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LexTalk World Talk show with Sharmila Upadhyay, Managing Partner at UNUC Legal, LLP

Mrs. Sharmila Upadhyay is a leading member of our Litigation Team. Sharmila is also a Advocate on Record duly recognized by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. She has a rich academic records and holds a Masters Degree in Law from the Delhi University.

She also represents various State Governments, Public Sector Units and leading Corporations, Individuals before the Supreme Court, various High Courts of India. She is a crafty legal strategist par excellence and has to her credit several key and High stake matters before the Higher Courts of India.


Host: How and till what extent have you contributed to the development of the Legal Regime in your jurisdiction?

SHARMILA: During the course of our experience of more than four decades, we have encountered multitudes of complex challenges. However, one challenge which remains afresh in our memory is an arbitration pertaining to a Loan Agreement which came before the Arbitral Tribunal where the entire Loan Agreement was drafted by the Opposite Party, a leading Banking Finance Institution of India, giving primacy to its interests.

Ultimately, even after the advent of the pandemic, our client kept on making payments as and when desired by the Opposite Party. However, some irreconcilable disputes arose between the parties, and the opposite party proceeded to encash the security in lieu of the agreement, i.e. the High Shares of our client. When the matter reached the annals of the Arbitral Tribunal, we were faced with complex and different waves of challenges.

One of which was to secure relief for our client who had lost most of its High-Value Shares. In terms of the Agreement, the Opposite Party was well within the right to liquidate the shares as and when desired, leaving no scope for our client to claim reliefs before the court of law in terms of the agreement. Here, our team was quick to get on their toes and dug up the jurisprudence on contract law to devise a potent strategy for our client to claim relief.

After considerable efforts, we found a glimmer of hope and chartered a trajectory to victory for our client. The focus of our strategy shifted on a quotable interpretation of contract law where the Right to Claim damages for wrongful loss is independent of the Agreement and a codified right conferred upon a party in terms of Contract Law. The Right to Claim damages, which is a codified right under the Contract Law, is independent of whatever the Agreement may provide for.

Any curtailment of Right to Claim damages under the contract law runs afoul of the scheme of Contract Law and shall not be taken into consideration while dwelling upon the issue of awarding damages to the party who has suffered a wrongful loss by the other party deriving its rights from the Agreement which was drafted by it in the first place.

HOST: Tell us about a complex legal issue you worked on. Describe the complexity and tell us how you approached it.

SHARMILA: We believe that our ability to think out of the box has already blessed us with opportunities where we have made our small yet significant contribution towards developing the already rich jurisprudence of India. Our founding members who were suitably assisted by the team at UNUC Legal LLP have contributed significantly through appearing before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in landmark judgments such as Lalita Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh [W.P. (Crl.) No; 68 of 2008] wherein the law was laid down that it is mandatory for the Police to register a First Information Report upon receipt of information disclosing the commission of a cognizable offence. Prior to that, it was a widely accepted phenomenon that the police complaints filed before the authorities seldom used to see the light of the day as they used to get caught up in the oblivion of a “Preliminary Enquiry”. Thus, the major chunk of the Criminal Law Jurisprudence of India can be divided into two stages viz. Pre-Lalita Kumari Stage and Post-Lalita Kumari Stage. We at UNUC Legal LLP take pride in playing a small yet significant role in assisting the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in chartering a smooth evolution of criminal law jurisprudence from Pre-Lalita Kumari Stage to Post-Lalita Kumari Stage.

UNUC Legal LLP further had an opportunity to ably assist and appear before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Swiss Ribbons Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India as well as Chitra Sharma Vs. Union of India [Writ Petition (Civil) No.744 of 2017], to note a few.

We believe that we have been blessed to have an opportunity to play a small role in chartering the India Jurisprudence in a variety of subjects with a special emphasis on Arbitration & Commercial Laws owing to our ability to think out of the box while the law catches up with the ever-growing Indian Economy.

Host: Time is money in any profession and in legal it's most of all. How do you ensure to make the best of your time as a lawyer?

SHARMILA: Time is money in every profession, indeed and especially in the legal profession. However, we believe in investing our time as well as money in raising the universal consciousness of the society and the unprivileged. We believe that what you give comes back to you manifold.

We from time and time conduct various seminars targeting towards spreading legal awareness of the society. We believe that knowledge is the most powerful form of empowerment. An aware society is not only self-sustainable but also competent to achieve the highest human potential of life. The legal awareness is just one component of percolating knowledge in the society.

As a CSR initiative, our Litigation Team represents pro-bono in many matters before the Supreme Court of India.




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