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Youth Parliament ’16 : The Moot Court

Ishita Pandey |  Staff  Writer

The Moot Court made its debut in this year’s edition of the Youth Parliament by Leaders of Tomorrow. The theme of the Moot court was the 2002 Gujarat Riots: The People versus The State. The proceeding was assumed to be in March, 2009.

The People were represented by the Concerned Citizen Tribunal which comprised Ninaad Rajeev, Amartya Gupta, and Amandeep Singh Kalsi, while the State counsel comprised Upamanyu Bhattacharya, Ishaan Nandkumar, and Rishav Dutta Chowdhury. The proceedings would take place in three rounds, which would include opening statements, a debate, and closing statements followed by the Chair’s verdict.

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In the first round, The Citizen Tribunal stated their motive to prove that the people were not only denied justice but were also instigated by the State to rage against different communities. The State, on the other hand, stated its motive to prove that it did put in the requisite effort to stop the violence and blamed the police and army for their incompetence in dealing with such large mobs. “It’s just bits and pieces of information that have been webbed together to wrongly accuse the State” asserted Rishav Dutta Chowdhury, in the State’s defense.

In the following round, both the counsels debated with full might, and were prepared enough to cross question every point and interpretation. The counsels spoke with impressive authority reflecting their faith in their cause. Despite the authority with which points were being put forward, the debate remained respectful and civil, and none of the debaters attempted to speak over each other. The Director and the Chairpersons of the court maintained the decorum of the debate with impressive poise. From time to time, various updates on the case would be provided by the Chair. The counsels had to be quick in using these updates in the debate to their advantage. The quick witted counsels and their rebuttal of each other’s points made for a very engaging debate.

The counsels presented their closing statements in the final round. The Citizens’ Tribunal highlighted the open human rights violations and killings that took place during the riots emphasizing how the rioters felt empowered by the State’s lawlessness, and vested political interests. It also presented its views on the events preceding the unrest. The State counsel, in its closing statement, denied any guilt on its part and brushed off the allegations as political conspiracy to malign the chief minister. To support its statements, the counsel also pointed out the lack of evidence supporting the prosecution’s case against the State.

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In its final verdict, the Chair announced the Concerned Citizens Tribunal as the winner of the day’s proceedings and also noted that the contest was a close one. “We are organizing Moot Court for the first time in Manipal, and it has been an amazing event. Both the counsels were well prepared and that is what made it all the more interesting” commented Aryaman Vepa, the Director of the Moot Court, who was visibly elated by how the event had panned out.