sincere preparation, even though they are never seen on T.V. and print media.

 

 

It is truly a real-opener to one and all. The best qualities that any advocate should possess helps to revamp the judicial process in the best interest of the society.  Success of an advocate depends upon her/his dedication and hard work.My view is that the factors such as Legal knowledge ,Interpretation and argument skill,writing skill,responsibility towards the client and court are the main reasons for their popularity and success.

In the opinion of one of our law experts, media-savvy advocates, or media popular advocates become who they are because of their command over the subject, and their attention to detail, and thereby their competency or ability to bring required relief to their clients. 

These "victories" are noticed by the media, and it is no secret that media thrives on such information for its own survival. And after getting such good "bytes", whenever in future, the media needs some legal inputs, it is easier for them to go back to the same advocates for their opinions/thoughts. 

While media helps some advocates to become popular, the media also benefits by expert legal opinions given by these learned advocates. There is nothing wrong where everything is above board, and such interactions between media and advocates are usually good for the development of law as a sought after profession.

Having said that, there can be some advocates who come to the forefront due to the fact that they are handling sensitive or media friendly matters. There is nothing wrong in this as well. All advocates may not get the same opportunity. It is just a question of some learned advocates being in the right place at the right time. You can call it luck, or you can call it good preparation to attract such attention. There is nothing illegal in this. Other than blatant advertising, which is prohibited by the Bar Council, (I have my own thoughts on this, maybe we will reserve it for another discussion), the learned advocates can explain the law, the process, or the procedures for the benefit of all the public. They should restrain on attempting to influence the course of an ongoing trial, a matter sub-judice, by their comments/opinions, etc. 

If advocates want to appear in media, and become "media popular", it is extremely important for them to have great subject matter expertise, and equally great communication skills to tackle often uncomfortable questions by the anchors/public.

This does not mean in any way, that those advocates who do not appear in media or who do NOT WANT TO appear in media are bad or incompetent. It may be that some advocates do not get an opportunity, though they want it desperately. And it may be that some advocates do not WANT to come into the media glare for a variety of reasons. 

Law is considered as a noble profession, and many lawyers still maintain the nobility of the profession through their actions. Whether such advocates choose to be media friendly or not, they should always at all times, uphold the dignity of our profession. As long as they do that, the few of us who represent the advocate community, will bring the rest of us great repute, respect and dignity. If not, all of us will be put to shame. This should be avoided.

I want to give a couple of examples. We all have seen Mr. Arun Jaitley, Mr. Kapil Sibal, Mr. Soli Sorabjeee, etc., come on screen and talk their hearts out on various issues. It is always interesting to see these learned advocates speak. Mr Sibal has gone from addressing the Parliament in the only judicial impeachment matter till date, to being a minister in the UPA government. While his rise may be metamorphic, he would not have grown to this stature without expertise in his subjects. Further, as soon as he became the HRD Minister, we have seen the Right to Education get implemented. Such acts make the presence of good advocates felt and seen in the political arena as well, giving credence to the maxim that "Justice should not only be done, but SEEN to be done". The public at large will know that a person with good knowledge can do a lot good to the society than those with just a large fan following. Mr. Jaitley is another stalwart who speaks very fluently on a wide variety of subjects, and holds the attention of the audience. If one sees the Bhopal Gas case, Mr. Sorabjee as the Advocate General did a great job. At the same time, some of his decisions have gone against him. For example, he advised the Government at that time to drop proceedings against an American Company, which could have got us a great deal of compensation. We could have instead used the Alient Torts Claims Act (ACTA) in the USA, by which we could have claimed billions of dollars as compensation. I am not sure why we did not use that law, which specifically provides for torts of American companies in alien locations.

Such advocates with great command over their subjects, and having great communication skills, and being in the right time at the right place, and more importantly, having the intention to be seen in the media, become very popular in the media. Some actions of these popular advocates are appreciated while some may not be appreciated.

 

I wish to conclude by briefly jotting down the best qualities of these advocates which I recap as under:

 

1.

Ram Jethmalani

Brilliant whose successful cases always resulted in creation of Judicial Precedents and New Law

2

Harish Salve      

Straightforward and always speaks from his mind

3

Arun Jetley        

High dictum and huge command in the language and well versed in Indian Laws with highest IQ levels.

4

Manish Tewari  

Has the knack to frame his arguments making his opponents think twice before proceeding further 

5

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Admirable legal skills and efficiency in handling sensitive cases effortlessly and his Militancy in work stamina . 

6

Majid Memon            

One of the few advocates who can expose all the loopholes in the Statutes   

7

Jayanthi Natarajan    

Very faithful to her party without any big aspirations in the career

8

Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Research oriented analytical lawyer with apt clarity in his legal mind

9

Mahesh Jethmalani      

High adaptability and flexibility in his approach  to intepret the Statutes with logical perspective

10

Kapil Sibal                    

But for his political ambitions, this gentleman would have been a top notch law teachers

11

Soli Sorabjee              

Fine Grasping power with envious memory power and Updated knowlege with regard to precedents related to his case.

12

Shanthi Bhushan        

Blessed with robust courage and perseverence to face all the money, muscle and political power.

 



 

Hope our young and aspiring lawyers in the country would be highly benefited to emulate the positives of each and every advocate  to stand as true custodians of law for the New India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks and Regards

 

Parthasarathi Loganathan

 

"Save Environment Save Humanity. Worship and Admire our Mother Nature to Protect us from Calamities"

 

 

 Good Lawyers know the law but great lawyers respect the Law. The power of a lawyer lies in the uncertainty of the Law 

 

 

 


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