Mahabir Singh, Senior Advocate
Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court with an affable temperament. Much liked by the Bar and the Bench. Always ready with a helping hand for the Juniors. Truly, a common man’s Senior Advocate. In Conversation with Akshara Sharma of LawZ on a pleasant winter afternoon at his office in Bengali Market.
“I always wanted to stand out of the crowd yet connect with the people very strongly”
What inspired you to take up law as a profession
“I always wanted to stand out of the crowd yet connect with the people very strongly. Law as a profession and its dynamism was in the air as ‘India’ had attained Independence and many of the iconic leaders were from Legal Profession. As a child, I was always attracted towards logic, reasoning as well as novelty and my logical & reasoning bent of mind would always attract comments from my natives that I ought to go into legal field”.
Please tell us something about your Journey in the profession till date
“My Journey in the profession since the beginning i.e. 1978 had been very smooth. Seems I was the God’s chosen one – when I look back and reflect upon the last 38 years, it really firms my belief in destiny. Had it not been destiny, a small town person like me would not have sustained being here. I am fortunate that from the beginning, I got an opportunity which does not come easily. Perhaps, my ideology of treating work as worship has kept me moving. With all the humility at my command I must say that when God wants you to be successful the whole world conspires for your success and it completely suited me”.
What kept you going during early years of struggle
“I was fortunate enough to have wonderful seniors whose guidance and encouragement helped me a lot to shape myself to suit the intricacies of the profession. The prominent names who really had immense influence upon me were Mr. K.K. Venugopal, R.K. Garg, Mr. G. Ramaswamy, Mr. R.K. Jain (Sr. Advocates), Mr. K.C. Agarwal (Advocate) and Mr. S. Srinivasan (Advocate). Further the support of my better half in this Journey is also vital as she is the one who understood and appreciated the long working hours which this profession demanded”.
How do you think the life of a litigating lawyer has changed over the years
“Indeed there is a sea change. Today’s generation is better equipped with technology and that makes them connect better to their clients as well advocates. The professionalism which ought to be there is seen in today’s times. The client today is better educated about their rights so it’s easy to make him understand. With the intervention of technology the world has shrunk providing ample, diverse and better opportunities”.
Tell us something about your first experience before the bench
“My first experience was before a bench presided by Hon’ble the Chief Justice Y.V. Chandrachud. It was a batch matter relating to the Haryana Lower Judiciary and I was really very tensed as the Senior Counsel whom I had engaged was on his legs in another Court. When I asked for a pass over, Hon’ble the Chief Justice by way of encouraging said “the Senior can join later and in the meanwhile you make your submissions”. I argued and during that hearing the Court was very encouraging and granted Orders in favour of my clients. I felt myself on cloud nine. That one favorable disposition enthused a permanent confidence which keeps me going till date”.
Can you give instances in your life where destiny played a role in establishing yourself as one of the prominent lawyers in India
“To achieve a place in profession one needs three things to start and those three things are:-
As I have said that I was the lucky ‘one’ So, destiny has played immense role in shaping my career. Had it not been destiny, I would not have travelled so far in this profession”.
“The young lawyers, they prefer to go to the corporate, LPO practice, as there is a scope of handsome packages at the entry level itself.”
Do you think an effective judicial accountability mechanism is the need of the hour
“Yes I do believe that an effective Judicial accountability mechanism is the need of the hour. At the same time, I must say that we are fortunate that the Judicial Accountability mechanism is indeed in place and the recent judgment on NJAC is an indicator to it”.
What, according to you, are certain skills that must be inculcated by the young law graduates for a promising future in this profession
Strong belief in himself
Habit of reading
“Today’s generation is better equipped with technology and that makes them connect better to their clients as well advocates.”
How different it has become for a law aspirant starting up in litigation today as compared to the times when you started up
“When I started, the only field for a young lawyer was litigation and rest of the branches were developed thereafter. Today there are law firms having diverse work such as Corporate, Legal process outsourcing etc. which provide diverse exposure & opportunity to the lawyers. Today the young lawyers prefer to go to corporate, LPO etc. as there is scope of handsome package at the time of entry itself”.
How did you maintain work-life balance over the years
“If one has a time management skill the family life and work can be maintained efficiently. Though at early stages in this profession there is possibility of imbalance but these are aberrations of every field but with the passage of time one learns the time management skill and then family life and your work attains a wonderful balance and in due process I also fine-tuned that balance”.
Published in LawZ December 2015 issue.