Interviewer: Ritik Saluja, GGSIPU, Delhi
My name is Amit Gujral. I am an advocate by profession. I have done myB.A.(Hons.) in sociology from Kurukshetra University and my LL.B. from the University Institute of Legal Studies, Punjab University, Chandigarh.
- Question : Success is a state of mind and to be in such a state of mind a person need to make sane decisions in life. There should be a reason behind every decision. So, what was your reason to choose law as a career path.
Answer: I had chosen Humanities for my senior secondary studies. For higher education, I had an interest in legal studies but I was not very sure about it. That is why instead of going for a Five Year Law degree, I choose to pursue a 3-year Graduation first. I did B.A.(Hons.) in sociology because of interest in the subject. After my bachelor’s degree, I was sure of advocacy as a career. I enrolled in the LL.B. program at Punjab University, Chandigarh. From my childhood being fair to all was very part of my personality. I never wanted to take another person’s right to benefit myself nor let any other person do the same. From the very beginning, I was very much interested in protecting mine and other person’s rights. That is from where all this inclination towards legal studies started.
- Question : There is always a difference between how we perceive something before and after knowing it thoroughly. How much your perception of process of justice adjudication has changed after having a law degree and being a practicing advocate in the same field.
Answer : I have always wondered why it takes such a long time to deliver a judgment. Back then it was a perception in my mind that justice should be done in a month or two at maximum. But after being in the field I realized that how much it is important to be accurate even when slow in findings rather than being fast and inaccurate. I came to know how much a single order means to a person. Earlier I do not get why advocates fight to protect the guilty person but know I deeply understand the meaning of innocent until found guilty. Now, I get the importance of hearing the stories from both sides. There is a change in my perception of how I perceived the value of evidence. Earlier I used to think that learning all the sections will suffice but now I know the importance of nature of an act its objectives and its interpretation.
- Question : So how was your experience in initial years of litigation?
Answer : After completing my law degree I practiced in Punjab and Haryana High Court Chandigarh under the supervision of a senior standing counsel. In the initial years of practice, it was a path of difficulties to walk down as it is for every other advocate. Initially it very tough to have your own separate practice. Practicing under a senior counsel gave me a lot of experience as well that knowledge which is not given in law schools. I got to precisely understand the practical aspects of litigation. I learned the art of argumentation there. I learned how to counsel clients and be a path to them towards justice.
- Question : So when did you start your own practice and how was this experience for you ?
Answer : I continued to practice in Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh for about 5 and a half years. Thereafter I bought my own chamber in Bar at Kurukshetra District Court and set up my office also in Kurukshetra. When I started my own practice I did not have any juniors as such. I have to do each every bit of work myself. It was not easy at all. But setting up my own practice was like a dream come true. Later after about 2 years of practice at Kurukshetra a friend of mine form UILS, Punjab University, Chandigarh contacted me as he also wants to start his own practice in Kurukshetra District Court I offered him to join me as a partner as the work was getting burdensome for me and I, in any case, needed assistance. That was how we come together as partners.
- Question: Sir, do you have any suggestion for those students who want to pursue litigation as a career choice.
Answer : First of all, if a person wants to be in the field of litigation he must have in mind that this is not like any other job. This field requires serious dedication and commitment. As a practicing advocate you do not know how many hours you need to work in a day, sometimes it can be only a few hours a day to maybe a full 24 hours a day. Secondly, this is a dynamic field. You need to keep yourself updated with happenings around the world, keep a tap on acts passed and judgment passed, etc.
Thirdly, never hesitate to ask someone about something or learn from someone. That is how you grow. If your a student right now just remember that discussion is as useful in your learning as a lecture is. Participate in discussion whenever possible be it classrooms or among friends or with a teacher or in competition or with advocates etc
At last, I want to wish luck to everyone who wants to be in the field of litigation, may you be good officers of courts and of law and help people get justice.