T. R. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate

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 T. R. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate is a leading lawyer in Supreme Court and has made a mark in the legal arena. He passed out from Govt. Law College Mumbai in year 1957, and simultaneously cleared the foreign services examination. However, in the year 1958 he joined the legal profession. T.R. Andhyarujina, today can be identified with several leading cases including the famous ‘Keshvanand Bharti’ case. 

Q. What inspired you to take up law as your career when you had already cleared foreign services examination, a very lucrative service?
A. I was told that the foreign services would not be providing me good remuneration which at that time was necessary for my day to day needs. My joining to this profession was by choice.

“Learning the court craft and law as such was important and I can say that my Senior was the constant source of inspiration for me”.

Q. How were your initial years of practice?
A. I joined the office of  H.M. Seervai, who was a leading constitutional lawyer. In the beginning it was very hard going. There was no money, no contacts, no connections with solicitors. However, today I feel that I took calculated risk in joining the profession. That was a phase where learning the court craft and law as such was important and I can say that my senior was the constant source of inspiration for me. I had very kind senior and an authoritative in law.

“It is more satisfactory to be in profession than taking up judgeship.  I do not regret the decision because a judge of a High Court has to retire at the age of 62 and that of Supreme Court at the age of 65”

Q. Have you ever wanted to be a judge and see the bar from the other side?
A. I was offered judgeship in High Court as well in Supreme Court but I declined it because my senior advised me that it is not worth taking up judgeship both on the remuneration front as well as intellectually. It is more satisfactory to be in profession than taking up judgeship. I do not regret the decision because a judge of a High Court has to retire at the age of 62 and that of Supreme Court at the age of 65. In the profession you have no retirement age. Moreover in the year 1979 the salary of the judge was Rs. 3500/- and such a marginal salary was not sufficient to support your family or have any savings. No doubt that in those years judgeship was the most attractive offer a lawyer could get in his career. But somehow it did not attract me much.

Q. Is there any particular branch of law you like the most?

A. I am inclined towards Public Law like constitutional law, administrative law etc. I particularly wanted to lay the foundation for judicial review which is most important for judicial functioning. The organs of Government and their inter relationship, particularly the relationship between judiciary and other organs of Govternment has always fascinated me. My writings & lectures are also related to the said field. One of my recent lectures was, “judicial activism & Constitutional Democracy in India”.

“ A judge can be accountable to his judgment which should be in accordance with law, and he has no business to put his personal view or equity in the matters.  He is also accountable in adopting the obvious philosophy of constitution.  A judge is also accountable to the dignity of his office, and he is expected to work in a detached manner, and his behavior should uphold the dignity of his office.”

Q. Have you ever been emotionally involved in any of your cases?
A. I would say that I was not emotionally involved as such but have been identified with an individual case. Most lawyers are identified with one or the other cases. However, it is not easy to be totally dispassionate about your case. I can very much be identified by one of the case which was about the powers to amend the constitution which is famously known as “Keshwanand Bharti Case”. I would still say it is a controversial judgment decided by 13 judge bench of the Supreme Court.

Q. What is your view on accountability of judges?
You can look upon the accountability of a judge in various ways. A judge can be accountable to his judgment which should be in accordance with law, and he has no business to put his personal view or equity in the matters. He is also accountable in adopting the obvious philosophy of constitution. A judge is also accountable to the dignity of his office, and he is expected to work in a detached manner, and his behavior should uphold the dignity of his office, and if not, he is accountable to the method of his removal or impeachment.

Q. Would you like to advise young lawyers?
I feel colleges like National Law School, Amity, NALSAR, Symbiosis are producing much equipped lawyers compared to previous times. For young lawyers, I can say that there is only one way to success and that is hard work and patience to reach some degree of eminence.
The law firms today are giving high remuneration to these youngsters but there is lack of independence for young professionals. It is necessary that the professionals should be independent and there should not be some one above them. However in being independent a person is his own insurer.
Young lawyers require a lot of experience and a degree in law does not help. It is like getting a license to drive but skills to negotiate roads and potholes only comes with experience. A young lawyer has to learn the court crafts which one can learn either by watching others performing or by committing errors and rectifying it. In litigation practise, appearance before the court is a public examination which a lawyer has to go through everyday. The people sitting inside the court, judges, clients evaluate a lawyer by his performance in the court. It is infact a test which is evaluated by the public.

“I feel colleges like National Law School, Amity, NALSAR, Symbiosis are producing much equipped lawyers compared to previous times.  For young lawyers, I can say that there is only one way to success and that is hard work and patience to reach some degree of eminence.”

However with globalization of Indian economy, the old legal profession is changing and transitional work is coming up. This is also opening up great avenues for young lawyers. This work ascent have hazards of litigation and is very promising too.

This Interview was Published in LawZ December 2005 Issue.

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