LexTalk World interviews with Mareesh Pravir Sahay, Founder Principal, Office of MP Sahay. Mareesh was born and brought up in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh where his family is settled since a long time. His paternal family roots go to Bareilly, Etah and Patiali in U.P. where his Great Great Grandfather was the titled Zamindar of Bareilly. Most in his family have been in Armed Forces or legal background or Agricultural background. His Grandfather is Late Major P.C. Sahay (2nd Course, IMA, 1947), his grandmother is Late Swaroop Rani Sahay (Daughter of Late Padam Shri Bishan Mansingh), his mother is Manju Sahay, who is running a school by the name of Tender Hearts School and his father is Samir Sahay who is also an Advocate by profession. He is the only child of his parents. He was educated in Fatehpur up till Class 5th. Thereafter, he went to The Scindia School, Fort, Gwalior from where he passed out Senior Secondary (C.B.S.E.) in 2004. After that he read law (B.B.A. LL.B.) at Symbiosis Law School, Pune from 2004-2009. Since then he has been settled in New Delhi practicing law. He is an avid reader and a keen follower of sports, history and politics. He is married to Sakshi Sahay and have a three year old daughter, Vishalakshi Sahay.
Host: Tell us about a complex legal issue you worked on. Describe the complexity and tell us how you approached it?
Mareesh : No case is ever simple, even a simple looking case will have some amount of complexity be it on facts or in law or some other technical issue. Sometimes a very weak case leads to a favourable Order and a strong case gets dismissed. We bear this in mind always. One recent example which I can cite is that my client was facing a family property issue. He had lost in the trial court, as also before the first appellate court and second appeal before the High Court. THough chances were bleak, we took a chance before the Supreme Court but the SLP was dismissed. Normally, that's the end of the road however I adviced my client to go back to the High Court and file a review petition as the Supreme Court had dismissed the SLP 'in limie' which meant that doctrine of merger did not apply, the High Court Order did not merge with the Supreme Court Order and as per Supreme Court Judgments one could take a chance before the High Court again. The Supreme Court had also observed that in law it was on our side however there were three concurrent finds of facts by three courts below and the Supreme Court not being a fact finding Court, could not go into the same. But the High Court in a review could very well go into that aspect. The advice worked and my client got the desired relief. It was all about reading between the lines and stretching to the maximum possible but within the four corners of the law.
Host : The pandemic saw some courts begin moving towards more remote proceedings and availability. Is this sustainable, and a possible way to increase access to justice, in your opinion?
Mareesh : Every disaster, calamity or epidemic or pandemic no doubt leaves behind large scale loss of human life and property but leaves opportunities behind as well. Had the Covid-19 pandemic not come, we would never have had virtual courts. It began slowly but soon almost all courts and tribunals were functioning virtually. The Supreme Court led the way in that. Access to justice improved to some extent and it is also very cost and time effective. But still in many parts of the country due to poor connectivity issues, lack of digital literacy among lawyers, clients and judges alike it could not have the much desired result and reach. Also, I think it ought to stay and continue even when full normalcy resumes. So much money has been spent in putting the necessary infrastructure in place. It has benefitted many categories of persons such as single parents, single working mothers, senior and disabled citizens.
Host : How would you rate the current legal system drive towards encouraging access to justice? Is there tangible movement in closing the justice gap?
Mareesh: Much more needs to be done towards enhancing access to justice. Legal aid systems are in place but still many people would not have even heard of it. State Bar Councils in tandem with Bar Associations of various Courts and State Governments must organize outreach programmes on a massive scale. Also, emphasis has to be put on judicial infrastructure which to be honest is poor in most parts of the country. Judicial infrastructure is directly linked to access to justice.
Host : In the era of legal technology, what are the mostly common used tools for you?
Mareesh : The Internet and computers are now virtually the backbone of the legal system, be it for judges, lawyers, clients and even law students. Web based research platforms such as SCC OnLine, Manupatra etc. were in place however now case management web and mobile based applications such as Libra, Mercury, Pro Vakil etc. have come up which are very useful providing all possible information of one's cases in one place in a single click. They shpild be encouraged and promoted more and more.
Host : Time is money in any profession and in legal it's most of all. How do you ensure to make the best of you time as a lawyer?
Mareesh : Time management is the single-most important aspect. Scheduling for a litigating lawyer is paramount. Unlike conventional office work and office timings, our entire day from 10 in the morning until 4 in the evening is spent in Courts either arguing cases or waiting for the turn of the case to come. So office practically begins after 4 when not much time in the day is left. So scheduling and calendar management becomes of most importance to make the best possible use of the limited available time. In this aspect also, virtual courts have helped the lawyers as while logged in for a matter sitting in Office one can do other works as well.
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