Interview of senior Advocate Mr. Prem Francis, High Court of Jabalpur, M.P.

Never stop your thought process, evaluate it, pen it down and see the improvement.


Q1. When did you got to know that you want to chase law as your career, and what gave you the boost to reach the level you are now?


In fact, this root goes to my career thought now, basically I passed out graduation in commerce but in my school I had a different subject which was known as history, geography and civics, it was a very alien subject to what I have at present into this practice but after finishing my B.Com, I had an opportunity where few groups of children whose parents were first generation lawyers and in fact the children pursued me looking to the aptitude, family background. Real meaning of law at that time was not very well known to me but still, they pursued me with those first generation lawyers I enrolled myself as a lawyer in the year 1988 and passed out law after 3 years as we have only 3 years of law graduation course and the boost really came when I passed out my law, I had an opportunity to join one of the finest office in the street of Madhya Pradesh and I worked as a junior assistant with Mr. Ravindra Srivastava who was the first advocate general from State of Chhattisgarh, now he is shifted to Delhi as a Senior Advocate and in fact I cherished lot of blessing of him when he thought that I would be able to really make a career in this profession so he trusted and started pushing cases on the issues of royalty, central excise, arbitration, service laws and civil law also. So the biggest boost to reach this level now is only because of the persuasion, the guidance, the platform he provided, because that was an exposure subject as you know until and unless you are not drilling out your exposed will, you are not able to make a way throughout and that was the boost point when I started my career with senior lawyer MR. Ravindra Srivastava with whom I reached a lot of different cases and different area of practice, with that started learning and all with little failure and little success.


Q2. Which was that biggest winning case of your life in which you knew since beginning that this case is a failure but still you fought and made it a clean sweep?


I was very fortunate that initially in the learning phase, I was a very leading assistant and later on I took it on myself the matter.


There was a matter went for couple of years by the time I got refined in the subject, it was a case of royalty that the state government wanted to demand royalty on the basis of the conversion factor which was contrary to the law and the demand was exorbitant, means it was running about 105 crores rupees. So we always had the apprehension that the court may not grant us the relief but ultimately in 2014 we won this case at a very thumping page as the entire demand from them was set aside by the High Court and the court on this gave certain observation which culminated into some other litigation there we lost and then again we had a stay order and now it is pending in the Supreme Court so this keeps on going. This shows the success and the failure goes parallel in this profession as also this is a part and parcel of our life.


At present I am one of the standing council for ACC cement, Birla cement, well I am dealing issues for them mainly on the issues of royalty, electricity duty, taxation, but there have been up downs and failures which we really don’t leave that to be a benchmark to stop but still we pursued to that failure to success for other issues also and there is always open for us to appeal before the supreme court and we still do it. Failure doesn’t matter in this profession because failure and success moves together so we don’t really have to stop with failure because it gives you an opening for the new beginning also.


Q3. Regarding persuasion of cases what factors gives faith to the clients to have trust in the lawyers.


Asking about the persuasion, where a lawyer is the person in whose profession, gives his best on the two conditions when he is very well prepared with the facts and read a subject in law thoroughly. So you don’t have to worry about the other end because here the client is paying you and he should know that your case was presented the best on the face of facts as well as on the face of law. It is always the situation where the lawyers gave his best and leave the situation on the judgement of the bench to decide, so that is always the prerogative of the bench and we on the bar side we always try out best, and this always keeps going.


Q4. How were you in academics during your graduation? And when did you took the law as a serious note?


Already answered in the 1st question itself.


Q5. Any Advice you would like to recommend to your juniors, freshers and graduating students regarding their law career, what they should do and they should not, where they must spend their time in the correct direction?


I would like to suggest few things to the current generation that they have to focus first, the focus is not in the academics only it is towards the reading of judgements, to be updated with laws, academic you can pass out as it is to a limited sphere to go further in a career. But as far as a profession is considered you have to be updated not thoroughly but to a larger extent, be conversant with law and with law you are always backed by judgements. Secondly, you should always be very thorough what is happening around your life sphere, that you can only develop through reading journals which will improve your vocabulary, your thought process, it can be done by reading newspapers. I always suggest the new generation now they have to be technically sound where the old generation was not very good at, and the new ones has taken over the subject. So the best thing is you should always write. As we have the habit of always dictating a petition or any legal write-ups, but when you pen a lot your thought process is improved. Never be shy to block your thoughts, your thought may be absurd to anything but let it come out because out of the 10 thoughts precisely 2 of your important thoughts may be relevant where it can appeal anywhere to anyone or to any senior also.


Suppose, anyone asked you to write a subject, don’t make the presumption that what you are writing is right or wrong because that is always a matter of judgement by the other party which would always been considered.


So be shy less, read a lot, keep what you have in your mind, evaluate it and pen it down.


Interviewed by: 

Yash Soni, Btech+LLB (CyberLaw), UPES, Dehradun.