VIVEK NARAYAN SHARMA is a Socio-Politico-Constitution expert and renowned advocate and strategist practicing at the Supreme Court of India. Despite being the first generation lawyer, he has made his place in the legal fraternity and is the heartthrob of the legal profession. He is the elected Joint Secretary of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association.
Vivek assumes pro-bono legal activism to improve the spectrum of the society. He has provided pro-bono legal services to marginalized women fighting against crimes, armed forces personnel, para-military personnel, and jailed convicts. There are many known PILs in his name relating to Ganga Action Plan, Nirbhaya Case, Illegal electricity bill waiver, Home-buyers, Johnson & Johnson faulty hip replacements, Demonetisation, Halala& Polygamy, and others. Vivek is the President of Society for Criminal Justice and National Advisor, Consultant & Convenor for eminent social, political outfits and law journals in India. Vivek regularly speaks at seminars and events with the voice of motivation and positivity apart from strengthening everyone’s legal acumen.
Vivek is India chapter Advisor to Indo-Canada Chambre De Commerce (ICCC). Vivek is one of the most popular, most discussed and most read Columnist for Times of India (TOI) and Economic Times (ET). Vivek has authored “Electionomics”, a book published by the world’s top publishers Thomson Reuters.
Following are the excerpts from a recent interview of the famous legal strategist Mr. Vivek Narayan Sharma:
Q1. What about your studies and after graduation how did your journey start?
My schooling was in the Hindi medium from the GIC school of Meerut. It was during my graduation days that I made efforts to switch to the English medium and improved my command on the language. I was a final year topper in Mathematics and lived with the dreams of becoming an Air Force Pilot. In Feb’1996, when I couldn’t clear the PABT(Pilot Aptitude Battery Test) at Dehradun SSB, I had to redirect my desire to serve the country through some other medium.
I had always been a trusted person by the people around me for the resolution of their problems since childhood. During cricket matches, other sports and areas of life, whenever any disputed decision used to be referred to me, my decision was unequivocally trusted even by all contesting players and parties. I decided that my wit, logic and helpful nature are best suited for the legal profession. Although I had no one to guide me, I decided and took this challenging journey of making it relevant and big in the profession. Hence, after completion of my law degree in 1999 from Meerut College, I had to take a leap from Meerut to the new city Delhi. During college days, I did ramp modeling and shoots, I tried to continue as part-time Model in Delhi, but eventually gave it all up to concentrate on the legal field. I guess, the legal field charmed me more due to the utilization of grey matter and character, unlike the show business.
My wits attained direction when I joined Mr.DipankerP. Gupta, formerly Solicitor General of India and I used to feel pride at the fact that retired Justice Mrs. Ruma Pal (then a sitting judge of Supreme Court) was also a past junior of Dipanker sir. When I look back, I think it was my great fortune that I got the opportunity to work with him. Thereafter, I worked with a couple of more seniors and law firms and by the year 2005, I found myself capable enough to start my independent practice.
Q2. What challenges did you face from the very beginning of your journey as an Advocate?
Life isn’t easy when you are on your own and without a silver spoon in your mouth. It was very hard. The initial jobs paid too meager to sustain and every rupee mattered to me. I had some saved money from modelling and being without pay, I rationed my expenditure to sustain for a longer period. I remember walking for kilometers to save 2 rupees on the bus ticket. The food was very tricky, it was usually mangoes and bananas with milk and I could afford only one meal from tiffin-wala in a day. I usually could manage only dinners, even from that tiffin I would save 2 chappatis for my breakfast next morning and rice for lunch.
With the passage of time, I had made some friends and connects with people based on trust and honesty. The decision to start the independent practice came in a natural flow. Although, it brought another level of struggles but once I began, I never looked back. By that time, I was a married man and had additional responsibilities. Being the first-generation advocate and no local professional connect in Delhi, it was extremely tough to survive initially on the independent practice. Fortunately, I had the trust and support of my life partner in my decisions. The professional tough days and good days, kept taking turns and eventually, here I am, a living example of the outcome of dedication, hard work, and loyalty towards clients and friends and the determination to do something good for society. With the blessings of almighty, my legal career has expanded multi-dimensionally but trust me, each day brings its own set of challenges. The lessons taught by my struggle days give me great strength and wisdom to win each day.
Q3. How did you decided to contest the election, as you are the Joint Secretary of Supreme Court AOR Association?
It wasn’t actually planned. I stayed busy with my social legal activities along with handling my clients. One of my associated events known as ”Run ForLaadli” was organized in the partnership of Delhi Police, which turned out to be a huge success. I was the Co-convener of the event along the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, being the Convenor. We witnessed the turnout of twenty thousand people in the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium against the odds of the chilly December’ 2017wee hours. Our aim was to spread awareness for the security and safeguard of the women in Delhi and we could attract the interest and presence of Mr.Rajnath Singh, the Home Minister of the country to inaugurate the event and various other senior Ministers of GOI. The overwhelming impact of the event brought me genuine love and respect from my fraternity.
It was the constant push of my fellow advocates that I had to file my nomination for the election. My nomination papers were filled by my friends and they escorted me to the electoral office to sign it, leaving a period of only10-12 days for me to canvass for the elections. I knew the Joint Secretary position of the SCAORA was the most sought-after seat and as many as five popular bar members were in the fight along with me but when the results were announced, I had beaten all strong contestants with a huge margin. It was Feb 2018 and my legal fraternity continues to extend their love, support, and appreciation to my activities with even greater zeal now.
Q4. What are your ideologies and future plans as Jt. Sec. SCAORA?
I would say, each member of the committee brings their intention for the upliftment of fellow advocates. I add up to the committee with my previous experiences of intention, planning and execution. Since last one and a half year of my tenure, I could push some of the important executions through the SCAORA committee, like medical schemes for advocates, SCAORA e-journal that provides the platform to the fellow advocates to speak up through articles, we also formalized delivery of lectures by Judges and senior advocates for the benefit of bar members to prepare for their AOR examination.
I have an edge of the love of technology and so, apart from bringing e-journal, I also pushed all possible resources for AOR exams to be made available online and brought in the test-series that replicates the AOR question papers.
We could also add a feather in the cap of the SCAORA committee by organizing an elite “National Conference on ‘Technology, Training, and Infrastructure: Keys for Speedy Justice’; and ‘The Changing Face of Legal Education in India’ held at Vigyan Bhawan in Sep’ 2018”. This was the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that the SCAORA committee organized such a successful and valuable program that the whole legal fraternity could take pride in it. My previous exposure to successful huge social events enabled me to drive the planning and execution of the National Conference against all odds and challenges. I had in mind that we had to ensure the smooth flow of the event since it was prestigious and being inaugurated by the President and Chief Justice of India and all the other Judges of the Supreme Court of India were participating in it. I am so grateful for the whole team members who worked extremely hard for it.
Basically, I feel we need innovation, pragmatism, and zeal to implement various episodes to uplift fellow lawyers. I wish to execute much more and seek the blessings of Almighty, to be in the position to achieve more in the field of health, fitness, financial and health security of my legal fraternity.
Q5. What suggestions do you want to give to law students?
Firstly its Vision.What you create for yourself!What you want to achieve in your life! Vision with preparation is intrinsic for any success. Your perception regarding yourself matters only to you and it’s incomplete till you show the actual outcome to the world. Hence the notion of others about you also matters and only your deeds or presentations and how you practice and present yourself before the people can drive what they think about you.
It’s you who needs to choose either a selfish life to earn and consume or a bigger life to uplift and build everyone along with you. Your care about people, society around you gradually build your character and earns you place in society. Living singularly can be easy and quick but not very meaningful and can bring stagnancy and boredom very soon.
Q6. What do you want to say about your recent book Electionomics?
One may say it’s the economics of election but that would be incomplete, it’s actually a comprehensive Election Science (चुनावशास्त्र). It compiles 4 layers-first layers is mythological fiction, second- events that take place during election, how politicians act and attract the masses to vote for them, the strategies of election campaigns, the intrinsic tact, and manipulations, good and bad practices, the double face of politicians and political parties, everything is explained through the incidents related to the elections. The third layer is the legal, statutory and constitutional provisions related and co-related to the elections that are applied during elections. The last one is how these provisions are interpreted by the Supreme Court, High Courts and Election Commission and also there are 100 landmark judgments of Supreme Court, High Courts, and Election Commission of India.
The book presents the complexity of Indian Democracy and elections through the fusion of Mythology by way of 24 shlokas from ShrimadBhagvad Gita with the current situations, the legal provisions and the helplessness of the youth of the country. The wisdom of Krishna is used to advise the young generation on how to survive in the adverse times, the book “Electionomics” comes out as a Mythological Satire on the complex Election scenario in India.It’s a fusion of reality and fiction awarding wisdom and ease to the readers to deal with harsh life. The book has attracted accolades like the accompaniment of Bhagwad Geeta, Mythological Satire, the tale of elections from the eyes of Sanjay and ears of Dhritrashtra, etc.
Interviewer: Raghvendra Kumar (Your Admin)