Law Schools Lounge

District collector in shining armour

The District Collector of Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu caught the attention of the English-language press when he acted quickly on a call for help from a 15-year-old schoolgirl. He sent a team to the venue and stopped her marriage moments before it was to take place. Alumni of N.L.S.I.U. posted the link to the Times of India story (September 6) on Facebook, and happy chatter ensued about the official in question: Arun Roy, a 2002 graduate from the Bangalore law school. The man himself was not overly excited.  “It is an everyday occurrence here“, he laughed over the phone as he agreed to answer my questions.

Before taking office in Krishnagiri in June this year, Roy served as Deputy Secretary and as Under Secretary in the Finance Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu. During that time, he also served as a Director (Finance) at several P.S.U.s, including the Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation, the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies CorporationTamil Nadu Cements LimitedPallavan Grama Bank, and the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation.

As Collector, he is the chief executive of the district and the nodal person responsible for governance in the district. He implements the development schemes of state and central governments in the district, including the N.R.E.G.S., the public distribution system, and the social security pensions and other welfare schemes.

A good part of my work is also regulatory, which is nothing but the interpretation and application of various laws, which is much easier for a law student when compared to others,” he said. The Collector is the ‘District Magistrate’ under the Criminal Procedure Code, and is responsible for the law and order of the district. He is also responsible for the implementation of various regulations relating to essential commodities, mining, dowry prohibition, child marriage, pollution, public nuisance, public health, road transport, and the protection of senior citizens. He also has powers of preventive detention under various Acts, such as the National Security Act and the Goondas Act.

Arun said he imbibed two important values from law school life, and those were not from the classroom. “The first is tolerance and sensitivity, which has helped me handle difficult situations and difficult people. There is also the art of talking a lot without conveying and committing anything, which we all learn in law school! That has always helped me in tricky situations like law and order problems!

He remembers Dr. V.S. Elizabeth, who taught him History at law school, very fondly. “It has nothing got to do with her classes. She has given me a lot of food in her house. And I always loved making fun of her and I still do.

The essence of good administration is to take the right decision at the right time, and this requires a lot of common sense more than anything else. Since law is nothing but common sense, my lack of common sense was to an extent made up for by a knowledge of law.” By this time, I can’t decide if he is joking or being humble. A little later, he tells me that he used the free time in his fifth year of law school to prepare for the Union Public Service Commission examinations. “I used some postal notes also but did not go to any coaching institute. The internet and the Law School library were sufficient for obtaining the necessary study material.

The shining armour rests easy on this District Collector.

(Aju John is part of the faculty on

Lounge Uncategorized

Kheema Matar and lassi at Triveni

The kheema matar at the Tea Terrace in the Triveni Kala Sangamam on Tansen Marg has been a good option for a nutritious lunch for Supreme Court advocates. Photo by RovingI.
The kheema matar at the Tea Terrace in the Triveni Kala Sangamam on Tansen Marg has been a good option for a nutritious lunch for Supreme Court advocates. Photo by RovingI.

If an arduous morning in the Supreme Court calls for a more satisfying lunch than the one dished out in the canteen, you have to head to the Tea Terrace at Triveni Kala Sangamam on Tansen Marg. For years, the “Triveni canteen” is the Supreme Court lawyers’ first choice for a quick, tasty and nutritious meal.

Triveni Kala Sangamam is a venerable fixture in the Delhi Cultural Scene. The tasteful campus houses exhibition spaces and training centres reverberate with traditional and classical music from its classrooms and stages. The canteen itself has been operational for some 30 years now.  It used to be a magnet for the Delhi’s cultural crowd though now you are more likely to run into a lawyer or corporate executives than a jhola-wallah though prices still remain reasonable.

The ambience is pleasing and quiet. The snug indoor area has low tables and cushioned stools and seats around 25. What takes the cake, though, is the open-air dining area surrounded by tendrils and overlooking the amphitheatre.

Hot favourite for lunch here is the kheema matar (minced goat with peas). It thankfully lacks the oil bonanza that is a ubiquitous trait of such dishes in Delhi. Rotis come hot and fluffy from the griddle and the shammi kebabs succulent and textured. The judicious use of oil in the freshly cooked dishes lends them that home-cooked feel.

The vegetarian dishes change daily through the week – you can try the vegetable of the day – and includes old favourites like alu jeera and paneer bhurjis. The snacks menu is full of usual suspects like toasts, omelettes and pakoras. You can wash it all down with a glass of lassi or have a cup of espresso afterwards. You can indulge your sweet tooth with gulab jamuns or a slice of carrot walnut cake, again with a discernible home-cooked quality.

The Tea Terrace is open from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm and serves lunch from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.  With vegetarian dishes priced in the Rs. 30-35 range and meat preparations at Rs. 65, a lunch here would cost you under Rs. 100. Before heading back to the court, you can also check out some contemporary art at their galleries!

Justin Thomas Panachackel works at Rainmaker.


Forward Defence

When the Fake IPL Player became a household subject in April of 2009, few were aware that the blogger who emerged a few weeks ago from behind the name, Anupam Mukerji – a Bangalore-based marketing consultant, was preoccupied with protecting himself legally. In fact, the surge in attention after the first few posts even prompted a temporary hiatus from blogging while he thought about how to protect himself from the powerful feathers he may have ruffled.

Even before he started blogging on, Google’s blogging platform, while the concept was just a knot of ideas, the word “Fake” found its way into the name to replace “Faceless” because of advice from friend and Rainmaker co-founder Bhavin Patel. In fact, it was Bhavin who also advised him to get a disclaimer for the blog and to stick to nicknames and descriptions of the teams, players and owners that were the subject of his acidic humour.

Another Rainmaker co-founder, Sachin Malhan, was not as enthusiastic, and almost convinced Anupam to kill the blog. Later, seeing that the Fake IPL Player was not about to roll over meekly, Sachin introduced Anupam to Sajan Poovayya, the Managing Partner at Poovayya & Co. in Bangalore, and took him over for a meeting.

At the Poovayya office, Sajan and his team of lawyers pointed out that some of the nicknames could be construed as defamatory. “Paedophile Priest” was one. “Appam Chutiya” was another. Anupam agreed to stop using the former, but said he would have to continue using the latter, as it had become key to the blog’s popularity.

Sajan’s other major concern was the “one per cent chance” of someone filing a police case. According to Anupam, Sajan said that if someone were to file a police case, Google would be forced into revealing the IP address of the owner of the blog and he would be arrested. Sajan said he would then have to file a bail application and get him out, but also cautioned him. “If you’re lucky, you will be out of jail in one day, if you’re unlucky, three days”. Anupam felt that three days was a reasonable risk for the fun that he was having, and continued blogging to a breathless audience!

Aju John is part of the faculty on