-by: Ms. Isha Bhardwaj & Mr. Krishna Rastogi
Welcome to the FINAL ROUND of Law College Dehradun’s National Moot Court Competition 5.0
22 teams started this journey and after battling it out in the courtroom through relentless grilling by the judges in the preliminary, quarter and semi final rounds, 2 have stood the ground. We are here to witness TC10 and TC13 argue their way to a well deserved win and take home the experience of a lifetime.
The hon’ble bench, consisting of Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna, Mr. Abhishek Anand, and Dr. Amit George, is all set to determine who is going to be the ultimate champion.
The court will begin as soon as the judges arrive. Stay tuned with us for updates of the proceedings, you wouldn’t want to miss it for anything!
12:03: All the judges have arrived.
12:03: The proceedings have begun with an introduction to the court by Vastvikta Bhardwaj, the Court Master.
12:04: The counsel for the petitioners, dealing with the first three issues, has begun pleading, with due permission of the bench.
12:08: While humbly submitting his arguments, the first counsel for petitioners has successfully pleaded the first issue. The bench, up until now, looks pretty satisfied.
12:12: A train of arguments with a plethora of authorities, by the first counsel for petitioner, brought him his first question by Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna, demanding a clarification on the nature of contents of the application submitted by Aman, the applicant, and whether that should have an impact on the decision of perusal by the National Biodiversity Authority.
12:15: The second question by Dr. Amit George comes immediately after, seeking a clarification from the petitioner about thier presumption of unconstitutionality of the fee charged by NBA.
12:18: And it’s a hat trick, by a third question from Mr. Abhishek Anand, asking about one to one correlation.
12:21: Recovering from a heavy blow of questions by the bench, the first counsel for petitioner has satisfactorily pleaded the second issue and moved on to the third.
12:23: With one minute left, we are to see how the counsel manages the time crunch.
12:24: The time for the first counsel has concluded, and so has his arguments.
12:25: Or maybe not, since our judges have kept him with their last minute questions.
12:26: It’s a debut for Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, seeking a clarification on the awareness of facts from the counsel. You can see how intimidated the counsel looks.
12:28: It almost seemed like the bench won’t let the counsel leave, but to the organizing committee’s relief, while counting seconds, they did.
12:30: The second counsel has begun pleading.
12:30: Not even a minute has passed and Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna is ever ready with his factual queries. Will the counsel be able to link facts to law and satisfy the question hunger of the bench? We are to see.
12:34: Dr. Amit George strikes yet again by a question that’s bothering all our judges ‘How does a plant variety by itself form a part of culture u/a 29 of the Constitution’, and with it, ‘Could Jemej be uprooted and planted to another part of the country?’, and we see a mention of an act we did not expect to see today, The Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006. Sir sure knows how to shake the ground beneath a counsel’s feet.
12:40: The judges are all worked up today. Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna, taking a stance for the Respondents’ case, questions the petitioner as to why Right to Life of people should not be given priority over a plant, especially when it might be the only plant that can save the lives of millions of people! He does have a point.
12:44: It took a while, but our counsel has successfully explained that it is in furtherance of that very importance that the petitioners are seeking the plant’s protection.
She has now moved on to the last issue.
12:46: And we have the debut for Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, questioning as to who shall, if not the elected Government, fill the lacuna under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in this dynamic situation of the pandemic. Such conviction in her voice, with due respect, runs chills down my spine.
12:50: Reminding the counsel that her time is up, Ms. Bhati compliments her on assisting the bench brilliantly. Oh how each of us wishes it was us in the counsel’s place right now!
12:52: The counsel for Respondents has begun pleading.
12:53: Doing away with all the ornamental formalities, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati seems to have taken the hold of the courtroom in her more than able hands. The only ladyship on the bench, her reputation precedes her. For everybody tuned in, such a beautiful sight.
12:57: The first counsel for respondents, buckling up for a bumpy ride, tries to take back the control of his arguments, only to be hit with another blow by Ms. Bhati asking him ‘How is the dual test of Article 14 met?’ He, however, has passed the question on to the second counsel. Mmm, right move?
13:01: With one hour of constant grilling, our counsels are a sight for sore eyes. Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna, looking fresh as ever hits us with another important question, ‘Has not the whole concept of Sovereign Immunity considerably changed since the case of P&O Steam Navigation Co.?’
13:05: The counsel keeps on moving through issues with the speed of light, but it cannot possibly match the speed of Prof. Bahuguna’s questions.
13:10: Prof Bahuguna strikes again, asking the counsel about the rights of the minority against the rights of the larger public.
13:13: Not letting us forget that he’s still here with a headful of questions, Dr. Amit George seeks clarification on a term used by the counsel, ‘harmonize’.
13:14: Not being able to satisfy the judge on his last query, the first counsel decides to retire and give the stage to the second counsel for the Respondents.
13:16: Ms. Bhati’s back, taking a stance for the Petitioners’ case this time, stating that there is an accepted difference between regulation and restriction. But for situations where regulations become restrictions, what shall be the Respondent’s take.
And she did not stop just there. Testing the counsel’s arguments, she asks him what is the exact nexus of prescribing a fee this high for non commercial purposes? And if he thinks that application of that fee will curb the indiscriminate use of the resource, it wouldn’t stop the rich corporations from buying stakes and exploiting it.
13:23: It’s taken a while but the counsel’s been told not to worry about the bench’s satisfaction and plead his case in the best possible manner.
13:24: Mr. Abhishek Anand joins in, taking the stage with Ms. Bhati to keep the court alive.
13:25: The judges seem to not be taking a break any time soon. Prof Bahuguna marking his presence again.
13:29: The counsel has been answering questions for a decade now. I’ve lost count of how many parts he’s divided his arguments into, but I’m guessing two!
13:30: Another question by Ms. Aishwarya Bhati that all of us as a generation should be asking ourselves, ‘When it comes to natural resources which we have inherited from previous generations, which we hold not as owners but as trustees, as a debt towards our future generations… Why would the court allow a reckless use of such resources?’
13:35: Respondents have concluded their arguments.
13:35: Petitioners have begun Rebuttals.
13:35: Ms. Bhati has taken control yet again, negating the rebuttals of the petitioners one by one.
13:36: I find rebuttals to be the best part of proceedings. The heat, the time constraint, the spontaneity, the strongest of arguments and the judges’ negation of them all!
13:38: Passing on the baton to the second counsel for petitioners, the first counsel finally takes leave.
13:38: The second counsel brilliantly puts forth a thousand strong arguments in a matter of seconds, only to be interrupted by Ms. Bhati on a question of fundamental rights. Escalating into a one sided heated conversation, * chills *, the counsel ‘seems to’ have rebounded well.
13:41: And they’re done.
13:41: The Respondents have begun Sur-Rebuttals.
13:42: That was quick, the baton has been passed on to the second counsel.
13:43: The bench seems to have cooled down.
13:45: Ms. Bhati telling the counsel for Respondents to not remind the court of its obligations, but to mind that of his clients.
13:46: The time is up for the Respondents.
13:47: And they’re done too. The second counsel, i hope, is reaching for water now.
13:48: The Court Master takes over and asks the judges to fill up the scores for the teams now. Meanwhile, our judges look content with what went on today. I hope our teams are feeling the same.
13:50: While we’re waiting for the judges to score the teams, I’d like to remind everybody who is tuned in how wonderful it is that in times like these, when everyday we’re waking up to bad news, we can still look forward to these times of temporary, but important, distractions that might teach us a thing or two. We can still look forward to tomorrow. It’s important not to lose hope and live life as it comes to you, one day at a time.
13:58: As soon as the scoresheets are filled with the what lies ahead for our teams, we shall move to the valedictory ceremony after a short break on the same platform. The teams are urged to be patient and stay tuned with us.
14:04: The valedictory ceremony has begun with Ms. Aditi Bansal as Moderator.
14:05: Since we’ve learnt public interest holds such high importance by the Respondents’ arguments today, live reporting shall stay on for the ceremony.
14:13: Prof (Dr.) Rajesh Bahuguna, the Dean of Law College Dehradun, is also the Patron of the Moot Court Society, and has outdone that title every year, by the constant support he has been lending us through all the editions of the competition. We’re one lucky bunch to be under his direction and guidance. We thank sir and congratulate him on yet another successful edition of the flagship event of our College.
14:19: To our loss, Ms. Bhati has to take leave from the ceremony. But we can’t thank her enough for her presence today. And what a strong presence at that. We continue to learn from her, wish her luck for her case and hope that we’ll remain acquainted with her over the years for such amazing experiences.3
14:22: On one thing, she couldn’t have been more right. Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan is the epitome of humility in the room today. Such a great presence to be in, even in these times.
14:26: Nostalgia has hit the ceremony and there’s been established a connection between the judges of our bench today. Dr. Amit George shall not feel left out, since the first thing that connects them all, before Jodhpur, is their humble greatness, and he’s very much a part of that.
14:31: Mr. Abhishek Anand, gracing us with a short and crisp address.
14:32: And now, the Chief Guest for the day, Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, proving his humility and lending some wisdom to our ears.
14:36: Prof (Dr.) Devendra Pathak, representing the Uttaranchal University, congratulating the teams on such vibrant performances.
14:40: IT IS FINALLY THE TIME THAT ALL THE TEAMS HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.
Such build-up though. Good luck, everybody.
14:42: Best Memorial, for the cash prize of 5000/- goes to Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala.
14:43: Best Researcher, for the cash prize of 5000/- goes to Shambhavi Singh of Chanakya National Law University, Patna.
14:44: Best Oralist (Female), for a cash prize of 5000/- goes to Nayan Saini of Bharati Vidyapeeth deemed University Institute of Management & Research, Delhi
14:45: Best Oralist (Male), for a cash prize of 5000/- goes to Dhruv Sharma of ICFAI University, Dehradun
14:46: The Runner-Up of the 5th Law College Dehradun National Moot Court Court Competition is TC10: Central University of South Bihar, Patna, winning a cash prize of 15,0000/-
14:47: We all know who the winner is. Just in case you weren’t keeping tabs, THE WINNER of the 5th Law College Dehradun National Moot Court Competition is TC 13: School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore bagging a cash prize of 25,000/-
14:48: It goes without saying that the win was well deserved. All of you who have been in tune with us witnessed the intensity of the round, especially when our winners lit up the stage and somehow stood their ground, despite of the constant grilling that went on, even up until the rebuttals. What a wonderful show, worth all my pennies!
14:49: But that does not mean that our runners up weren’t equally challenging!
Congratulations to all the winners of the various titles and to all the participants for being with us through these difficult times. The Moot Court Society wishes you good health and good luck in your future endeavors.
14:50: Prof (Dr.) Poonam Rawat, Head of Law of College Dehradun, is also the Worthy Chairperson of Moot Court Society. Words fall short. The ocean-full of belief that you have showed in us, all these years, guarding us against everything, fighting for us and remaining that one person who we can blindly lean on, THANK YOU. Words fall short and yet words are all we have to give you. Words, and all our love, for setting a bar so high that no teacher could ever reach it in our lifetime.
14:55: Everything said and done, there is one person I’d like to thank on record, since no amount of thankfulness is enough. Ms. Anna Anu Priya, President of the Moot Court Society, your founding family is proud at the way you have carried on their legacy. Your contemporaries are lucky to have gotten a chance to be acquainted with you. And your juniors are grateful for everything you do for them. Your team still stands, and stands strong, even after a hundred blows. It was an honor to have served under your presidentship. The Society shall remember you for years to come.
15:00: Funny how emotions get in the way of humor and refuse to make way again. This brings us to the conclusion of yet another successful edition of LCD NMCC, and what a finish!