Sunil Gupta, Senior Advocate
Coming from a town to Delhi to establish himself as an arguing counsel was not easy for Mr. Sunil Gupta. Law was not his first love. He wanted to became a vocalist and was all set to go to Bombay with his dream. But Mr. Gupta’s father was not satisfied with the decision his son had taken. He motivated Mr. Gupta and persuaded him to join the legal profession. There was no looking back from thereon. Mr. Gupta joined the legal profession in the year 1981 and practiced in the Allahabad High Court till 1989. He shifted to Delhi thereafter and has been since then practicing in the Supreme Court. Mr. Sunil Gupta shares the experiences of his tough journey to success in the legal profession with our correspondent, Renu Sharma.
No, I am the second-generation lawyer in my family. I belong to Allahabad, where my father started his practice as an advocate. My entire schooling and my higher education has been from Allahabad. I passed my L. L. B. in the year 1981 and this was also the year I joined the Bar and started my practice. I practiced with my father in his chambers till 1989, after which I came to Delhi to practice in the Supreme Court.
What kind of difficulties did you face as a fresher in Delhi? Did you ever get demoralized because of these difficulties and wanted to switch over to another profession?
Although being a second-generation lawyer, I still faced difficulties during the initial years of my practise. In fact I faced difficulties in two phases. First was the phase when I passed out law in 1981 and joined the profession. There of course, I was much under the protection, patronage and guidance of my father, who was also my senior. At that time I did not face many problems. The main problems which I faced were during the second phase, that is after 1989, when I came to Delhi to establish myself as an arguing counsel in the Supreme Court. Coming from a small town, with only a few acquaintances, and that also mostly unfriendly acquaintances, I had to struggle hard to make way for myself. I feel that these problems are faced by all the freshers for the simple reason that the legal profession is not founded on a firm system. There is no set system of inducting fresh blood into the mainstream legal profession, either in firms, or in the court, or on the bench.
As regarding me getting demoralized, yes there had been phases when I felt uncertain of my future in the profession. But by God’s grace, I managed to stay strong and was able to overcome the problems which I faced at that time.
“There Is No Yardstick To Measure Success In The Legal Profession”
I do a lot of cases relating to taxation, corporate law, intellectual property and also arbitration matters.
I have a deep liking towards constitutional law. I do a lot of reading on this subject and am always looking forward for cases where principles of constitutional law can effectively be applied.
You have been successful in the legal profession. Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
There is no yardstick to measure success in the legal profession. So if you say that I am successful in the profession, this would surely be your own perception. As far as I think, there is still a lot to be achieved.
It is actually difficult for me to imagine my profile 20 years later. I never could have imagined twenty years ago that I would be in the legal profession as I always wanted to become a vocalist. Life takes its own course.
Do you have any regrets in relation to the legal profession?
The deepest regret is that the legal profession in our country has not grown on professional and non feudal principles. If this would have been so, then law would certainly have been far more noble profession than what it is today.
Would you like to suggest some improvements for the legal education system in India?
The 5 year comprehensive law course is a good start. But when you observe closely, you realize that these courses are made available only in a few select cities and colleges. There is still a lot of distinction in the study patterns in different law colleges across the country. The old pattern of education must be discontinued immediately and efforts must be made to apply this new pattern of education uniformly across the country.
This Interview was Published in LawZ January 2004 Issue.