What Is Success
What Is Success16 mins 148 16 mins 148
Urmila was expecting that one case win will make them celebrities overnight and they will be bombarded with cases left and right. Little did she know the real world of lawyers? It works with connections and favors more than with wins and losses. The richest and biggest guy in the court is not the one with maximum wins under his wings but the one who can get maximum adjournments. For what else will the client pay you the money? Laxman, on the other hand, is back to being with almost no cases except for the one client that visited them that morning. They don’t yet know if the client is ready to hire them or not. Urmila was bored.
She was not the one to keep quiet. She wanted to ask him an important question. But, she did not know how to bring up the topic. She hesitated for a while, finally broached the subject with Laxman. Urmila asked Laxman, Sir, how did you get the name lawyer without a tongue? She expected him to get angry. But Laxman was all smiles. Urmila was surprised by the reaction. Laxman said, that will be a story for some other day. Urmila got more curious. Till now she thought it was because he could not speak in front of the judge. By the way Laxman reacted she understood there is more to it. She wanted to know right away what that was. She asked Laxman, we have no cases and nothing to do. Why don't you tell me what it is? Laxman was a little angry with Urmila for pointing out his failure. He wanted to try and win her respect back, and decided to tell his story.
He started to tell her the backstory. To know why the nickname you should learn about the most important case of my life. I just finished my internship and my boss gave me a few cases to start practice. One of them is a very tricky one. I took this as a prestigious one and spent all my time on it. The case was about a rioter who was given life time imprisonment.
There was this guy named Sriram. He was in love with the girl named Janaki. Sriram was in love with Janaki for a good part of 6 years. He never had the guts to propose to the girl for two reasons. One, the girl was from a rich family. Second and the most important one is the fear of rejection. So, like any lower middle class lover he spent years following her from distance. A few times when he got too close to her or almost caught by her he ran away like a Jerry who has seen Tom. In these six years the other good thing he has done in his life was getting selected to IPS. After he got selected he felt one hurdle crossed. The money angle will be going away and he is confident that he can take care of her.
The second hurdle could not be crossed by many. As they say, for every one successful love story there are hundred more love stories which did not take the courage to cross the lips of the lover. A little boost from friends Sriram decided to write a letter to the girl. A lot is written in the letter, but what matters is that Sriram asked Janaki to meet him at Delhi gate wearing a Saffron colored dress. To Sriram and his friends' surprise Janaki reached Delhi gate and was waiting for Sriram. They both had the best moment of their life when their eyes met. Janaki was actually head over heels for Sriram. But their waiting of six years lasted only 20 minutes.
Somewhere in the city, there was a fight between two communities regarding an invisible man living in the skies. The name and shape given to the unseen person was not liked by other and they decided to fight for establishing the greatness of that person by killing each other. A guy, who was hundreds of kilometres away from this incident, decided who is right or who is wrong. This guy decided he wants to do justice. Picked up a knife and killed a clueless youth walking by. He wrote with the guy’s blood surrender to my representation of Invisible man or I will kill you. In less than an hour, hundred hands with knifes of variety of shapes and sizes came about to protect the belief of the dead youth.
Without any clue of the external world our love birds were lost in sharing the moments, which were un-worded all this six years. The riot spread now to every corner of the city. The riot too has a very bad timing it made it presence felt at Delhi gate too. The rioters found both Sriram and Janaki. Before Sriram could realize what is happening someone handed a big machete and ran away. Surprised Sriram kept staring to the side the man ran away, the man was not to be stopped. Before he could realize who or what another surprise was awaiting him. Janaki was in a pool of blood.
Urmila did not believe what actually happened or how something like that could happen? She was curious as to what Laxman has to say next. Laxman continued. The riots cases are always very tricky. My college professor used to tell me, the ones caught in the lathi charge are the innocents. Sriram was caught on the suspicion. The police were quick to file a case and he was quickly given a life term. The politics of the coming election made sure of that. The case came to our desk only after the judgement was done. Now, my job was to prove Sriram was not one of the rioters.
My boss at the point thought the case was easy and can be finished without much ado. His argument was that there was no one who saw Sriram using the machete on Janaki. But, what he did not tell me was the government as usual as too much politics attached to the whole incident. The public prosecutor’s argument was that Sriram case cannot be separated and treated individually. It makes his strong as the combined evidence is strongly with the prosecution. But against Sriram they have very little case. Being a junior they tried to intimidate me into accepting to what PP and Police had to say. The problem is bigger than I realized. If they open this case for the government might end up having hundreds of such cases which will spoil the reputation.
Now the whole case has to be studied from a different angle. First, I have to convince the Judge that Sriram is not one of the rioters and second is to prove Sriram did not attack anyone. In the court,
PP: Your honour, why should this case be heard again. The court has done everything and gave the defendant before giving a life term sentence. The case now will waste the resources of the court and the people.
Laxman: Your honour, the case earlier proved the rioters intent. Considered Sriram as one of the rioters and passed a collective judgement. We want to prove the contention placed by state that Sriram is a rioter is not correct
PP: Your honour, this cannot be entertained. In the riot that took place there were hundreds dead and thousands injured very badly. The police have captured more than two hundred people responsible for the riots and have done the due process before presenting their case. About 65 of them are given strictest punishment include ten people who were given death sentence. If every one of them decides to go to court the state, police, and the court will never be able to complete the cases ever. Also the other point about Sriram’s case was he was seen with a machete and next to him was a girl in a pool of blood.
Laxman: The point raised by PP about court ending up with trivial cases, if this case is entertained. I would like to remind the court your honour, in our legal system a hundred culprits may escape but we should not let an innocent be punished. Coming to the case of Sriram, we have strong case to prove that Sriram is not one of the rioters. We also can prove the point that there is no motive on Sriram’s side to hurt or kill Janaki.
PP: The defendant had every opportunity before to present his case. Police have no clue of any of this, how did the opposition lawyer get hold of any proofs. This is clearly a waste of time…
Judge: (cutting off the PP) I will entertain anymore of you telling me this is a waste of time. Let me be the judge of that. Let the defendant’s lawyer present the case. At any point I feel this is waste of time I will close the case.
With that, the court was adjourned and we were given a week’s time to come back and present the case. I celebrated my small victory that day. I came to know only later that judge and the PP were best friends. I was caught off guard with the initial support and was over confident of my case. The next date in the court went this way
Laxman: Your honour, thank you for the opportunity given to my client to present his case. Today I would like to prove that my client has no reason to attack or kill Janaki. We will also like to prove today that Sriram has no reason to be rioter
PP: Your honour, I would like to request the court to make this the last date for Sriram. I don’t want any more of courts time be wasted
Laxman: Your honour, the proofs we are going to make you agree we are wasting any time of the court
PP: Your honour, will we continue to listen to this proof or there any way the opposition lawyer going to present them to the court
Laxman: Your honour, the first exhibit from our side. The religion certificate of Sriram and Janaki for you to verify
PP: What this has to do with the case in any way?
Laxman: The riots that day happened between two different religions. Both Janaki and Sriram have same beliefs. There cannot be any enmity between, especially considering the rioting conditions of that day. The whole rioting case stands rejected with this one proof.
PP: Religion certificate does not confirm the beliefs. Beliefs keep changing. It is very much possible Sriram is in the process of changing his religion. We are country where changing religion everyday
Laxman: Your honour, there is no proof for any of the allegations made by learned prosecutor
PP (After receiving notes from his assistant): That is one of the possibilities; the lawyer does not have any proof to call me wrong. One more angle I would like to pick up at this point. The defendant had been in love with the girl for over 6 years. In all the 6 years she kept rejecting him. That day was the last straw she treated him badly. He has taken the riots as an opportunity and attacked her.
Laxman: This is a big conspiracy theory, your honour. There is no proof of any of this. Even if that is the case why should Sriram stay there till police come
PP: It was not pre-planned. He has done in a heat of the movement. Tried to use the riots as a screen and run away. But he was caught before he could run. As this still happened under the guise of riots this will remain a riot related incident.
Laxman: (Lost in thoughts) Sriram and Janaki are actually in love. The whole story of her hating him and making this a hate crime cannot be justified by anyone
PP: The truth of the point your honour is, Sriram was following Janaki for six years. They were never seen together before the incident. No one can confirm their love. The conclusion is clear, he chased her and she rejected her. He found the right moment when she was caught alone in between riots and killed her.
Laxman (Grabbing on to last straws): No, Your honour. That day actually they decided to meet if they like each other. That day was special as Sriram made it to IPS selection. He felt now he can take care of her and proposed. The request from Sriram to Janaki that he wrote in a letter was to come to Delhi gate only if she loves him
PP: Another new story. Where is the proof for any of this? Where is the letter Sriram allegedly wrote to Janaki? There is no proof of him ever getting selected to IPS. Even if that is the case, there is no proof that he was not angry with Janaki
Laxman (Wanted time to recollect): Your honour, we would like little time to provide proof for them. We will need time for that.
PP: Your honour, this is what I was worried about sir. Some more of court’s time wasted
Laxman: Your honour, we promise you that none of this is waste of time. We are trying to save an innocent here
Judge: Please listen to me Laxman, emotions are not going to work here. You have to show us proof. I am giving you one last chance. We will meet next week and the case next week is only going to about the proof for the points you raised today. You cannot bring any new theories without any proof. Case adjourned.
Laxman continued. I did not know how to progress from there. I have proof for Sriram getting selected for IPS. But the letter Sriram wrote to Janaki was not available. There is little hope with the IPS letter. But the PP seems to be ready to attack us with hate-crime angle. We cannot go into the court again under prepared.
I started to read everything I have on the case. I could not sleep for 2 days and 2 nights. On the third day morning around 10 AM I got a call. The call was from Janaki. Janaki did not die on that day but we could not bring her to court as she was in coma. She woke up the day before. She learnt about the case and she was ready to come to court to be a witness in the case. But she cannot make it immediately due to her health. It takes her few weeks to be ready. She asked me to somehow ask the judge for time. But, I was ready to submit her witness in writing. I just need someone from court to be witness.
I could finally sleep. I slept all morning and night, now ready to go and tell my client the good news. The next step from there was to get Janaki to give her say in the case in writing. I only learn later why going to my client was the biggest mistake of my life. Till then I had no reason to speak to my client. I met him once before, at that time I was only an apprentice. Only reason we picked the case was because of his mother, who died last year.
The proceedings on our next date in the court
Judge: Both parties please remember you cannot bring up anything that was not already discussed till now in the case. I would like to keep this as the final hearing in this case. Tread carefully, don’t introduce anymore new theories.
PP: Your honour thank you. There is nothing more from our side to add, if the defendant lawyer has proof to any of his claims we are ready to accept anything the judge feels fit in the case
Laxman: Your honour, (he could not speak).
Laxman: Your honour, here is the proof of my client getting selected to IPS.
PP (Cutting him off): As we already contested that does not prove anything. We have to establish why he is there and what he did to that girl.
Laxman: Your honour… (Again silence)
PP: There is nothing left your honour. Let us close the case
Laxman: Your honour, Janaki is alive.
PP: Your honour, Mr. Laxman has not proved any of the points he promised. He might have not started rioter on that day. But there is every possibility that Sriram used the riot to get rid of Janaki. The six year history between them for sure takes us to the conclusion. IPS or not has nothing to do with the case. The other thing that needs to be understood is the machete in Sriram’s hand had blood of many other people. The girl being witness is not going to add anything to the case. The machete had blood of many more how can we bring all of them witness. This is one more of gimmick Mr. Laxman is trying to play
Laxman: (complete silence)
Continuing his story Laxman told Urmila, I lost the case. After the fact, everyone came to know that I had the witness and the way to win the case. But I could not make my point and lost the case.
Urmila thought she made a big mistake by being his apprentice. But, she had one last doubt to clarify. Why did he not present his full case? Is it that he really lost his tongue that day? What happened when he went to meet Sriram?
Laxman understood what Urmila was thinking. He started explaining. I told Sriram about all that Janaki has to say. Till that point Laxman had no hope of anything, he thought Janaki will never come back from a coma. Doctors told them that is a strong possibility. The moment he came to know Janaki was okay, he was happy. It lasted less than twenty seconds as his life flashed in front of him. He no longer can be IPS, the riots case and the two years lost will make sure of that. He has no other background or support to survive coming out of jail. It would have been a different thing if Janaki was not around. He can survive a life of unknown. His education will make sure he is not jobless. Now, the whole life of Janaki will get complicated with him in the picture. She doesn’t want her to suffer. He waited six years just to make sure he is right position to ask her hand. He no longer is the same man to put her again in this position.
He promised to not bring up Janaki as witness and requested me to lose the case. I was furious. I tried to convince him for hours together. I told him he can do everything he wanted to do and more. There are many other things which will help him to make a more prosperous life etc. He had only one question to me. What if it is not to be? He is decided in his mind that Janaki will reject him. He wanted to have the memory that she accepted him and if she rejects him for any reason he will die. Still, I was not ready to agree to his words. Before leaving to go back to his cell he told me, if I try to bring him out he will commit suicide in the jail. Something in his eyes made me believe he is going to stick to his words.
That is how I became a lawyer without a tongue. I did not fight it that much. I always keep thinking for sure any other lawyer would not have had the doubt. They would have won the case. I on the other hand was stuck between reality and the imaginary world created by Sriram and lost all words that day. Urmila also lost all her words, only thing that was left were few tear drops in her eyes. Laxman asked Urmila to join him for a tea.
Urmila, on the way to tea shop asked did you not speak to Janaki after. She was furious with me. I tried to explain to her. Like anyone else who heard the story she did not believe me. She tried to go and meet Sriram in jail too. He outright rejected to meet her. After that I had no contact. Sriram on the other hands writes to me once in a while. He completed LLB few years ago, this year attending LLM.