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‘Be prepared for elbow greasing if you want to pursue law’

The alumnus from Apeejay School, Charkhi Dadri says that his teachers encouraged him to better himself

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Upholding the law and working within the strict parametres and guidelines that have been set up can never be an easy profession to work in. We all know the broad job description of a lawyer. To provide counsel and represent businesses, individuals, and government agencies in legal matters and disputes.

The main duties are to uphold the law while protecting a client’s rights is never easy especially when it comes to criminal cases. And this is precisely what this alumnus, Ashutosh Dhankar, from Apeejay School, Charkhi Dadri decided to pursue.

In an impromptu interview, this High Court lawyer from Punjab talks about his fun-filled school days and why he chose to practice criminal law. Excerpts:

Tell us about your school days.

I studied at Apeejay School in Charkhi Dadri which I joined in class I. I had great teachers. Each one of them inspired and encouraged me to better myself. I always thank them whenever I remember them. I would like to mention a few of them – the vice-principal, my English teacher – Vinita ma’am; the Physical Education teacher – Ashok sir; Physic teacher – Pankaj sir. I was very good at sports (volleyball, hockey, and football) and participated in the games that were organised. I didn’t pursue it professionally since I didn’t think it was a viable option for me.

Was law something that you always wanted to pursue?

Definitely. The subject fascinated me even when I was in school. I was very good at public speaking when I was in school. And while now people look at you a bit differently the minute you mention that you are a lawyer, the job satisfaction that comes with the profession when you get justice for your client is unparalleled.

Lawyers are looked at with suspicion. Does the same happen to you?

I think this happens with each profession. People have preconceived notions about what a particular job entails. Being a lawyer is no different. But I take pride in my work; I strive to get justice and get it delivered; I work for those who are unable to pay a heavy fee.

What are the challenges that criminal lawyers face today?

Yes, there are challenges. But many of these are due to unforeseen reasons. Sometimes, the delay can be from the Government side, sometimes it could be due to a strike that the courts are closed. Other times, it could be that the judge or the counsel is unwell. The biggest challenge is that once a person has been named in an FIR, he is considered a criminal. But the law clearly states: Innocent until proven guilty. This comes back to us as well. In most cases, we are also looked down upon.

What are some of the changes that should come in the system?

It is not my place to comment on how things work. But having said this, I would love to see speedy trials, we are covering good ground today. This is because most criminal cases are time-bound. The only delay occurs in civil cases.



“A lawyer would know the nitty-gritties that are involved in such cases and make notes accordingly of the crime scene. But we also have to understand how the police and the advocates work. The police are the hand and the advocate the arm”

Ashutosh Dhankar, High Court lawyer from Punjab



Most people opine that those who know the law should work closely with the police in criminal cases. Would you agree?

A lawyer would know the nitty-gritties that are involved in such cases and make notes accordingly of the crime scene. But we also have to understand how the police and the advocates work. The police are the hand and the advocate the arm. We work in tandem. There have been a few workshops – bridging training courses – that have been conducted where the police are taught to better collect the evidence on which lawyers can build an iron-clad case against the perpetrator.

What advice would you like to give to young Apeejayites who want to pursue law?

If a person wants to become an advocate, he/she must be prepared to do a lot of elbow greasing. They must be prepared to put in long hours. It is not a 9-to-5 job where you punch in and out. Your mind must be directional and intrigued with information.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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