India | Feb 2009

In February of 2009 our group of 26 Delegates traveled to India as a legal delegation of People To People Ambassador Programs. We met with the leading lawyers and judges in India. We learned much from our India counterparts and we feel they, likewise, learned from us. In the end, it was a successful international exchange, which brought the two legal communities closer together.

We visited with the Chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi and with the Chief Justice and other Judges of one of the 21 High Courts, also in New Delhi. The delegates will always remember meeting with these honorable Judges, as we will always remember sitting for a portion of an argument before the Supreme Court of India. It was like going back in time through a British system eyeglass, but it was unmistakable that justice was on the march. Although the Journal touches on the evening with noted Indian legend Ram Jethmalani, it cannot begin to describe the wonderful evening and party given on our behalf by our Indian colleagues. Some of us felt like we were going back in time when we spoke with some, like Ram, who had known Gandhi.

Many thanks go to Lalit Bhasin, Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, who set up many of our meetings and opened the doors to the elite in the Indian legal society.

What we found in the most populous democracy in the world is that there are many similarities between the two legal and political systems. Like the United States, India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks is also struggling with issues regarding terrorism and how to respond to it both practically and legally. Like the United States, it has a President, which is the official head of the government and a bicameral Parliament consisting of an upper house and a lower house. What many of us did not know was that India has one of the oldest legal systems in the world, with its laws and jurisprudence stretching back for centuries and that it has almost as many lawyers as we do in America.

Our delegates will always remember the lawyers and people that we met during our time in India. In a small way, we began to understand what our colleagues in that country were going through. Perhaps by reading this Journal you will, in a small way, begin to understand what we experienced between the dates of February 29-March 8, 2009.

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