Interview with Shantanu Kumar, Advocate at Patna High Court

Hello Everyone ! After Greeting & Salutation our team begins the Interview of Mr. Shantanu Kumar, Advocate at Patna High Court.

Q-1. Can you provide our readers with a brief background of your schooling and educational qualification?

I was born in 1973 and was brought up in Bokaro Steel City. I have studied from B.S.L. High School. Later, I joined Banaras Hindu University for my graduation from where I pursued a Degree in L.L.B in 1998 and ever since, I have been practicing in Patna High Court.

Q-2. So sir what inspired you to choose law as a profession ?

Earlier I had two choices; first was to pursue journalism and the second option was to study law. I had some senior friends who were then pursuing L.L.B from BHU; most of the times, I used to see them discuss about laws, victims and other intriguing things. Their thoughts and ways of thinking were entirely different from ours which to me, was very interesting. That is how I opted for law.

Q-3. Did you have any one in the family Member who is in this profession and were they supportive to you in this decision ? was there any difficulties in the initial stages of your career ?

 No, I am the first law graduate from my family who is practicing. My father has always supported every decision I have ever taken in my life and I am beyond thankful to him for this.

Q-4. Can you describe the most challenging issues that you faced while practicing law and what did you do to overcome the same?

As a law student, what you read in books is entirely different from its practical application. What is written in law books and what you practice in Court is entirely different. So, for a new comer in the profession, striking a balance between these two is really tough. My earlier efforts were always focused on balancing these two; once you understand the practical difficulty of law and its implementation, then it becomes a piece of cake.

Q-5. Sir which case is very special or important to you & you will carry it with you forever?

It is very difficult for me to decide because for any lawyer, every case is his brainchild and he loves all his cases. However, in my career, my first PIL was related to an accident which had occurred due to the collapse of a water tank in the Navada district owing to which 5 people who were sleeping near it, had lost their lives. We got a favorable order in this case and since this was my first, it remains close to me. In my second case which was an entry tax matter, Mr. Shanti Bhushan, the ex-Law Minister of India and a very renowned advocate was engaged. He was marking his return to Patna High court after 30 years with this case. Absolute havoc was created in our fraternity back then and I became a hero overnight.” (laughs)

Q-6. Have you ever been assigned a case which you were morally opposed to? If yes, what did you do?

I would like to mention this case which is still pending, and which I was forced to take up against my will. The facts of the case go as: My client, the Petitioner has been alleged for sexually abusing a little boy under the POCSO Act, and in violation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. I was furious and I totally oppose such kind of clients; I was not going to take this case at all. However, the Petitioner’s daughter and daughter in law both came to me crying, they were absolutely hand to mouth and requested me to examine the papers once. Seeing their condition, I decided to go through the papers only to find that probably the Court had been misled by the opposing counsel who had chosen or refused to cross examine even a single witness for the case. In my opinion, my client has been convicted falsely due to a lack of professionalism on the part of the advocate. Yet, I am doing an appeal against my wishes.

Q-7. How would you feel about defending an individual who admits his guilt to you but wishes to plead “not guilty”?

Many a times in this profession, you will come across people or accused who have admitted their guilt and confessed to the doing of the crime. But, there is always a different side to their story too; you need to understand that as a professional.

Q-8. How would a law student determine his strengths or a prospective field of study in the legal profession?

Initially a law student cannot have any choice. Firstly, they should be a clearhead and decide that they have to lead a professional life, which is very tough. Once he is determined to do so, then he should approach an experienced advocate who is practicing in the field of his/her interest and start working under their guidance. If you have such a guide or a senior in that field then I believe, you can grow as an advocate and get cases that you are interested to work on.

Q-9. So what inspired you to choose Cyber Law despite the fact that it was not as prevalent a field as it is now during the time that you were studying and as you mentioned, did you have any mentor to guide you throughout the same?

When I started practicing, there was no such thing as Cyber Law, but as I told you earlier, when you get a case which you find interesting, you are willing to work hard on that case. Similarly, I got some cases related to Cyber Law which fascinated me; I strived hard, realized it could be an emerging field in the future, and gave it my best shot.

Q-10. Do you have any message for the future lawyers of our country?

To any newcomer in the field of law, I would like to recall my senior’s words, he used to say that: “This is the only profession where if you are willing to strive hard and work sincerely from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening, you will never be deprived of food and respect.””

Interviewer : Yashasvi Kanodia