Parley with Hon’ble Justice Ravi R. Tripathi, Gujarat High Court

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Libertatem Magazine’s media division had the opportunity of interviewing Hon’ble Justice Mr. Ravi R. Tripathi, Judge, High Court of Gujarat. Justice Tripathi is well regarded in the legal fraternity for his vociferous judgments. In the recent case of Adam B. Chaki v. Government of India, regarding the constitutionality of a scheme proposed by the Central Government to provide scholarship to religious minorities, Justice Tripathi in a powerful dissenting opinion stated that the distinction was solely based on religion and was therefore unreasonable. He stated,

“If it can be shown that the criterion adopted for determining backwardness is useless as a test of backwardness, so that the preference given to them virtually amounts to a preference on the ground of religion alone, the description as backward will be illusory or fictitious.”

Justice Tripathi’s erudite and well-reasoned dissent is a sheer delight to read. He is currently heading the division bench hearing of the appeal in the Naroda Patiya case.

Here’s what Justice Tripathi has to say about how to become a good lawyer and the virtues he wants to see in the future generation lawyers.

“I would repeat what Justice Dave used to say on how to be a good advocate. I believe one should be a good human being first and then one will automatically become a good lawyer without having to put in any extra effort.

I personally feel that the students must have more values, particularly honesty and integrity since this is one profession where there are slippery grounds. Especially in the best years of a person’s career, it is very easy to slip off this path of honesty and integrity. I will advise you to imbibe these two values of life: honesty and integrity and the rest of the things will take care of themselves.”

When we asked Justice Tripathi about any quality that the bar lacks, Your Lordship replied, “This question is perennially asked to the judges about the bar and the bar about the judges. And the answers are often found to be conflicting.”(Laughs)

Recalling an interesting anecdote, Justice Tripathi said, “Once a party was appearing in person. The judge asked him why he did not get a lawyer to defend himself when any lawyer would have done the job for 25 paise (in his time). The fellow went to the bar and said that the judge has said that any lawyer will be available for 25 paisa. The lawyer replied, all those lawyers who were available for 25 paisa have now become judges and so no lawyer is available for 25 paisa.”(Laughs)

He added, “Probably this is my personal perception, but I feel that sincerity is lacking (in the bar). I have no hesitation in telling you that I come across many cases where the lawyers are without papers. Forget about the reading the document, they do not even have the physical possession of the papers. If they have the possession of the papers, they are not read. If they are read I’m sure they will be able to make out a case, but if they are not read, it is very difficult for them to make out a case. Then they accuse the judge that they are very strict and are not giving the orders. Sincerity is one most important thing that the bar must have. And as is very rightly said, you start loving your work and the work will automatically get you success.”

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