Thursday, September 19, 2013

Being a Criminal Lawyer

This is a long post. But an interesting one as usual. Read it or continue living in the biased shell you have created - the choice is yours.

Way too many high profile cases have been coming into limelight these days. The crime ratio has certainly gone up, but it wasn't non-existent earlier. It might have been at par with the current time too. I am too lazy to find out these facts, compare data etc., but it's a plain common sense - population has increased, we are technologically more advanced, more powerful and rich.

But the most important aspect of these stories becoming more and more popular is that there are 20+ news channels now that run 24x7. There are more newspapers and magazines - print media as well as online media. Everything runs round the clock. Even before the criminal wipes his fingerprints from the gun, he is live on TV, or you are reading 1000 tweets a second about the crime that he committed. Every single thing becomes breaking news. Every shit news is repeated a hundred times, to an extent that you even remember when exactly the news reader takes a pause while talking.

Delhi Rape case judgment was a very recent thing that caught media attention. Out of six accused, one committed suicide (or murdered is still a mystery), the Juvenile got three years of imprisonment and remaining four were awarded capital punishment. But more than the result, what caught media's attention was their lawyer AP Singh's arguments. In the courtroom, he made statements like "If my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. I would not have let this situation happen. All parents should adopt such an attitude." 

Second incident was that of a very popular lawyer who is loved and admired by most of the lawyers I know - Ram Jethmalani. He recently took up Aasaram's case who is accused of sexual assault on a minor girl. While arguing for Aasaram's bail plea in the court, he said that the girl in question was mentally unstable and needed to go to men for that purpose. 

As a normal person when I read these statements, I feel like slapping these lawyers for this. I want to punish them as well along with the accused. How can they be so insensitive about such grave issues? How can they say things like - the girl is at fault, or she should be careful and guard her own safety, her parents should be more cautious and so on. 

Now think from these lawyers' point of view. When we get our degrees, we go to Bar Council of India to register ourselves as lawyers. There, we take an oath to defend our clients when we take up their case. We can lie in the court in order to defend them, we are not supposed to hand over the evidence that goes against our clients, and we cannot be punished for these things. The logic is that every person has a right to defend oneself. They have a right to appoint a lawyer to do so on their behalf since a lawyer has better experience and expertise in legal matters.

There are criminals like terrorists, rapists, murderers - some of them become too popular due to the gruesome nature of the crime they have committed. Everyone knows they are guilty of that crime. There are plenty of eyewitnesses, evidences against them. You would think that none of the lawyers will take up their case as they do not want to lose. You look at the whole situation from right and wrong perspective. For you, they are criminals and must be punished. In some cases they shouldn't even be given a trial. But these are all sentimental views.

Look at it from a lawyer's point of view now. You have a high profile case in front of you. A terrorist caught in action, rapists of the most popular case, one religious guru who is popular internationally. If not you, then court will appoint someone as their lawyer to defend them. Media keeps a track of each and every detail of these cases.

Now imagine, you are a small time lawyer. Not very popular. Legal practice is your bread and butter. You are not going to be punished for calling a criminal innocent even if there are 100 witnesses. Your statements get quoted in each and every newspaper and news channel. Your interview is telecast after each hearing. People know your name, your face. They may hate you, but they now know you. You are merely doing your job, and becoming a known face while doing so. What's wrong with that? For lawyers, it's their profession. We care a damn if one has committed one murder or ten murders. We have to choose one side - defend the criminal or don't take up the case. Starve, be unsuccessful, run behind people and make affidavits so that you can make 1000 Rs. at the end of the day. Yes, people do that too. And some have managed to buy a house too in Bombay by running behind people outside courts. But does everyone prefer such a life?

Yes, AP Singh got carried away. He made an insensitive statement in the court. He had to defend his clients. Even though they were guilty. He had to try his best. He was under an oath to do so. Just for some time, forget the gruesome nature of Jyoti Pandey case. If you are an 80's kid, or born even before that, ask your parents about safety and security. 90% of them are of the opinion that one has to be careful about one's own safety. They do believe that one should be home by so and so time. That's how they have been brought up. That's the kind of life they lived. AP Singh got carried away which was a huge mistake, but he just put forward his argument. Had it not been for media, nobody would have paid any attention to his statements. How many of you have read the entire judgment of any case anyway? Some of you may have, but majority of you rely on the summary published by news media.

Now look at Ram Jethmalani. He is very popular. Can you imagine his fees? Can you imagine how much he would be charging per hearing, per appearance, per consultancy? If he doesn't represent such high profile accused, he will have to sit at home, jobless. Again, his arguments were silly, but how can you be sure that he never used them before or they didn't work for him before? Same goes with AP Singh too. They are a part of some popular case, thus their statements are attracting attention from everywhere. They may be the most insensitive bunch of people you have had come across, but they are there for a reason, and that reason is good enough for them. They don't really care about what you think about them. 

They say that lawyers are heartless. If all the lawyers start taking care of their hearts, half the population will die of hunger. There are so many lawyers who never take up cases where they know that the accused is guilty of the crime. They are strict about the kind of cases they take up. All of us have our own principles. And we work accordingly.

I believe, when you have decided to practice a particular profession, you shouldn't worry about what others think of the kind of work you take up so far as you are doing what you are supposed to do. If a criminal is shot, a doctor still tries to save his life like any other patient. Same goes for a lawyer too. You do not demand to prosecute an action against the doctor, then why the lawyer? I have certain principles too. They are decided by me. And I abide by them. I do not break my own rules I have set for any amount of money. No, they are not purely on morality grounds. I am a heartless lawyer too. But I do not take up litigation. Court practice is not my cup of tea. I enjoy the power position. I like to take my own decisions. I do not like to rely on the judgment announced by someone superior. I do not like to be on the losing side. I prefer to be on the side where I decide what's right for you and why you should be doing a particular thing the way I want you to. I have studied and learnt everything for a reason. You are asking me because there are some things I am better at than you. 

Don't ever ridicule a professional. Try to understand their stand. They are doing their job. Just like you. They are inhuman so that they can save you when you need to be saved. They don't have a heart so that they can give you a right solution without wasting your or their time. Their clear mind helps them take the right decision and give the right advice. Trust them, don't abuse them. In some cases, to a great extent, your life depends on them.

PS: I do not give legal advice for free.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Narcissism theory

I have always attracted narcissists - friends, acquaintances, enemies, lovers - most of the people falling in these categories whom I have gotten really close to have been narcissists. I have grown up listening to their stories about how great they have been, how the world revolves around them and runs just because of them. Somehow the other type doesn't make to my close circle. 

I can deal with narcissists easily. I have dealt with way too many of them. You just need to feed their ego continuously, and that's it. They are pretty simple after that. Rub them the wrong way and you are dealing with the most difficult specie on this earth. My success ratio has been almost perfect so far. Very very rarely I have felt difficulties dealing with them. They behave almost normally with me. Listen to me too. And feed my ego too. Ah, did I mention that I'm a narcissist too?

Let me not talk about myself for a change, and trust me it's very difficult not to do so. I am going to talk about a few narcissists I have met so far, none of the names will be disclosed of course. I don't want to see them lose the defamation case against me. They were (Some still are, and I talk to them even now) once really important to me. I cannot be so mean to them.

The biggest narcissist (that's like using two superlatives together) I have ever been with actually suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I don't think he is even aware about this. He knows he is a narcissist, but that's about it. The problem with narcissists is that they do not realise when they cross that thin line of being everything and being everything + proving others being nothing whatsoever. They make you cry for hurting their ego without even touching you. They make you admit that you were wrong about how they are not so good at a particular thing. They keep reminding you about this all their lives. They want to hear you apologise for this every single time you are even close to displease them or do something they do not approve of. This guy never tried to prove that I was nothing. He fell for me because I was smart or intelligent or whatever fancy term you want to give. 

Another one whose narcissism was all about proving how pathetic I am. Don't pity me because of this. I survived even there. That's the best thing about narcissists. They think they can face and win everything. Eventually when my normal mind stopped accepting the crap I fed it about fighting and surviving, and started feeding the crap about fighting and surviving without taking the shit, I left him. That's another quality that we possess. The moment we realise that something is not going to work out, we leave that thing before it leaves us. We want to walk out of it with our head held high.

Another one was actually a very nice guy. His narcissism was again the extreme one, but he was still quite bearable. He had this personality for quite a few years and had learnt to control his emotions and reactions to things and situations. He has been the perfect narcissist I have met so far. It's important to have a control over yourself if you really want the world to feed your ego. He learnt it quickly. Or maybe he chose to become a narcissist. I believe philosophy plays a very important role in converting people. Not many are born narcissists, or they have become one subconsciously. Some get converted into one too. After some bitter life experiences. Or after reading books. Who wouldn't want one's ego fed by others?

I can write about a few more people, but they would have similar personalities like the ones mentioned above. Some of the traits would be different, but they are quite insignificant. These people were a very important part of my life at different stages. But like everything else, they left. Or I left them. Whatever suits you. And they all have been amazing in their respective ways. A bit less amazing than me obviously, but good enough to be with me.

Phew! Writing about others takes more efforts than writing my own thoughts.

PS: Couldn't think of a good enough header, as usual.