Remembering S M A Kazmi: My Mentor In The Field Of Law ( A Tribute )

Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi: A Perfect Lawyer

Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi: A Perfect Lawyer

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

    ( Thomas Gray In ‘Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard’ )

When I was in school days these lines by poet Thomas Gray left an indelible impression on my mind’s landscape. I always wondered about its real purport. Now very recently when I heard about the tragic death of Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi, senior lawyer, Allahabad High Court, in a fatal road accident it not only left me in a state of deep shock but also made me realize the true purport of lines penned by Gray. In this world the only reality is death! Rest is illusion which looks real enough to keep humans trapped in life’s drama!

I met S M A Kazmi very shortly after Allahabad University granted me a law degree in year 2002. Although I was not pretty interested in getting enrolled as a lawyer at Allahabad High Court in prime of my life, I had to give way to destiny’s will of becoming part of Allahabad High Court- a High Court having a glorious legacy of delivering path-breaking judgements on par with global standards! I was fortunate that one of my childhood friends, Sampanna Kumar Srivastava, also a lawyer, and in those days a student  leader associated with Communist Party, introduced me to Mr Kazmi in his chamber. I had by then carved a niche for myself in the world of media as a freelancer. Mr. Kazmi was a lawyer with a difference. He was a good orator besides being a  good writer who enjoyed organizing literary gatherings. So he was quite happy in finding someone like me having similar mental orientations akin to his literary bent of mind.

In very short span of time I became one of his favourite juniors. I loved his penchant for perfectionism. His aggressive mannerism really threatened others but on me it had little impact. Like him I believed in working hard and, therefore, rarely felt short of his expectations. And that did not provide enough space to Mr. Kazmi to direct his anger towards me. He always believed that if one wishes to emerge as a good lawyer at High Court level then one must be ready to read enough besides being good at interpretation! It’s really saddening that emerging lawyers are merely interested in attaining riches than attaining right skills! As a result of that most of the lawyers fail to attain great heights in real sense!

That was not the case with Mr. Kazmi. He came from a teacher’s family with no previous legal history in his family. However, his legal journey which began in early 80s saw all glorious episodes which any lawyer wishes in his/her career. In prime of his age he became Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh, and later became politically active which yielded him ministerial birth. Every successful person has many adversaries in form of friends! He too had many such friends who said good words in his front but despised him at his back being always loaded with set of conspiracies. He warned me that I should not waste my energy in forming counter-strategies to negate such vicious network! The best way to defeat negative souls in your profession is to keep doing exceptional work. That sort of attitude demoralizes negative souls! At this point I come to remember words of Indira Gandhi that there are many who wish to take credit in aftermath of any successful endeavour, but competition is less when it comes to do some original work!

Mr. S.M.A Kazmi: Attained Glorious Heights in Advocacy Very Soon!

Mr. S.M.A Kazmi: Attained Glorious Heights in Advocacy Very Soon!

Anyway, relationship between juniors and seniors has plummeted to all-time low. However, the juniors associated with Mr. Kazmi had better experiences and not bitter experiences. The ones who worked hard always managed to strike a favourable chord with both his personal and professional life. He did not believe in carrying aura of bossism but ensured that his leniency does not get misused. I must admit that he helped me financially besides making me in tune with various shades of advocacy. His chamber was not a dull place! Besides dealing with complex cases, the young lawyers also got introduced with lifestyle mired in royalty. The weekends were reserved for having a good time at some famous restaurant. He believed in spending money with people around instead of using the money to ensure petty personal gains. That’s why he was sincerely involved with several charitable trusts operating in Allahabad.

He was not happy with my decision to distance from legal profession for he was quite satisfied with my progress. He saw in me the rare attributes which had now gone missing. That’s why he lamented that people who should be really part of legal institutions are the ones engaged in different profession and the ones who are not supposed to be lawyers are the ones dominating the show at various legal institutions! Legal profession is now in grip of mediocre minds! He understood my temperament well, and, therefore, did not compel me to remain engaged in active advocacy. However, I did not wish to hurt his sentiments and, therefore, to honour his sentiments I remained part of Allahabad High Court via my legal reporting! I assured him that great values I intercepted at his chamber would always stay with me for rest of the life.

Indeed, right now when his death has left me in deep pain, side-by-side there exists a deep sense of satisfaction encircled by great mental peace within! I added a new dimensions in the values I inherited at his chamber. Happily, my friends never forgot that I was one of the juniors of Mr Kazmi! Their remembrance of my association with Mr Kazmi keeps me in right state of mind, enabling me to pursue different legal tasks with greater concentration and greater degree of perfection. Mr Kazmi believed that hard work never goes in vain and that has ensured I remain above short cuts to attain success! Yes, he had many flaw in his personality, like any soul trapped in earthly life,  but the greater truth is that they took a backseat when contrasted against his noble virtues!  His soul might have ascended to higher world, but for mine eyes he would always remain as real as any living person! May his soul rest in peace!


Alllahabad High Court: A Glorious Legacy!

Alllahabad High Court: A Glorious Legacy!

Pic Credit:

Pic One

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Pic Three

4 responses

  1. Many thanks to these people who made their presence felt on this post quite early:

    Vidya Bhushan Pandey, Special Prosecution Officer, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh; Mayank, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh; Manglam Kishan, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh; Shahabuddin Mohammed, Ernakulam, Kerala; Rekha Pandey, Mumbai; Sandeep Pandit, Etawah, Uttar Pradesh and Deewaker Pandey, New Delhi.

  2. Yogesh Saxena, Senior Supreme Court Lawyer, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, said:

    Mr. Arvind Kumar Pandey, since you are a freelancer journalist now, quite unaware about the true faces hidden behind the mask. You have paid a rich tribute to him encircling talent of Mr. S. M. A. Kazmi. I have an entirely different perception about him. Probably, No one could have been so opportunist as Mr. S. M. A. Kazmi, rising from the level of Chief Standing Counsel risen to the Advocate General. The Politicians like Shiv Pal Singh intermingled the highest office on account of his intervention for starting the MINING business of the CRUSHER plants on the basis of Conscience developed amongst 5 Principle Secretary. The objections raised by Divisional Forest Officer Obra affirmed by Additional District Judge Obra in Smt. Piyari Devi case, decided by Division Bench in Special Appeal, coupled with Bhaiso Singh Case decided by Bench of Justice R,. K. Agrawal Division Bench, which was followed in another Special Appeal. However, the Single Judge Justice Vineet Saran in VED PRAKASH GARG and 36 others case, based upon the Statement of ADVOCATE GENERAL, led to quashing of earlier division bench judgement and that opened a new chapter of derogation of the institution in the State of utter Pradesh.

    The other aspect was in respect of the case of an institution and the Principal representation, where the matter was relegated to the Minority Commission on the insistent of Justice Justice Dr. B.S. Chauhan. Mr. S.M. A. Kazmi got the Institution of AZAMGARH an INTERMEDIATE COLLEGE declared as Minority institution.

    I had retaliated when I as the Member of Ganga Pollution Committee Member inspected JAJAMAU Kanpur Nagar Area, which was reeling under inhuman conditions due to pollution. However, Mr. S. M. A. Kazmi made the false statement and then I hailed his false statement as derogatory and unfit for someone enjoying a reputed post like Advocate General. Even Chief Justice Sri A. N. Ray expressed his displeasure about his remark and as many other advocates also condemned his opportunism.

    Approach of some of the Lawyers, which does not carve out any Image other than sabotaging the image of the Institution where Politician interference is eroding the foundation of the Democratic Institution. Opportunistic tendencies rule the roost. Simply to emerge as Standing Counsels, 20 to 15 in every Court, wasting exchequers’ money, since out of 20 only 2 to 4 Advocates are having capacity to sit inside courts. They enjoy a decent salary 60,000/ every month and same is the position of Additional Government Advocates in Criminal Side.

    Sri Arvind K Pandey is requested not to high light such events for his personal glorification. TRUTH WILL NOT MAKE YOU RICH BUT WILL PROVIDE YOU BLISS AND WISDOM FOR NATION.


    Author’s Response:

    I have taken note of your observations with high degree of seriousness. I do not wish to refute your observations since you are more close to the reality in this regard than a distance observer like me. However, I have already made it clear in my post ( which you probably did not read) that he had many flaws in his personality. I did not mention them in my post as candidly as you have done in your comment since I was paying rich tribute to a person who is no more between us to defend his views! That’s why I did not have a critical review of his achievements. Above all, being his junior, the prime task was to highlight his positive aspects, and not his wrong side and that too at such an hour!

    By the way, I knew he campaigned against Ram Janmabhoomi judgement. Obviously, as conscious human being, I cannot align with anybody trashing the glory of Shri Rama! So I hope you do understand that as a junior I have high regard for him, but when I have a look at him from conscious mind, I do not find any reason to identify with him…

    1. I was once told that after the demise of an individual one should not speak I’ll about him as he is not there to defend himself… probably the person making this comment was not brought up by a mother who taught him this…
      secondly it pains to read falsehood about someone who was always very well known as a person who would sacrifice anything for truth and integrity and always stood up for the high morals of the institution…
      as far as the examples mentioned about the deceased are concerned…
      firstly it’s unclear whether you are dissatisfied with the judge or the judgment…as far as advocate is concerned he did his job and did it well…now here I’ll give you a shocker during Ved Prakash judgment Mr Kazmi was not advocate general referred in the judgment is not mr. Kazmi
      secondly… as far as granting minority status is concerned… how can an advocate general grant such status… lol…you can check it up with Justice B S Chauhan if u want ….
      thirdly again justice A N Ray always spoke very high for Mr Kazmi … he simply use to adore him … now again u have spoken untruth about somebody who can’t answer this as Justice Ray has also passed away last month ….
      I remember Mr Kazmi as somebody who worked with deligence and competence all under unchallenged and uncompromising integrity….
      by the way he did not rise from Chief Standing Counsel to AG … he rose up from nowhere since 1981 when he came to Allahabad and reached the highest pinnacle of success by becoming the youngest Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh …
      he earned many jealous companion like the commenter who could achieve nothing in life but shallowness…
      the base of falsehood… comment maker calls himself a senior advocate… probably he’s unaware of what senior advocate means according to law…so my sincere advice to him … all this gimmick won’t take you anywhere
      hail Mr Kazmi and may the legendary soul Rest in Peace

      1. @ Suresh Yadav ji…..

        Thanks for this brilliant rejoinder…It brings more clarity in the issue at hand…..I have worked with Mr Kazmi and so I knew more about him than ones who got an opportunity to know him simply as their colleague!!

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