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Practice Law, We Must

Hon'ble Shri. D. Manmohan

Practice Law, We Must

Hon’ble Shri. D. Manmohan, Vice-President (Mumbai Zone)

Hon’ble Shri. D. Manmohan, practiced as a lawyer for more than 15 years before his elevation to the Bench. The author makes the impassioned plea that young lawyers should take to practicing law. He allays fear in the young minds by citing the example of Nani Palkhivala and makes the point that if one practices law with diligence and perseverance, success is guaranteed

Distinguished dignitaries on the dais, my distinguished colleague brothers of the Appellate Tribunal, distinguished invitees and my dear young law students,

I deem it a privilege to be invited as a Guest of Honour on the opening ceremony of the Moot Court Competition being held in memory of late and legendary jurist Mr. Nani Palkhivala. Mr. Patodi, sitting next to me on the dais, has just confided in me the stark reality that most of the brilliant students, produced from reputed Law Colleges – most of their representatives are participating here -, are not choosing to join the profession as Advocates; lured by the high salaries being offered to them by certain big companies/firms.

In the past few decades number of private Law Colleges have been imparting legal education and, probably to attract the students, minimum yard sticks are maintained to award marks thereby such colleges are producing large number of students who are eligible to enter the legal profession. Lawyers are the back bone of this country. Many young and eminent lawyers of the yester years are known to have taken active part in the freedom movement and one should feel proud to belong to such august body rather than being lured by the immediate gains in the form of a fixed monthly remuneration which may initially be attractive but beyond a particular stage the growth is staggered.

I, therefore, appeal to all the young law students to join the profession. To allay the doubt in the minds of the youngsters I may quote some examples based on my experience as well as the experiences shared by some of my seniors. I am given to understand, subject to correction by Mr. Dinesh Vyas, that Mr. Palkhivala, despite his talents in the legal profession, had to work hard for seven long years to be recognised by his Senior and later on by the citizens of India

I was given the assignment of awarding marks on the memorials being prepared by the law students who are participating in this Moot Court and, to confide honestly, some of the memorials contain the depth of knowledge, skill, flow and felicity in expression which unfortunately is not found in majority of the cases that we come across daily, though in terms of number of years they put in practice they can be considered as seasoned counsels. This clearly shows that these premier Law Colleges are producing talented people (professionals) and their services to the Nation, by taking up the law profession, is absolutely necessary for the well being of the Nation.

I, therefore, appeal to all the young law students to join the profession. To allay the doubt in the minds of the youngsters I may quote some examples based on my experience as well as the experiences shared by some of my seniors. I am given to understand, subject to correction by Mr. Dinesh Vyas, that Mr. Palkhivala, despite his talents in the legal profession, had to work hard for seven long years to be recognised by his Senior and later on by the citizens of India. My senior often used to tell me that Mr. Palkivala was initially an introvert and the legendary figure Mr. Kanga had a number of junior Counsels associated with him to obtain training and some of whom have reached great heights in the profession at the later stage of their life, and thus, Mr. Palkhivala’s eminence was eclipsed, rather not noticed, by his senior for a long time until one day his senior had an issue which could not be cracked by any of his juniors (senior to Mr. Palkhivala) associated with him and at that moment Mr. Palkhivala appears to have humbly offered to his senior a way through which was a correct and befitting solution to the facts on hand and that was supposedly the time when Mr. Kanga recognised the fact that Mr. Palkhivala is a studious and brilliant lawyer loaded with virgin ideas and within a short span thereafter Mr. Palkhivala has authored (co-authored with his Senior Shri Kanga) the first edition of Income Tax Law which was printed in 1969. My senior used to tell me that this was the only book which can be called as a ‘treatise’ on Income Tax Law (other than the first edition of Sampath Iyyengar) and most of the other books can at best be classified as digests. His contribution to the Society through his legal acumen is well known. But for the fact that he continued in profession it is unthinkable to have such wonderful judgments on key issues on Constitutional Law as well as on Income Tax Law.

I envision and hope that some of you can stead path of Mr. Palkhivala by joining the legal profession. No doubt the gestation period in profession may be little long unlike a job in a company. If you sow the seed it may take some time to grow but sky is the limit to reap the benefit out of it

I envision and hope that some of you can stead path of Mr. Palkhivala by joining the legal profession. No doubt the gestation period in profession may be little long unlike a job in a company. If you sow the seed it may take some time to grow but sky is the limit to reap the benefit out of it. In the Appellate side profession such as Income Tax the gestation period may be a little longer, say by about 7 years, but in the District Courts it may hardly be 2-3 years but patience and perseverance pays here.

I may share an anecdote. It appears in one of the premium management schools a renowned personality was called in to address the students on the convocation day and he, in turn, while praising the students who have secured above 70% (merit) he said that “well, – I congratulate all of you for having secured such good marks – you all will be absorbed as Professors in this renowned university” and there was a great applause. Then, he said “well, those who have secured less than 70% but anyway secured first class i.e., above 60%, they need not have to feel bad, they will all be absorbed by the Companies as Management Trainees and you can excel well with the tremendous growth opportunities available there“. Again there was a great applause. Finally he turned to the students who have secured less than 60% and said “well those who have secured less than 60% need not have to feel bad – you can all utilise your knowledge acquired in this institution and start an enterprise of your own and though it may take a longer time to reap the benefits but one day you can employ students from this very same institute, who have secured distinctions and first class, to be a part of your organization”.

This anecdote is only to highlight the great advantages in profession. With these few words I thank all of you for a patient hearing. I thank the organizers for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts. I wish the young students all the best.

Transcript of address delivered by Hon’ble Shri. D. Manmohan, Vice-President (Mumbai Zone), ITAT at the 7th Nani Palkhivala Moot Court Competition on 7th October 2010
3 comments on “Practice Law, We Must
  1. Himadri Mukherjee says:

    This article highlights the fact that in this legal profession there is equal scope for all students who are brilliant and for average students as well . Though there is a gestation period, lawyers in profession should not loose heart , dividends are bound to come in due course of time .
    Otherwise also this article is well written .

  2. N K Balodia says:

    This article and particularly the examples from the life of Late Mr. Palkhiwala and at the end, I am confident would inspire some of the most brilliant students of law to join the profession of advocacy. No doubt, the gestation period in this profession is a little longer but the dividends in all aspects are really very very rich and satisfying.
    I congratulate him for the effect it can create.

  3. srinivasan says:

    good &timely advice.

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