This Article is authored by Advocate Anil Malhotra.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Sir Winston Churchill
Penning a magnum opus of the glorious guardian of legal fraternity, a distinguished jurist and the keeper of Eden garden of law, who has taught, practiced and educated law enforcers, is a daunting task. In four parts, Dr. Balram K. Gupta, a legal doyen, describes waltzing with the law for over 6 decades. Married to law, for his family, genetically, law is not a jealous mistress. This indeed is an exceptional family. Late Justice J.L. Gupta, Umbrella of the Family. Son Shireesh, is a bright lawyer, daughter Shruti, erudite law Professor and son-in-law, Justice Jasjit Bedi, youngest on the Bench. Shashi Ma’am, the homemaker, encourages the law indulgences, but the mistress has seeped into the crevices of the Gupta House. Book penned, is an illustration of this. From 1980 onwards, as a fledgling, I have learnt law from him and have inculcated his vibrant energy. His book is curtain raiser in the inner workings and moorings of his legal, ethical and moral compass.
He defected to the legal profession after a ripe tenure of teaching law. He scored centuries in a successful law practice. After 15 years he returned to academics, his first love, and of this, his book speaks. His vivid accounts as a lifelong student and teacher of law in the opening part narrate his elocution of law at global centers aimed to re-imagine law. He discusses his legal innings played with diligence, honesty and respect. Money for him was never a consideration. For him, his impressions reveal that the teacher was more overpowering than the lawyer in him. The book divulges his endeavors at National and Chandigarh Judicial Academies resulting in an overhaul of teaching concepts. He was and continues to be Mozart of law. His name will be enshrined in legal and social studies for time immemorial. And of this, I speak, with authority. As a resource person to the Academies, I have been privy of enlightenment, just like the prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Sparkling Justice Ginsburg till 87, served the US Supreme Court. At 78, our distinguished jurist under Indian Constitution too deserves the Supreme Court Bench, de hors the age bar. Professor, Senior Counsel, Parliamentary Fellow, Judicial Administrator, Rotarian, his commentary narrates a journey down memory lane. He can be best described as a philanthropist. He invested thought which is more valuable than material wealth. Gupta family is a reincarnation of the bygone Medici Family. Guptas have invested in society all in name of progressive and consistent development of law for society. 325 pages are replete with anecdotes and perceptions of justice. Dr. Gupta may never have penned a judgment, but has trained minds to read, learn and write. He has no match in the Indian Academia.
Thanks to him, National and Chandigarh Judicial Academies today are international axis of legal studies and research. His writings reveal sharp insights which make him a leading educator and judicial laureate. His pioneer writings share leaves from lives of legal giants. But I petition. It is he who is the giant. As Google Scholar reads, “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”, Dr. Gupta is the giant on whose shoulders we stand and look over the horizon. His writings on Constitutional and Administrative Law launch readers in a contemporary legal world, captivating till an enticing finish. Reading law was never so pleasurable. I admit so having practiced for 37 years myself. He writes short and crisp sentences. A rarity in law. Calling “Law and literature Siamese twins”, he weaves webs of law. Alive to grim realities perpetuated in a fundamentalist and pandemic driven generation battling constitutional values, his writings are like the pied piper of law.
In Essays remembering Sir Robert Jennings, Professor Vaughan Lowe quotes, “A lawyer without history of literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these he may venture to call himself an architect”. Prof (Dr.) Gupta, like an architect and non-conformist, orchestrates blueprints of judicial education designed to rethink justice in all its hues. As chapters unfold, productive, creative and thought-provoking writings of law reveal that he is still bubbling with judicial energy and can again relive his life. His unparalleled work and thoughts as a legal craftsman require that his book must be read by every law pupil, lawyer, legal commentator and Judge. His words of wisdom in the magnum opus are rich treasures and learning curves for every student of law. The judicial brotherhood and legal community remains beholden to him for his ensemble with law.