Justice (retd.) Deepak Gupta
Justice (retd.) Deepak Gupta

"Sit in Courtrooms, not Bar rooms to learn Court craft from Seniors", Justice Deepak Gupta's advice for junior lawyers

The judge was speaking at a virtual farewell meeting organised by the Supreme Court Young Lawyers Forum, and streamed live, earlier today.

Shruti Mahajan

Recently retired, Justice Deepak Gupta today advised that junior lawyers spend free time sitting in the Courtroom and not in the Bar room to learn Court craft and lawyering skills from senior counsel. The judge was speaking at a virtual farewell meeting organised by the Supreme Court Young Lawyers Forum, and streamed live, earlier today.

The virtual meeting was presided over by Justice DY Chandrachud and attended by various Senior members of the Bar.

During his address, Justice Gupta remarked that one should always be thorough with the facts of the case, even if they are not very thorough with the law. He said that that a counsel should be so well prepared on this count, that the Judge should not be left with a chance to look through the file when it comes to facts of the case.

Junior lawyers who are still in the process of learning should spend their free time sitting in the Courtroom, observing the proceedings and the learning the craft from Senior Counsel when they argue, he went on to add.

Recalling his own experiences, Justice Gupta said that it was when he was observing Courtroom proceedings as a lawyer that he got a chance to assist the Court when a Judge was unable to understand the facts. Having helped the litgant and the Court, Justice Gupta thereafter received a large number of cases through the reference of the litigant he had helped.

Justice Gupta, whose warm and patient conduct with the members of the Bar in the Courtroom was appreciated by all the speakers, also observed that "acrimonious exchanges in the Court do not help anyone". The proceedings of a Court need to be conducted in a peaceful manner, the retiring Judge said, pointing out that in such an atmosphere, it is easier to get the work done.

It is important for the Judges to be patient with the junior members of the Bar lest they feel that they were denied justice for their client, he added. Junior lawyers must be given a chance to argue and must be given a patient hearing, Justice Gupta said.

"If you give a junior lawyers a patient hearing, they would never feel that justice is being denied their clients only because they cannot engage senior Counsel."
Justice (retd.) Deepak Gupta

Another parting advice Justice Gupta had for junior lawyers was to strategise their career trajectory as regards the opportune time to go independent. He said that it should not be too soon that the Counsel is left looking for briefs and cases, and not so late that they end up being the "permanent juniors".

Justice Chandrachud, who presided over the function, fondly remembered the routine he and Justice Gupta shared as "early bird" Judges who arrived at the Court early and engaged in discussion over various subjects.

Referring to Justice Gupta as his "coffee buddy", Justice Chandrachud said that the two have a lot of shared associations and common thoughts on a number of issues.

 Justice DY Chandrachud
Justice DY Chandrachud

Justice Chandrachud appreciated the jurisprudence laid down by Justice Gupta in the number of judgments he delivered, a thought that was also shared by Justice Ravindra Bhat in his address.

Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi, who was the Chief Guest at the event, Senior Counsel Vikas Pahwa, and ASG Aman Lekhi also delivered speeches, fondly remembering Justice (retd.) Deepak Gupta as a warm judge and a fierce champion of freedoms.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news