"The art of cross-examination is dead."

"The art of cross-examination is dead."

Speaking about contemporaries at the Bar, senior advocate and former Minister for Law and Justice, Ram Jethmalani said, "Amongst the youngsters, Palkhiwala was one. He was a couple of years senior to me in age but not very much senior to me in the profession because I had started much earlier in life. He was a bit of a prodigy. Others included Mr. Chandrachud -- who went on to become the Chief Justice of India, The Lulla brothers -- one on the civil side and one on the criminal side, and Abdul Rehman". 

Speaking about the Nanavati trial and his induction into criminal law, he said, "I entered criminal law from the very first day of my life in Karachi. I had never speclised in criminal law. A criminal case attracts great public attention, since people get involved in the criminal history of other people. My father was a criminal lawyer, my grandfather was a criminal lawyer. So I have no difficulty in saying that I gravitated to the criminal side right from the beginning and it was in my genes. I did get involved in some very important cases right in the beginning of my career in Bombay. The Mahalakshmi temple dacoity case, the bank dacoity case..." 

"To argue a case before a jury is a much different kettle of fish than arguing before a judge. There your eloquence, oratory, dramatics, understanding of a layman's mind are things you learn from watching great masters. Fortunately, today Indian lawyer does not have to face a jury trial. I believe that the same thing to some extent is a great asset even when you are appearing before a judge. But the heart of success in the legal profession is industry...industry...industry. It is meant for people who work hard." 

"The art of cross-examination is dead. Trials hardly take place; they do not even take place continuously. Trials go on for years and years. Justice does not depend merely on law, it also depends on facts. Unfortunately in this country, people lie a little more than in other countries. You have to extract truth from some very unwilling witnesses. The profession is not in the trim shape as it should be; it is in a very bad shape". 

He also spoke about the conduct of trials in the full glare of the media. "You do not have to isolate yourself from public opinion. Do not be influenced by adverse public criticism. I am also in politics; I cannot be totally insensitive to public opinion. The media is becoming terribly invasive and intrusive. There are cases of miscarriage of justice purely because of press action. In legal theory they say it is the jury that is influenced by media, judges are not. This is a fallacy. The judges are as human as any juror can be. However well trained the judges are, be sure that they are influenced by the press. The media becomes partisan and almost mean and cruel sometimes".

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