Senior Advocate K.K. Venugopal, during his felicitation by the Bar Council of India for being appointed as the Attorney General for India, revealed the circumstances in which we decided to take up law as a career.
“Now, I became a lawyer by accident. I failed in my BSc Physics. Keep it a secret, don’t tell anybody,” he chuckled, and further explained, “I was wondering what I should do, when he (his father) had attained a big position at the bar... So he said, why don’t you do law. And at that time I could do law in Belgaum as an Intermediate student, but not a graduate. I completed my law, got enrolled, started practicing.”
During the ceremony, Mr. Venugopal spoke at length about his professional journey so far, calling it a “long and ardous” one, and credited his father and mentor Mr. M.K. Nambiar for whatever he is today.
“…whatever I am today, I owe it to my father, Late Shri M.K. Nambiar. It was Sir Isaac Newton who said, if I had seen further than others, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. To me, my father was a giant, though he was a very humble person, he would not accept that statement if anybody else had said that about him,” he said.
In his address, Mr. Venugopal recalled his first case, which his father had entrusted on him. He said that he had to “protect his self respect”, and so despite not knowing the intricacies of the Kerala land tenure laws, he sat through the night and was able to deliver the next day.
This profession, he therefore concluded, was not about succeeding in cases, but about your preparation and presentation of the cases.
“It’s not in your hands, because so far as the result is concerned, you would find questions being asked which you never anticipated… K.R. Narayanan on the golden jubilee of the Supreme Court of India said I understand that so far as the Courts are concerned, they are not a cathedral but a casino, where the throw of the dice brings about the result. And you could see the shock on the faces of all the Judges who were sitting on the dais… Therefore, so far as we are concerned as lawyers, what we have to do is to prepare our cases to the best of our ability and answer as well as possible,” he said.
Mr. Venugopal also lamented the belief of several lawyers across the country that agitation is the best method of achieving their goals. He recalled the agitation at the Madras High Court, and urged all lawyers to introspect.
“I think we have to have legal education for the lawyers, for the purpose of instilling back the high values which govern the lawyers and the bar.. Once we do that, only then will we regain the confidence of the public and the institution itself will regain the old glory,” he concluded.