Posted in My Law Icons

Moulding the Law: Justice Bhagwati

Justice P.N. Bhagwati pioneered Public Interest Litigation (15 mins into this interview) . He moulded constitutional law.

Do you know? – He apologized for a judgement.

A controversial judgment of Bhagwati was in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case (popularly referred to as the ADM Jabalpur case or the habeas corpus case) where he decreed that during Emergency, a person’s right to not be unlawfully detained (Habeas Corpus) can be suspended. This judgment received a lot of criticism since it reduced the importance attached toFundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution. Bhagwati later agreed with popular opinion that this judgement was short-sighted and “apologised” for the same.


Thirty-six years ago, a woman lawyer confidently climbed the 17 steps of the Supreme Court and walked into a cold, thick-walled courtroom without a thought for the frowns trained at her from the high priests of Indian judiciary and her male colleagues.

Senior Advocate Pushpa Kapila Hingorani had a mission that day in December — one that the Supreme Court had never heard of before and one which would eventually kick off a revolution called the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) across the country.

The two pages she carried to the court contained the plight of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails — men, women, children, lepers and mental patients cast away into jails and forgotten by the state. She wanted the court to intervene immediately and give orders to release them on bail. The historic case, later known to every law student in India as Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary, Bihar, drew its name from one of the prison inmates. It was the first PIL in India.

A shocked Supreme Court Bench led by Justice P.N. Bhagwati went on to release over 40,000 undertrial prisoners from various jails nationwide.

“The success of the Khatoon case was so widespread that the Supreme Court in the 1980s opened a new section in the Registry devoted to PILs.

Listen to Justice Bhagwati, the soft-spoken strong man! As is Adv. M C Mehta, whom we heard today. Worth emulating these leaders. What do you think?

Posted in My Law Icons

Celebrity Lawyer: Amal Alamuddin

Did you say, Amal who? Mrs. George Clooney, you dumbo!

Amal went to New York University School of Law to study for the LLM degree, (after a law degree from Oxford), where she was a clerk for the clerkships program at the International Court of Justice.[20] She received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law.[21][22] For one semester while at NYU, she worked as a student law clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuitin the offices of Sonia Sotomayor, who is now on the Supreme Court of the United States.[23] In 2004, she worked at the International Court of Justice and was one of two NYU-sponsored clerks at the Court. She clerked under Judge Vladen S. Vereshchetin from Russia and Judge Nabil Elaraby from Egypt.[20][24]

Match Amal’s charisma, SLSians!

Posted in My Law Icons

My Law Icon: Soli Sorabjee

Soli Sorabjee is my icon because, he is the “Free spirit” who would always stand for truth. He says: “I decided to use my argumentative skills and gift of gab to serve the country”

On Legal Education, he says:

“Chambering should be taught, legal education should not be only bookish knowledge but it should teach them to become good lawyers. Bar exams should be made compulsory with practical training. Also, the Supreme Court should restrict young lawyers’ entry and allow only lawyers with more than 5 years of experience. That will help speed up the judicial process.”

A lot more interesting points in this conversation…do tell us in the comments section whether you agree with Soli Sorabjee.