11/03/2006

Sagarika Ghose interviews Ram Jethmalani

Check out this interview on CNN-IBN of Ram Jethmalani by Sagarika Ghose. The title of the article is "Raging Jethmalani vows to save Manu, slams media". Firstly, the title is misleading. I would suggest changing it to "Raging Jethmalani forcefully tackles stupid and self-righteous Ghose". Secondly, Jethmalani only wovs to give Manu Sharma a fair trial, not to save him (atleast in this interview).



The interview didn't look good right from the beginning. The first question by Ghose itself was stupid in my opinion. She asks
SG: In defending Manu Sharma, are you in some sense defending or attempting to defend the indefensible?
What bullshit is this ? No one, whether it be Manu Sharma or even Saddam Hussein for that matter is indefensible. This is what differentiates a modern society from stone age trials. Everyone is considered innocent until a fair trial is over and proven guilty. It doesn't matter what the public thinks about the person. No wonder our old man is raged right from the beginning. Her second question is
SG: But sir, aren’t you worried that you are going against the tide of public opinion
IMHO, no lawyer should be worried of going against the tide of public opinion. A lawyer's job is to defend their client. Things would have been so nice if Galileo had a lawyer who was not afraid of going againts public sentiments!

SG: But sir, you have gone against your own family, tide of public opinion, against the citizens of India. The Press is merely reflecting…
Sagarika continues the same stupid question. Jethmalani's answer is the most fitting here. He replies,
RJ: I decide according to my conscience who to defend and please understand and tell those people who are asking this question that there is a statutory rule of the Bar Council of India that a lawyer who refuses to defend a person on the ground that people believe him to be guilty is himself guilty of professional misconduct.
Again, the same question in a different form.
SG: But as a criminal lawyer, don’t you believe there is a lakshman rekha that even all criminal lawyers have to work under?
RJ: Please don’t talk of this bull shit to me. I know what my lakshman rekha’s are.
SG: But what makes you so convinced about the innocence of Manu Sharma?
RJ: I am only convinced that the man is entitled to a fair trial. He is entitled to the services of a good lawyer. Courts will decide and no Pressman, no editor or television will crew will decide.
This question is one more reason why I feel the title is misleading. Jethmalani only wows to give the man a fair trial. Not to prove him innocent by any means. Ghose goes on with her next rant.
SG: But it’s not just the Press. It is your own family, which has said that they don’t want you to take this case.
Yeah right, lawyers should consult their spouses before taking up cases from now on. The next question is really really self righteous.
SG: But why don’t you search your own conscience. A young girl was shot in the presence of a hundred people.
RJ: I am searching my own conscience. All this bullshit won’t convince me at all. My conscience is mine and you are not responsible for it. And I don’t sell my conscience either to you or to anybody else nor will I change my professional etiquette because some chip of a girl comes and tells me that something is wrong.
SG: But why have you decided to take him on as a client?
RJ: I will because it is my right and my duty because you don’t know the duties of a lawyer. You have not read the statutory rules of the Bar Council. You don’t know a word.
I think CNN-IBN should give SG a crash course on how to ask questions to a smart and great lawyer. The media is all welcome to do their own "investigation", but if they start questioning rights of lawyers to defend people, they are bound to get trashed. And Jethmalani did a good job at that.

10 comments:

Dilip said...

Finally I found an analysis I totally agree with. This trial by media thing is getting really ridiculous. Sagarika Ghose doesn't need a crash course, she needs to get out of the anchroing/reporting business. Witness her idiotic encore with Kamini Jaiswal and Mukul Rohtagi on a subsequent interview. She uses Jaiswal's statements to counter Rohtagi (obviously because she cannot hold her own against the country's top minds).

Anonymous said...

Jethmalani is right on media trial of Manu Sharma. Here is my take on it:
http://journojp.blogspot.com/

Narayan Raman said...

I totally agree with what you say. The media should have stopped at getting a trial triggered and not try to pronounce a verdict! Sagarika Ghose was pathetic in that interview, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Ram Jethmalani is not just doing his duty as a lawyer by defending Manu Sharma. He is trashing the media because the press has the guts to show him up as an opportunist. Jethmalani is misleading the court by claiming that the judge has been compromised because one press report said he had been approached by Manu Sharma's family. He does not disclose the fact that the judge was inaccessible to that approach. He is also misleading the court by asking for proof that Manu Sharma was at that party when not only are there hundreds of witnesses who saw him there but Sharma has admitted killing Jessica in a taped confessin. So, of course everyone is entitled to a defense. But, Jethmalani should defend Sharma with honesty and not work out moves to make him an innocent man based on legal technicalities thereby confusing the issue and leaving the court to produce photographic evidence that Sharma was actually there. A clever lawyer he is, but there are some issues where morality and decency are more important than just showing off that you can get a murderer to go scot free because you are smart enough to do it. Not acceptable. Sagarika Ghose is not the issue here. And WHO is Ram Jethmalani to tell how the press should behave?

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Jethmalani appears as a brute, strong,unashamed, amorous professional who has pocketed money and speaks in Devil's tongue. SG has reverence towards his age and repute and unfortunately that weakens her ground. She can't dig out his human soul by reminding him his family, society, ethics and moralities, people and society. Jethmalani is a robo-professional, deprived of human soul....and he only needs people and society when he needs their votes in elections. SG should shed away all sensibilities of an author while handling a lawyer like him. This is not the world of books, it is the time and world of crooks. Time of brokers and fixers. Jethmalani would have been dealt in Karan Thapar's manners.

Bharat said...

Rather than concentrating on portraying Mr. Ram Jetmalani as the Deveil's advocate, the media should be concentrating on the facts of the case and questioning/combating his assertions in court. SG did cross the line wrt how an interview should be done.

Mr. Jethmalani has handled too many high-profile cases, to be fazed by such media criticism. And btw, he does have a point about the media passing out a judegement, which, is not its prerogative. They should limit themselves to bringing out the facts of the case.

IMO, the biggest problem in this case is of witnesses turning hostile, that should be covered in more detail and public opinion should be galvanized against those witnesses and those who forced them to change their statements. On a side note, the perjury sentences for such witnesses should be increased, otherwise, there is no hope in such cases.

Anonymous said...

I am very surprised to see that people are still watching these private channels! I used to watch these channels only for some entertainment news and also to see the beautiful anchors :).For the serious news and analysis, The Hindu news paper is my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Ram Jethmalani is not defending something which is correct. If you can find then have a look at video where Karan Thapar takes his interview (it came 6-7 months back). It was gem of an interview where ramjethmalani reacted in the same manner what he did now but the questions were very intrigue and based on facts and grinding process was very methodical :)
Karan Thapar was just too hot to handle for india's best lawyer.

Ajo Paul said...

Like any accused, Sagarika too deserves a fair trial. Thanks for the analysis.

Ms Sagarika is found Guilty as charged. Many times I have noticed her taking irrational stands on Live TV. Most of the time she puts forth highly charged and biased view points and falsely claiming they are the opinions of the general public, which is not always true. I am for Free press and free media, but if this is definition of the same, India would be better off without and Bill O Reilly..

Anonymous said...

The witnesses in Jessica Lal murder trial gave their testimonies to the police. But in our courts those are not valid. Testimonies in front of a megistrate are accepted and perjury arises only if the witnesses change these testimonies.
Only Bina Ramani and her daughter's testimonies in the high court proved that Manu Sharma was there and he shot Jessica.
All other witnesses the media talks about DIDNOT come forward in the courts to testify or they changed their testomnies given to cops. So no point in keeping on harping on hundreds of witnesses.
Ram Jethmalani is a criminal lawyer he is defending his client legally. The courts have to go by what is presented to them by prosecution, defence and witnesses. Media is questioning his morality.