Interview with Adv. Yasharth Kant, Panel Counsel, State of Meghalaya

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Advocate Yasharth Kant is an expert in Arbitration, Civil, Criminal Law, Property Laws, and practicing since 2012. He deals with the matter related to his area of expertise before the District Court, High Court, Supreme Court, and Tribunals. He is enrolled in Bar Council of Delhi and is currently a Panel Counsel in the State of Meghalaya. He is also the Legal Counsel for Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, and Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation Limited. He completed his graduation in B.A. L.L.B. from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.

He has been practicing and providing services by maintaining an absolutely professional approach in each and every case. His key behavioral strengths are – Consistency, preciseness in identifying strength and weakness of the matter, organized, client-friendly, influencing, analytical, effective and apt in logical argument in the courtroom, delivery of job assigned by following logical steps to take the decisions in his client’s favor, court craft, excellent command over language and subject matter expertise, interpersonal skills, et al.

Libertatem Magazine got an opportunity to interview him. We discussed how he opted Law as a career and his journey afterward. Below mentioned is the excerpt from the interview.

Priyanshi: What motivated you to choose law as a career? Please tell us about your experience in law school?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: Law was always an option as my father has been practicing in Allahabad High Court for the past 30 years. However, I actually had enrolled in Delhi University to pursue B. Com and out of the blue decided to go to Lucknow and sit for the exam. It was supposed to be a vacation. Now years later it turned out to be a very wise decision.

The best thing about a five-year degree from a National Law University is the variety of scope in a sphere beyond academics. I used to play badminton in law school and was part of the legal aid committee.

Priyanshi: You have expertise in Arbitration, Civil, Criminal Law, and Property Laws. Which area intrigues you the most and why?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: In college, I had a preference for property law. Our teacher, Mr. Manwendra Tiwari, was considered a hard taskmaster but I still used to manage to get the best scores in the subject. While practicing in the Supreme Court, I realized one cannot stay proficient in a limited area. I have appeared before a number of constitutional benches including that Ayodhya Ram Janam Bhumi matter, Entry Tax matter before a constitutional bench of 9 judges, Uttarakhand President Rules matter, the educational matter of Bihar and U.P (TET/Shikha Mitra), reservation for SC/ST (Jarnail Singh and B K Pavitra II) and Criminalization of Politics, and more recently  Article 370 reference and land acquisition matter before constitutional bench.

Arbitration is a different ball game. The rules are lax. However, all said, it is extremely important to have common sense in practicing any kind of law. For law, theories will only help you apply what is practically viable and you alone have to deduce that for the best of your client.  Everyone has a favorite subject and for me, it has always been Constitutional law and if you are well versed in the constitutional law then every other field of the law becomes easy to comprehend and everything in the Indian legal system flows from it.

Priyanshi: You are a Legal Counsel in a University. What is your opinion about the caliber of legal education provided in India? What could be done to churn out more competent lawyers?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: I am an empanelled advocate with Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur in the Supreme Court. However, regarding legal education, I will always say that legal acumen just cannot be acquired from books. No doubt reading is important but it must be focused on some specific goal. Only when you apply yourself time and again you can truly grasp the concept. It does not matter where one graduate from as long as there is sincerity while learning and applying. Having said so, I will add that NLUs definitely provide better opportunities for a student to excel beyond academics.

Priyanshi: The Government of Meghalaya has made decided to make several amendments with regards to industrial, labor, and agricultural marketing laws apparently to strengthen the response to the economic slowdown in the view of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Do you think that such a decision needs to be taken in the country as a whole too as a response to the economic slowdown of the nation?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: Covid-19 has brought a sense of emergency in the country which was not thought of before. No one could be said to be prepared for this level of humanitarian and/ or economic crisis. Innovative solutions are required to fight the pandemic and control the economic downturn. However, India is such a large country that uniform solutions cannot be imposed throughout. Seeing this, the GoI has allowed for State based responses to Unlock 1. Every state has the power to make policy decisions for itself; however, no policy or law is beyond judicial scrutiny and the same is the case with Meghalaya.

Priyanshi: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic many judicial proceedings are held online due to lockdown and special measures. Is this online method of hearing cases and holding judicial proceedings in India online appropriate for a country like India where still some people don’t have a proper internet connection in remote areas?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: Virtual courts are also part of an innovative solution that came into being to avoid non-functioning of the courts during the lockdown. Had there been no alternative to physical presence, courts would merely be teeming with millions of cases and no hearing. It is a workable solution for higher courts. However, for lower courts, where the infrastructure available at the district as well as with the litigants is poor, there is a definite problem. But the answer to that is to provide better IT infrastructure and not to completely shun the practice of virtual courts. Supreme Court Committee along with High Courts are regularly monitoring these facilities and things are getting better every day.

Priyanshi: What are your views about the fact that people still prefer ground litigation over arbitration or mediation, and what can be done to improve the situation?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: The scope of arbitration and mediation is limited in India. However, with a number of amendments to the Arbitration Act, 1996 like timely completion of arbitration, there is a shift by companies at least to resolve their disputes via arbitration. However, the biggest drawback is interference by the Courts at every stage of arbitration. Courts are still the final authority but they must not interfere with arbitration proceedings as a matter of routine.

Recently the CJI suggested that India must also adopt compulsory pre-litigation mediation in all possible cases, which seems to be a good start as most of the disputes are due to some small misunderstanding. In marriage disputes, we have seen mediation as coming across as a viable alternative preferred by all courts. There are mandatory mediation sessions for any domestic dispute and many cases are resolved when parties relay their experiences face to face.

Priyanshi: Lastly, what would be your advice to young lawyers who are yet to start their career in the Law field?

Adv. Yasharth Kant: Law has a lot of scope. Do not consider litigation as be all or end all. From MBA to corporate lawyers to becoming teachers, there are a plethora of opportunities to suit an individual’s preference. However, if you do decide to pursue law, then try to read cases and bare acts again and again to understand the concepts. Do not shirk away from hard work in the initial phase. Growth is monumental in law though it may not look like that at the beginning. If you want to join litigation, decide as early as possible, and start working during law school itself. Pick a chamber and do a regular internship with the same office as it will create a relationship with you and the senior. Building relationships is quintessential to litigation thus starting early is the key.

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