Chirag Madan is a practicing advocate and a former junior associate of Mr. Ram Jethmalani.
Q. You have had the opportunity of working under Mr. Ram Jethmalani, India’s finest criminal lawyer. What did you get to learn from him, professionally as well as in personal life? Please share with us your experience.
Ram Sir is a legend, I consider him to be the god of this profession. When Ram sir was alive, the opportunity of working under his guidance was a dream come true for anyone who aspired to be a lawyer and especially in the branch of criminal law. He was the greatest lawyer but even a better human being. Though we all are familiar with wit, sharpness and knowledge, I have learnt a lot of things from him and have tried to incorporate them in my life.
The most enriching experience was when I observed and assisted him when he used to cross-examine a witness. He would go through the brief word by word, even the smallest of the documents were diligently scrutinized by him. He would never depend on his briefing counsel or junior, he would himself go through everything no matter what.
I was amazed to see his focus and concentration towards work and was ashamed at the same time that I didn’t have an ounce of it. He would sit for hours and read the brief without a break. With him I learnt how to read briefs, write articles and be disciplined in life. He taught his juniors to enjoy life no matter how hard the circumstances are. He would always wear a smile on his face.
Q. Tell us about some interesting cases that you have worked on.
Though all cases are interesting in one manner or the other. One of the most interesting cases was the Defamation case of Mr. Arun Jaitley against Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. It was a thorough learning experience. I am also representing a number of clients accused of corruption in the trial courts, one of the cases being the Antrix – Devas scam. It is probably the first time ever that an accused has moved an application for perjury against the CBI.
I am also representing a gangster before the Punjab and Haryana High Court who has about 54 FIRs against him. I also filed a PIL before the High Court of Delhi in the recent case where a doctor was raped in Hyderabad; the said PIL sought directions for not disclosing the identity of the rape victim as well as the accused.
Q. What do you think is lacking in our legal system and what can be done to strengthen it?
Our legal system is one of the oldest legal systems. The Constitution is the most important organ. The essential element lacking in our legal system is efficient and speedy adjudication of disputes before the judicial forums. A common man when s/he reaches the court for enforcement of rights or for adjudication of a dispute, s/he is not aware of when such a right would be enforced or adjudicated. So the first and foremost need is to create a mechanism which provides speedy disposal of cases. Appointment of more judges at the district level can resolve this issue.
Q. Due to Covid-19, the world is going through a bizarre phase and the end of it is not known. Do you think that the Indian judiciary is in a position to deal with the challenge of technology and will be able to conduct virtual hearings at all levels, i.e. District Court, Tribunals, Forums, etc.
Unfortunately, the Indian judiciary is not in a position to hold virtual hearings at all fora. One of the drawbacks is the lack of technology not in Courts but also with the lawyers. Not all are well equipped and conversant with the technology. Moreover the virtual hearings raise concerns over privacy, the issue of bulky documents etc. Though in my view we should consider this as an opportunity and improve the system, as life after Covid-19 will not be the same. If the system is improved urgent hearings at night or a holiday can also take place via video conferencing.
Q. How are you utilizing this lockdown period?
I have been reading, writing, watching webinars / movies and spending time with family. As a litigation lawyer you don’t get to spend time with family so I am making the most of it.
Q. You pursued your LL.B right after finishing your schooling. What made you choose law as a career?
Since my childhood I was somehow intrigued towards the profession of law, it always fascinated me. I always wanted to become a lawyer and just followed my instinct and fortunately my friends and family always supported me.
Q. Any advice for the young students who aspire to litigate.
With the little experience I have, firstly I would point out that litigation is interesting but very challenging in the very initial stages. The first initial years are more for learning and less for earning. For a litigation lawyer it is very important to be patient, hardworking and dedicated towards work. Students should start interning in different branches of law and make it a habit to read the latest judgments and books including non-legal ones. They should always start their career on the original side/ trial courts as it gives you more basic knowledge and experience and quoting former Justice Vazifdar, “Only a trial court lawyer is a complete lawyer. A trial court lawyer is an artist, while an appeal court lawyer is an art critic.”