Raju's Way - A Laughter Therapy: Book Review Of Tales Of Law And Laughter By Raju Z Moray

Areeb Uddin Ahmed

27 Jun 2024 5:33 AM GMT

  • Rajus Way - A Laughter Therapy: Book Review Of Tales Of Law And Laughter By Raju Z Moray

    "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." – Oscar WildeWhen we talk about law, most of the people think that it must be something which the layman won't be able to relate or appreciate much. I recently read 'Tales of Law and Laughter' by Raju Z Moray, who practices law in Mumbai. For more than 30 years he has been a contributor of articles and poems...

    "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." – Oscar Wilde

    When we talk about law, most of the people think that it must be something which the layman won't be able to relate or appreciate much. I recently read 'Tales of Law and Laughter' by Raju Z Moray, who practices law in Mumbai. For more than 30 years he has been a contributor of articles and poems to publications of the Lawyers Collective. This book, bring together 30 anecdotal stories which Moray has written for the Leaflet in the popular known as “Adaalat Antics”.

    An anthology of his humorous writing for 'The Lawyers' magazine was published in 2017 as 'Court Jester' and the series of 60 poems he penned during the 2020 Lockdown for 'The Leaflet' has been published in December 2020 as 'The Locked Down Lawyer'

    The book recollects some of most interesting encounters of Raju's life inside and outside the courtrooms in Bombay. He says that all stories are based on what he has seen, heard and experienced, “But I consciously hold the slipper of truth in a velvet glove of humour so that those who are at the receiving end of my well-deserved "pastings" can do little except curse me!” he adds.

    One must be thinking that courts are more about “date, dismissal or appeal.” but hold on, there's more to it if you read through this interesting book by Morray. The book reflects the real side of practice and it starts with a couplet by Mirza Ghalib, saying “Humko maaloom hain Jannat ki haqeeqat, lekin Dil ke khush rakhne ko “Ghalib” ye khayal accha hain.”

    The book is divided into 30 stories where Raju pens down his experience and experiments with law, most of them gives the readers a deep perspective of how the legal fraternity works. He has also revealed some of the “trade secrets” of litigation like how a clerk can do, what a magician cannot.

    My personal favourite: The magical clerk, Bigmani

    “A very important person in any direct practitioner's life is his registered court clerk. Without this special breed of conjurers' cases can neither be filed nor listed. I was lucky that I got to work with the best and the worst of them.”

    Amongst all the stories in the book, my personal favourite was Chapter V which is titled as “Our Clerk Bigmani.” The story revolves around how one clerk can do wonders, which a magician cannot. In this part of the book, Raju narrates about one of his experiences where he met a clerk named “Mr. Bigmani” who told him that “I have trained twelve judges.”, to which Raju wondered whether Mr. Bigmani lectured at some judicial academy, but then Mr. Bigmani told him that twelve lawyers whose clerk was him (Mr. Bigmani), had made it to the Bombay High Court Bench and one had made it even to the Supreme Court of India.

    Peek-a-boo: A deep insight of what actually happens in and outside courtrooms

    The book does not target a particular audience, so even if you are not a lawyer or you wear long robes on weekdays, you can definitely get an idea about how the legal fraternity works through (with a pinch of laughter).

    As a lawyer, we all have witnessed different shades of adjournment which have been sought from both the parties. In another chapter titled as “Every dog has a day”, Raju narrates an incident from his early days in practice when he was given the “board-watching” job as back then there was not any digitalization of display boards across the High Courts or the Supreme Court.

    A counsel who was arguing a matter noticed three puppies come out suddenly from under the raised dais on which the Hon'ble judge sat. After a while, the mother of those pups, after traversing the back corridor entered the courtroom through the door reserved exclusively for the Hon'ble judges. The arguing counsel's attention was thoroughly distracted by this unanticipated intrusion. The following dialogue between the bar and the bench would demonstrate the incident fluidly:

    Judge: Is there some problem Mr. Counsel?

    Counsel: Milord, the pups are being fed by their mother right here during the working hours of this Court.

    Judge (looking surprised): “So what has that got to do with this matter you are arguing? Don't tell me you want an adjournment on this ground?”

    Counsel: “I am finding it very difficult to focus today milord. Could we take this matter up tomorrow?”

    Judge: That mother is doing her job. The pups are doing thers..and I am doing my job. Why should you be reluctant to do yours?”

    And no adjournment was granted, the hearing continued.

    Justice Irascible

    In another story, titled as the “judicial bully”, Moray talks about a judge who was elevated from the Nagpur bar and his elevation was opposed by many at the Bombay High Court. He decided to name him as “Justice Irascible”. One of the incidents also indicated that Justice Irascible did not like ladies practicing law and he was openly misogynistic at times. In one instance, he had insulted a respected lady lawyer who was not able to present her case, although she tried explaining to the bench that she had some domestic duties at home which had delayed her bit that particular day. Why do you at all come to court? The proper place of women like you is in the kitchen. said Justice Irascible

    “As the lady lawyer did not make an issue of it and as social media was unheard of in those days, Justice Irascible got away with the nasty remark.”

    Interestingly, the same judge was shown his place when a Senior labour lawyer appeared before him in a matter.

    Judge: Is this the way to draft a writ petition?

    Advocate: I am engaged as a counsel. The AoR (Advocate On Record) may have missed something, though I personally find nothing wrong in this petition.

    Judge: That shows your calibre is extremely poor.

    Advocate: That may be your opinion, Milord.

    Judge: Do you not know even the basic concepts of writs? Look at your grounds. Your prayers?

    Advocate: Milord may hear me and then decide?

    Judge: Who gave you a law degree? We must start issuing show cause notices to law colleges and universities which confer such degrees upon people like you.

    Advocate: Milord may hear me?

    Judge: No, answer my question, which University gave you your law degree?

    Advocate: (after a long pause, looking at the judge straight in the eye): Milord, it is the same University which gave you yours.

    That shut Justice Irascible up good and proper and after that he heard the matter and surprisingly, he even granted the relief.

    Error 404: Citation not found:

    We often see lawyers citing numerous cases, preparing compendium, compilation of case laws before the hearing. One such incident that Raju recalls is about a designated senior advocate who was a favourite of the Municipal Corporation as a standing counsel.

    “Despite of his strange way of pronouncing English words, he was very intelligent and effective, but he fibbed a lot, let us call him the Great Fibber.”

    This particular senior advocate was famous for bluffing the court with random or those citations where the point of law was totally different, but when the opposite party asked about the judgment then he would smile and say “please collect the copy from my office in the evening.”

    In this story, Raju recalls a matter where the Great Fibber appeared before a Milord who was a no-nonsense judge, and Raju calls him Justice Strickler. The Great Fibber started arguing his matter and proceeded with his usual argument, saying that “Milord may not waste time with such a frivolous application”, to which the court said that “We will decide if it is frivolous or not.”

    Fibber: Milord, it is squarely covered

    Judge: What is the citation?

    Fibber: Surely Milord is well aware?

    Judge: “Assume I am not aware”

    Fibber: I myself had argued and appeared in the case in the Supreme Court and Milord may take it from that it is well settled.

    Judge: We would have loved to be there to hear you. But now you can argue again over here for our benefit.”

    Fibber: I can show you the judgment and save the precious time.

    Judge: That will be nice, kindly pass the judgment.

    Now, the Great Fibber was in danger and looked down to his junior (like every Senior does when things are going wrong) and said that maybe the law report has been misplaced and sought time for the next day. The judge adjourned the matter and said “just get that one judgment in the case you argued."

    The matter was not argued even on the next day, and a junior informed the bench that Great Fibber was greatly indisposed and the matter may be kept after two weeks.

    “Justice Strickler smiled knowingly and said, assignments are changing after one week, so unfortunately we will miss being enlightened by that judgment.”

    A laughter therapy

    In my personal capacity, I have been a fan of Moray's work, especially the poems he wrote and the way he opts humour to criticize the whole abnormality within the legal framework. This book is slightly different from those poems, this book is more about his personal experiences, which will give you an idea as to how things – used to work in the Bombay corridors.

    As a young lawyer, I would recommend this book to everyone who wants a break from the conventional readings which our profession provides and expects us to read through. Raju's way of writing is something which targets even the most complicated issues but with such fine humour, as we are in times when humour is a type of dissent against unjust practices across society and even across the courtrooms. As George Orwell rightly said "every joke is a tiny revolution."

    In conclusion, "Tales of Law and Laughter" by Raju Z. Moray is a delightful and insightful collection that masterfully captures the humorous side of real-life courtroom dramas. Moray's adept storytelling and keen sense of humour bring to life the idiosyncrasies of the legal world, making it accessible and entertaining for both legal professionals and lay readers. His ability to find and highlight the humour in legal proceedings is not only refreshing but also serves as a much-needed reminder that even in a profession as serious as law, there is always room for laughter. I wholeheartedly commend the author for his remarkable effort in penning down these anecdotes with such wit and charm. I eagerly encourage him to continue writing more of these engaging stories, as a touch of humour is indeed the best medicine for all lawyers like myself.

    Author is an Advocate practising at the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench. He writes on law

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