Court asks why the body of former chief minister J Jayalalitha cannot be exhumed for investigation.
Indian police arrest two suspected venom smugglers caught in possession of dozens of snakes.
India successfully conducts a fourth test launch of its nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
A group has published details of India tycoon’s assets, accounts and passwords on Twitter.
The Twitter account of India’s main opposition Congress party is hacked briefly before being restored.
India’s top court stops firecracker sales in the capital Delhi, while “harmful affects” are studied.
India opposition parties call for a nationwide protest against the government’s currency ban.
Some Indians believe Unesco has declared India’s new currency note the “best in the world”, but it’s not true.
A hospital in India is fined after releasing a dead body to the wrong family for cremation.
Ailing Indian politician Jayaram Jayalalitha hints at recovery in a letter that describes a ‘rebirth’.
Indians fret as queues outside banks lengthen to swap 500 and 1,000 rupee notes which are no longer valid.
More than 100,000 students take exams in Indian-administered Kashmir despite not being able to attend school for nearly four months.
People queue outside banks in India to exchange banned high denomination currency notes.
Two stuntmen are feared dead after jumping into a reservoir as part of a film shoot in south India.
Eight prisoners who escaped from a jail in the central Indian city of Bhopal have been killed, police say.
Police in India arrest the owner of a hospital in connection with a deadly fire that killed 20 patients.
India is becoming a major vehicle manufacturing hub, with several foreign firms setting up factories there – and changing people’s lives in the process.
India, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, will ratify the Paris global climate agreement pact next month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said
One soldier dies as Indian security forces say they have killed 10 suspected militants in battles near an army base that was attacked on Sunday.
Four men are arrested in India’s capital, Delhi, for allegedly gang raping two teenage girls in a public park.
An MP from the ruling party in Indian-administered Kashmir resigns in protest at the authorities’ handling of weeks of political unrest.
Five people have been killed during fresh protests in Indian-administered Kashmir, reports say.
An 81-year-old Indian man is finally awarded a prestigious gold medal for coming top in law exams which he sat nearly 50 years ago.
At least 79 people are killed by lightning strikes in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, officials say.
India successfully launches 20 satellites in a single mission, the most in the history of the country’s ambitious space programme.
Bollywood star Salman Khan is given a week to apologise after he tells reporters his filming schedule was so gruelling he felt like a “raped woman”.
India’s food watchdog bans the use of a cancer-causing chemical in bakery products, a senior official says.
A restaurant in Delhi is guilty of “discriminatory behaviour” for refusing to serve a woman and street children who wanted to eat there, an Indian state government panel says.
Indian police say they have arrested the suspected leader of an illegal human kidney trading gang in one of the country’s leading private hospitals.
A police complaint is filed against four toppers of school leaving exams in India’s Bihar state after an inquiry found that they cheated.
A court in the Indian capital, Delhi, finds five men guilty for the 2014 gang rape of a Danish woman.
Fourteen exam-topping Indian students will be retested after a video of one of them saying political science is about cooking goes viral.
At least 2,234 people in India contract the deadly HIV virus while getting blood transfusions in hospitals in the past 17 months.
Seventeen soldiers die in a fire at a military ammunition depot in western Maharashtra state, Indian army officials say.
Two students are electrocuted and at least 30 others injured when a live wire falls on their school bus in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state.
In a recent interview of Phiroza Anklesaria, she narrates how she narrowly missed out on becoming a High Court Judge. At the height of her career, Anklesaria wrote a scathing article criticising the terrible plight of junior advocates in the profession that sank her prospects. What surprised me was how little had changed in the years since then.
There are roughly four categories of juniors at the bar: Connected and Meritorious; Connected and Unmeritorious; Unconnected and Meritorious, and lastly, Unconnected and Unmeritorious. Others fall between these categories. (I must bashfully admit that I am somewhere in between the first two, but precariously in danger of teetering more towards the second.) The gestation period in the profession is a long one and law has a steep learning curve, taking about five to seven years to get a basic grip on, and a lifetime to learn. It helps to have the guidance of a senior: To paraphrase Sith teachings, a Master and Apprentice: One to embody the power of the law; the other to crave it.
Those who belong to Category No 1 and 2 (fortuitously, sometimes No 3) usually end up joining the chambers of a senior advocate to learn the ropes. Even so, this senior is seldom required to pay his apprentice anything. No law, or even unwritten professional courtesy or duty, even requires him to do so (quite unusual, for a profession so steeped in tradition).
The junior, meanwhile, is supposed to feel obliged towards his senior for having been given the honour and opportunity to carry his briefs or his umbrella with him, and of course, in passing, the opportunity to learn. Meanwhile, the excesses, temper tantrums, tirades, and in some cases, even sexual harassment of the senior are to be quietly tolerated. Having no connections, it is usually No 3 who bears the brunt of this trauma.
For all of his or her deference, years of toil, and free research, the junior may be ‘rewarded’ with a princely first salary of Rs. 10,000 a month, or later, a small brief. For someone to have spent three to five years in a law college, expecting to be well-equipped enough to earn a livelihood, this is a sorry state of affairs.
Category No 1 has the best of everything. The raw talent and legal acumen required to build a successful practice, along with the right connections (the relative of a senior advocate or better still, a judge) to keep up a steady inflow of work. Category No 2 is the more interesting proposition, because he lacks the aforesaid merit to truly become great. Nevertheless, thanks to the connections, there will be no shortage of work for him, and he can always engage a counsel (with various fee scales ranging from modest to astronomical) on behalf of his client who is more competent than he.
What matters is the inflow of work – and the cut that can be taken.
Those from Categories 3 and 4 usually wind up in law firms, which follow a similarly tragic pattern, with the only difference being that what is described above now comes with an infusion of characteristically exploitative corporate culture fed down the hierarchy from partner to junior associate. Reports suggested that a stipend for juniors was in the pipeline, but that seems to have fallen through.
By now you might be thinking this is an internal problem – the province of the Bar Council alone to handle – but unfortunately, as is often the case, it is you, the ordinary citizen and litigant, who suffers. It is your access – and just as importantly, your Government’s access – to a better class of lawyer, and by extension, a better class of judge, and ultimately justice, which is thwarted.
Meanwhile, bright men and women are kept out of bounds by impervious glass ceilings, while the mediocre move ahead.
Samarth Moray practices in Bombay High Court
Assam becomes the first BJP-ruled state in north-eastern India as Sarbananda Sonowal takes oath as the chief minister.
India’s health ministry orders an inquiry after a study finds cancer-causing chemicals in many bread and other bakery products.
Officials in the Indian state of Gujarat cage a pride of 13 lions after they kill and eat a teenager, the latest of three such deaths.
A city in India’s Rajasthan state breaks the country’s temperature records after registering 51C, the highest since records began, the weather office says.
India has four of the 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution, the World Health Organisation says.
Police in India’s Bihar state say they have arrested the 20-year-old son of a lawmaker suspected of killing a student in a road rage incident.
Hundreds of cows and bulls walked the ramp over the weekend in the northern Indian city of Rohtak in a unique beauty pageant.
Police in north-eastern Mizoram state arrest an Indian army officer for looting smuggled gold.
Rain in the Indian state of Uttarakhand puts out forest fires which killed at least six people and destroyed a large area of woodland, officials say.
An India court gives life sentences to four men convicted of killing two men trying to protect their female friends from being molested
Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is facing an investigation into money laundering, resigns as a lawmaker.
A schoolboy who accidently shot himself while taking a selfie with a handgun dies in northern Punjab state.
India’s government is drawing up plans for a published register of convicted sex offenders, a minister says.
Two Indian students accused of sedition for helping organise a protest at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University are suspended from campus.
India’s chief justice appears close to tears as he says more judges should be recruited to handle an “avalanche” of backlogged cases.
An Indian police horse that had a leg amputated after allegedly being assaulted by a politician has died.
Thirteen IPL cricket matches due to be played in the western Indian state of Maharashtra in May must be relocated because of a drought, a court rules.
A curfew is imposed in parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, a day after three protesters die in firing by security forces.
Seven more people are detained for questioning in connection with an explosion and fire at a Hindu temple in Kerala that killed more than 100 people.