WHEN SMA KAZMI was appointed the Advocate General by the State Government recently, he created a record of sorts.
First, he became the first Muslim Advocate-General of UP, the youngest at that and perhaps, the only one who rose from Additional Chief Standing Counsel, Chief Standing Counsel, Additional Advocate General to Advocate-General in a span of about an year.
“The present State Government has taken an exceptionally bold decision of appointing a person from the minority community as the Advocate General. I guess, this should become a trendsetter and I feel that I now have the additional responsibility of living up to the expectations of both the people and the government,” he says.
But, probably what makes SMA Kazmi truly unique is the fact that he is the only lawyer who has got judgements in his favour without making the usual longish speeches replete with legal jargon. He won several cases by quoting couplets!
“There was this case where a party which had got an interim relief later found that there were some problems because of the relief that was granted to them and later appealed against the relief. It was then that I said, ‘Halaat na badle toh isi baat pe rona aaya, badle toh badalte huey halaat pe rona aaya’. The honourable judge agreed with me,” he recalled while talking to HT WE. There was another incident wheb a District Inspector of Schools (DIOS) was held for contempt. Though the DIOS had hired a private counsel, still some people urged SMA Kazmi who was the Chief Standing Counsel then, to speak on behalf of the beleagured DIOS.
“The argument was that since I was representing the government and the DIOS too, was a government servant, hence I should plead on his behalf. After several people requested me, I agreed reluctantly. When I appeared before the honourable judge and started speaking in DIOS’ defence, the judge asked me why was I pleading his case. I replied, ‘Yeh bojh toh main sar pe utha bhi nahi sakta, par raste mein issey chorh ke ja bhi nahi sakta’. Again, the judge agreed and allowed me,” he says.
This correspondent got a chance to spend sometime with SMA Kazmi and was treated with the choicest of Urdu couplets.
“The love for poetry, debate etc was there with me since childhood. During my stay at Christchurch College, Kanpur I won number of prizes in debate etc,” he says while trying to explain how he manages to recollect the laws, orders, precedents and case histories with the same authority with which he reels off one brilliant couplet after another. General secretary of Progressive Writers’ Association, chairman of various literary and social clubs, associated with the Firaq-Josh Akademi, the Iqbal Akademi among others, SMA Kazmi was instrumental in setting up the SAMVAD group in Allahabad High Court.
“Of the four persons who set it up, two have become judges while one has become the advocate general. Now, the group has about 33 lawyers. SAMVAD is an action group of lawyers where we discuss those things that we cannot discuss in the court. After my elevation as advocate general, this group was the first to felicitate me,” he says.
And yes, unlike several people who become lawyers by default, for SMA Kazmi, becoming a lawyer was purely by design. “That’s what I always wanted to become. A lawyer is a combination of a statesman, salesman, diplomat, administrator, scholar, orator and a sportsman. Each and every quality is important if one wants to become a successful lawyer. As a salesman you get clients, as a statesman you decide, as a diplomat you function, as an administrator you manage your men and affairs and office, as an orator you present facts before the court and as a sportsman you take the rough with the smooth in your stride,” he says.
Yes, yet another unique quality of this latest occupant of 1, Kalidas Marg is his hospitality. If you enter the gates and get an audience with him, you cannot return without having a cup of tea at least.
“These are basic courtesies that one must follow anyway,” he says modestly.