Exclusive conversation with Shri K.R. Saji Kumar Joint Secretary & Legislative Counsel

By | October 23, 2016
Saji Kumar

Hello readers. Once again, we are here with a very special guest! Shri K.R Saji Kumar.
He is the Joint Secretary & Legislative Counsel (Grade 1 of ILS), Ministry of Law & Justice, Legislative Department. A man with a great vision, strong integrity and hard discipline with a firm belief and an inclusive growth of legal profession. He completed his B.Sc Degree from University of Kerala in 1984 followed by LLB from Bangalore University In 1987. After practicing as a lawyer in District and Subordinate courts in Thiruvananthapuram and High Court of Kerala for ten years, he joined the Ministry of  Law & Justice, Govt. of India as Assistant Legislative Counsel as direct recruit through UPSC in 1997.

He has a vast expertise in Heading Legislative Group in the Legislative Department that deals with Ministries such as Finance, Corporate Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Rural Development, Atomic Energy, etc. Further he has been training officers in Legislative drafting and has supervised and Managed Government Bills at various stages of policy formation, drafting, vetting, authentication for introduction in the Houses of Parliament, rendering assistance and tendering evidence as official Legislative Counsel to the Committees of Parliament.

Today we are really honored to have such an eminent legal luminary with us.

Legal Bites: Hello Sir, It’s an honor and privilege for us to have you here with us for this interview.

Shri Saji Kumar: Thank You!

Legal Bites: Sir, How was your Law school experience? Looking back, what all changes to you see – like role of internet? What activities you were involved in when in the law school?

Shri Saji Kumar : Internet was not there at all, because I remember even when I started practice as a lawyer we didn’t have electronic type writer, we had old conventional typewriter. In our law colleges also we didn’t have those tools, so we used to spend more time in the library. That’s how we used to research and in our final year we were supposed to attend courts although it was not compulsory. I used to attend court in my final year.

We students had a lot of interaction with each other. One of the things which I missed on was, there was no moot court competitions. I first became the judge of a moot court competition after seven years of my practice. I was a person interested in a lot of extracurricular activities and used to get engaged in them. And one more thing I was too confident that I would shine immediately I put on my robes. Now the law school students have lots of opportunities because you have the modern tools.

Legal Bites: Certainly Sir now we have modern tools with us, but Sir Competition has also increased in the field of law. What’s your take on it?

Shri Saji Kumar: Competition has always been there, but now a day’s area of practice have increased vehemently. There are lot many courts, tribunals and then the legal firms.This has led to demand of specialization. So I’ll  say that

“Competitions help to refine and enhance ones knowledge, if there is no competition you will not be able to enhance knowledge.”

Legal Bites: Sir, how was your initial experience in litigation?

Shri Saji Kumar: I still remember my first day in the court, it was terrible. I had to submit that plaintiff prays for the time. It was only thing I had to do. I went with the only prayer, which was given by my senior. I was told that when case is called you have to submit this and say that plaintiff prays for the time. Another lawyer from the same chamber was with me, seeing the tricky arguments from my seniors I got scared. I was not able to follow the sequence of the court and my senior from the same chamber was talking to the lawyers, the case was called and there was no representation, then the clerk called the name of the lawyer, then the lawyer from the same chamber told me to stand and submit. I had the slip with me and I was shivering like anything. Then I stood up and the judge asked me – yes what do you want, and I was like I don’t want anything.

The Judge encouraged me and said you are fresher what is there on the slip. I said the plaintiff prays…. he said prays for what? I said prays for time then I sat. He said stand up you have not finished your submission. He asked my name and said you may be a big man working your client but in the court you have to assist the court, be attentive and don’t talk in the court.

I am saying your experience as a student or as an activist whatever is different from actual practice. But for practice you need to have experience. Experience makes a person perfect.

Legal Bites: Sir when did you decide of being a lawyer?

Shri Saji Kumar: It was at the age of 14 I guess because of some of the things in the school which I didn’t like and I had to come open towards knowing my rights.

Legal Bites: Sir, there are so many difficulties like family pressure etc., which one has to face in the initial years and this is what is debarring many student from joining litigation. What suggestions you will like to give?  

Shri Saji Kumar: Family pressure was there in our time also and more than what is today. I won’t share my personal story but I too had that problem. I am not from a family of lawyers my uncle was there but I didn’t want to practice with him because I wanted to stand on my own legs. Initial years I had to struggle, the first pay I got was Rs. 50 and that to without asking from my Senior’s client. I cross-examined one witness very well and the client gave me fifty rupees, I told my senior then he said that this is your first pay.

So, if you work hard if you are persistent then I am sure you will be able to minimize the incubation period. For any independent profession you have this incubation period. You can minimize it if you are ready to work hard.

Legal bites: Sir, who has been your inspiration in this profession?

Shri Saji Kumar: In my profession my senior has been my inspiration, he is Mr. K.S Nair. He is not a flashy kind of lawyer. He still has the same office; he doesn’t follow the online search engines. He is conventional lawyer, he doesn’t cheat his clients and takes a very minimal fees. Had he been of different type he would have made crores. He is still there in his own village.

 

Legal Bites: Sir, what do you think about the future of legal education in India?

Shri Saji Kumar: Legal education has immense scope in our country. As the number of students interested in law is increasing that is why more and more private colleges are coming up. “We need law from birth to death i.e. from birth certificate to death certificate you can’t live without law”. It seems that law is the fourth necessity to survive in a civilized society along with roti, kapda aur makan. It shows that there is immense scope.

Legal Bites: How will you describe your work  and standing in the society?

Shri Saji Kumar: I am in government services and I am serving the masses and whenever I draft a law I have a farmer or a rickshaw puller in my mind. I try to do something good for them. If I would have been in the profession of lawyer I would have made a lot of money as my contemporary lawyers are making money like anything. My salary is fixed, and I am satisfied.

Legal Bites: Sir there are so many laws but still they say that law is for rich and has nothing to do with the down trodden class. How do we feel this gap?

Shri Saji Kumar: All the laws are for the welfare of people, but the problem arises with the implementation. Students like you can help the government in spreading awareness. You need to reach villages far off – travel, take it as a worldly cause and enlighten them. Don’t just expect the Government lawyers or judiciary to take the call or share the responsibility, law students need to play a greater role and contribute in it as a part of their curricular.   

Legal Bites: Thank you so much sir for your time and consideration. We wish you all happiness and health in future.

{This Exclusive conversation has been brought to you by our Amicus Ritu Singh}

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Author: Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is a student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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