New Delhi, Dec 20 – A book, Law Humour and Urdu Poetry written by Supreme Court Lawyer Ejaz Maqbool has been launched in the capital.
The book was launched by Supreme Court judge Justice K V Vishwanathan and Former law minister Salman Khurshid. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Senior advocates Sanjay Hegde, and Huzefa Ahmadi were also present.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said “We lawyers are very boring. Our attire is black and white which adds no colour to life and the courtrooms usually have a solemn environment where opposing parties present their case for the sake of justice”.
Mehtra, however, recalled occasional instances of light-heartedness. Once Mehta was arguing the Shiv Sena dispute before the bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud. Opposite counsel was Kapil Sibal, Referring to the observations made by the CJI, Tushar Mehta quoted Urdu poet Waseem Barelvi’s couplet – “Main chup raha to aur galat fahmiyan baDhin, Vo bhee suna hai usne jo maine kaha hee nahi “ (My staying quiet led to more misunderstandings, they heard even that which I did not say.”
The 229-page book published by Mohan Law House explores the role of humour in Indian courts, drawing from real anecdotes that highlight the lighter side of the legal profession.
Ejaz Maqbool, Lawyer for the past 40 years said, “I have been in the legal profession for the past 40 years. I have been part of several high-profile and serious cases including the Ram Janam Bhoomi vs Babri Masjid case, but even in those hearings in the most serious moments, when tensions were soaring high, Advocates managed to crack some of the funniest jokes”.
Ejaz said Lawyers themselves have been the subject of many jokes. He quoted Akbar Allahabadi, a famous Urdu poet who himself was a civil judge, “Paida Hua Vakil, to Shaitan ne kaha.. Lo aaj hum bhee Sahibe-aulaad ho gay”. (When a lawyer was born, a gleeful Satan exclaimed, today I have also been blessed with an offspring).
In India, the civil court is called Adalat Diwani’ which also means insane women. Akbar Allahabadi was hearing a case in which the counsel urged “Your Honour, I crave Justice, nothing but the Justice”. The poet judge told the counsel in a couplet: – “ Mujhse Insaaf Talab Kaisi Biyabani hai, Jis Adalat ka main Hakim hun wo Diwani hai”. (You are demanding justice from me, though I preside over a court which is insane).
Ejaz writes: “The idea of compiling the book came to me after I read several biographies of legal luminaries in which many humorous anecdotes were written. So I decided to compile them as a collection. This is the second edition and is divided into four sections 1. Anecdotes from Legal Luminaries, 2.Weird cases, 3. Law and Urdu Poetry and 4. Urdu Couplets cited in judgments. Humorous quotes of eminent lawyers have been quoted in the book.”
Humour has an uncanny way of finding its place even in the most solemn institutions. Legal proceedings, often perceived as a serious and austere affair, occasionally witness moments of levity that break the monotony and offer a glimpse into the human side of the judicial system.
One memorable incident involves Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, a distinguished jurist known for his wit and wisdom. During a hearing, a lawyer argued passionately, employing an impressive array of legal jargon. Justice Iyer, renowned for his simplicity, interrupted and asked, “Counsel, can you please translate that into English? My law clerks are from Kerala, not Oxford!”
In a case where a lawyer was unable to find a crucial document, he humorously declared, “Your Honour, my brief is as brief as it can be without the brief!” The courtroom erupted in laughter, showcasing how lawyers often use wit to navigate through challenging situations.
In a case involving a dispute over the ownership of a cow, a witty judge remarked, “Gentlemen, this is not a ‘moo’t court competition!”
Legal language, known for its complexity, sometimes leads to unintentional humor. In a case involving a typographical error in a legal document, the judge quipped, “Looks like the typewriter had its interpretation of the law!”