Muhammad Ali Khan, AAG for Chhattisgarh
Muhammad Ali Khan, AAG for Chhattisgarh

NUJS grad and AAG for Chhattisgarh in Supreme Court, Muhammad Ali Khan selected as UK Chevening Scholar

Khan will study his LL.M. at Cambridge University. His focus will be on international commercial arbitration and international law.

Shruti Mahajan

Additional Advocate General (AAG) for the State of Chhattisgarh in the Supreme Court, Muhammad Ali Khan has been named as one of 39 people from India to be selected for the prestigious Chevening Scholarship.

Khan will study his LL.M. at Cambridge University as part of the UK Chevening program. His focus will be on international commercial arbitration and international law.

As part of the programme, Khan will join a vast group of leaders and policymakers across the globe who have demonstrated leadership in their various fields and contributed meaningfully to their chosen area of work in their home country.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, he revealed that he applied for the scholarship not only for scholastic purposes, but to also expand his professional network and gain knowledge from his experience to contribute back home.

Khan, with his experience in legal practice and in the arena of policymaking, says that the Chevening programme will help immensely, given that it is a "robust and well-rounded program that works towards giving a tailored experience to each scholar."

On why he chose to apply to Cambridge specifically, Khan has a three-fold reason. Speaking to Bar & Bench, Khan says,

"First, the Cambridge Legal Academic experience is second to none. Given my objectives of advancing my knowledge in the areas of international law and international commercial arbitration, Cambridge was an obvious choice especially since it is home to the prestigious Lauterpacht Centre on International Law.

Second, the Cambridge networks both internationally and in India are very vast. Some of the best legal minds in our country are alumni of Cambridge including Dr. Singhvi, Mr. Mohan Parasaran and Mrs. Zia Mody (to name a few).

Third, and on a more personal note Cambridge seemed like obvious choice given that it has been the alma mater for some of my personal heroes including Pandit Nehru, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.”

Prior to his appointment as an AAG Khan was a spokesperson for the Indian National Congress specializing on constitutional issues and continues to advise the party on several key legal matters. Currently in private practice as a counsel, Khan says that he is in his mid-career at this stage and stands to gain a lot from this program, particularly on the networking front.

With no age cap for applicants applying for the Chevening scholarship, Khan says that some work experience is a must for the program and strongly encourages other aspirants to take the leap. He says,

“I would strongly encourage everyone to apply for the UK Chevening Scholarship. The emphasis on diversity, networks and on making meaningful contributions to your home country make it a uniquely well-rounded cohort that includes doctors, lawyers, engineers, civil servants and artists. The Chevening is administered by the UK Foreign Office which goes out of its way to ensure that its participants have, in addition to pursuing their degree, access to mentors and experiences that help them grow holistically in their chosen area.”

Despite the fact that he will not be in India for the duration of the program, Khan does not intend to stop his practice. He says that with the courts functioning through virtual mode for the foreseeable future, he intends to continue his practice while completing his Master's programme.

“Given that virtual courts are likely to remain the norm for some time, I will continue to practice and discharge my responsibilities as an AAG.”

Khan is a graduated of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS) Kolkata. He began his career working with the then undivided Amarchand Mangaldas, in its litigation practice. 

Khan subsequently joined then Union Cabinet Minister Jairam Ramesh as his legal advisor at the Ministry of Environment between 2009 and 2011. He was also Ramesh's Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at the Ministry of Rural Development between 2011 and 2014. He was instrumental in the drafting of various laws, most notably, the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

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