29 October, 2020

Cross The Bar

Accounts like this are not only rare but essential. We need to know this seamy side of the law—first as anecdotal farce; then as discordant tragedy.

Cross The Bar

There is so much of law that is not in law reports. Even legal jokes, as Marc Galanter points out in Lowering the Bar, were used by the American right to denigrate law, lawyers and litigation. In this reprint of Vachha’s delightful judicial history of British Bombay, idiosyncratic judges and eminent lawyers come alive, starting from the “frigid, morose and taciturn” chief justice Saussee the Silent, who presided sombrely over his Britannic Majesty’s proud new creation.

With the Golden Jubilee of 1912 came the sedate and austere chief justice Scott. Nanabhai Haridas was the first permanent Indian judge—having acted as a temporary judge nine times between 1873-84—followed by stalwarts like T. Kashinath Telang, Mahadeo Govind Ranade, Badruddin Tyabji, Sir Narayan Chandavarkar, Sir Dinshaw Davar, Sir Sajba Rangnekar and Sir Harilal Kania, once a temporary chief justice of Bombay who later became the first chief justice of India. It is only after Independence that an Indian became chief justice....



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