As thrilling and challenging as it seems, the work profile of a criminal lawyer in India is not easy and requires tremendous patience not only to learn the art of cross examination, but also to establish one’s practise as a Criminal Lawyer. The long working hours on cases, in depth analytical powers and great inter-personal skills to communicate and convince while arguing are a few armouries that a criminal lawyer needs to be armed with and this plays an imperative role in determining how good a Criminal Lawyer one is.
What is Criminal Law
Criminal law is a branch of law that deals with cases pertaining to criminal offences. The Penal laws of our Country are framed under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code which came into existence as early as 6th October 1860. With the change in the social fabric of the society as a result of Modernisation and Globalisation, the ways of performing a criminal act have become more complicated and therefore the Penal Law of this Country has under gone a radical change. In such a scenario it is necessary for a Criminal Lawyer to equip himself with all the updated laws and argue diligently before the Courts of law because an improper presentation not only causes confusion and delay, but also defeats the end of justice.
The criminal law ‘academics’
In order to become a Criminal Lawyer, one can enrol for a 5 year LLB course after completing the 12th Std or enrol for a 3 year LLB course after graduation. After completing your bachelors degree in Law(LLB), one has to enrol as an “Advocate” with a Bar Council of a State and also qualify the All India Bar Examination conducted by the Bar Council of India. Thereafter, one may pursue Masters in Criminal Law (LLM) either from a reputed institute in India such as the National Law Schools or may even consider studying in the UK. It is also equally important to train yourself as a junior Advocate under a Senior Advocate during the first few years of your profession, which certainly understand the legal profession.
After my graduation, I initially began my internship with Mr Satish L Maneshinde in the High Court of Bombay. While working with Mr Maneshinde I got an opportunity to assist him in the famous 1992 Bombay Blast case wherein Mr Maneshinde was representing the famous actor Mr Sanjay Dutt. On the day when Mr Sanjay Dutt was convicted by the TADA Court in Bombay, I was personally present in the court room when history was being created. Even though our client was sentenced to undergo 6 years of jail, such great exposure in the early years of my life developed my keen interest towards Criminal Law
Criminal Law encompasses the following
Some of the areas of Criminal Law that one could specialize as a Criminal lawyer are Cyber Crime, Domestic Violence , Violence as well as Sexual Abuse against Women and Children, Bodily Offences such as Murder, Sexual Offences such as Rape. As a result of the technological revolution, large amount of financial transactions are executed through the internet as a result of which cyber crime is coming up as a virgin area of criminal practice, for which the investigation of a cyber offence is far more complicated and an expert is required for the same. Also, with the change in the social structure, marriage is no longer considered as a sacred relationship and matrimonial disputes leading to incidences of domestic violence have seen a considerable high in the passed decade. This is an area where, the legal profession has seen a large number of women arguing and establishing themselves as competent Lawyers.
Besides, these new areas of criminal law the traditional practice pertaining to bodily offenses, sexual offenses and economic offenses have also seen to have increased which creates a ocean of opportunities or those who are willing to under go the rigor of a Criminal Lawyer. A crime being an act against the State (Government), any criminal case is always represented through a Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State. Whereas, on the other side the person who commits the offense is represented through a Defense Lawyer. Thus, as a Criminal Lawyer, you could either choose to work as a Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State or work as a Defense Lawyer to safeguard the interest of the person who is alleged to have committed an offense.
The uniqueness of Indian Criminal Judicial System
As a part of my academic curriculum in London, I had taken up “Jail Sentencing and Pre Sentencing Policy” as a subject of my dissertation. It was then that I realised that in today’s world it is important to look at a criminal as a human being, and to emulate a policy, wherein a criminal is reinstated back in the society and given an opportunity of reforming himself, than following a retributive form of punishment. This human approach towards criminals is a area which lacks considerable importance in our Country as we are not even able to provide basic amenities to our inmates. In a Country which has a large number of under trail prisoners, it is important for us adopt a reformative form of punishment which I feel the Courts can adopt by passing Judgements on the basis of the Arguments advanced by Criminal Lawyers. Therefore, such kind of a social responsibility is casted upon a Criminal Lawyer in a developing Country like India.
Though above is the case, “Innocent until proven guilty” is the Cardinal Principle of Criminal Juris prudence which helps a defence Lawyer in making a decision to represent a person alleged to have committed a particular criminal act, which then in turn helps protect the best interest of an accused.The Indian Judicial system is one of the rare judicial systems wherein a person who has committed any offence gets a full and fair trial. One such example is the conviction of Ajmal Kasab, who beyond reasonable doubts had committed a terrorist act in the Economic Capital of our Country . However, even though there was no iota of doubt that the most inhuman act in the history of mankind was committed by Ajmal Kasab, the Indian Judicial System conducted a full and fair trial considering him to be innocent until he was proven guilty beyond any doubt, only after which Ajmal Kasab was hanged. Such being the nature of our Criminal Judicial System, it gives me immense pleasure to be part of such a system.
The doors of Criminal Law are open for both
Though the field of Criminal Law is mainly a male dominated one, according to me recent times have witnessed an increase in the number of female lawyers in this field. As one establishes himself as a true and an honest Criminal Lawyer, the remunerations in this field are also are quite rewarding. However, the struggle at the initial stage really tests, how deep can one swim, and if one is able to swim in deep waters then the life of a criminal lawyer shall be enthralling and one shall get a sense of satisfaction for having performed his social duty.
At the end I would like to state that, “only reason of the evil to survive is because good men do nothing.” Thus, practicing Criminal Law provides an opportunity to fulfill a social obligation by which truth prevails and indirectly defeats the evils of the society. As a lawyer, practice to help bring truth before the court and then that truth which you shall bring forward shall require no defense.
Here’s wishing each one of you all the best as you shall just commence your journey to become a lawyer and I hope to see each one of you, someday in the court of law fighting for the truth to prevail.