The inaugural edition of the NLUJ-NHRC Moot Court Competition was held from October 6 to 8, 2023 at the prestigious National Law University, Jodhpur. This event was organized by the Moot Court Committee of NLU Jodhpur in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and featured 22 teams representing renowned law schools from across the country. The event was conducted in partnership with our knowledge partners, SCC Online and Eastern Book Company.The Moot Proposition focused on the critical theme of digital privacy, the public responsibilities of major internet corporations such as Google and Facebook, and the distinctions between an honourable acquittal and acquittal based on technicalities in cases of due process violations.
The inaugural ceremony of the Competition commenced with the presence of esteemed dignitaries. The event was inaugurated by the chief guest, Mr. Rajiv Jain, Hon’ble Member, NHRC, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Harpreet Kaur, Dean,Faculty of Law, Prof. (Dr.) I.P. Massey and Mr. Siddharth Balani, Faculty Chairperson, Moot Court Committee. Subsequently, Ms. Akshita Saxena, Convenor of the Moot Court Committee, delivered the introductory speech. Following the inaugural ceremony, a training session on SCC was conducted. Mr. Hemang Mankar, the SCC Campus Ambassador of NLUJ and a senior member of the Moot Court Committee, facilitated this session. Following this, the briefing session for the Judges was conducted wherein the Judges were equipped with a comprehensive bench memorial as well as a summarized version of the memorials to ensure a thorough understanding of the Proposition.
PRELIMINARY AND REVERSE PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
The Preliminary Rounds of the competition ensued with active involvement from the Judges, who diligently analysed the arguments presented by the participating counsels. Engaging in interactive discussions, the Judges posed pertinent questions to the participants. After an intense and intellectually stimulating session of mooting, the participating teams also submitted their rebuttals and sur-rebuttals. This was followed by the Reverse Preliminary Rounds wherein each participating team assumed the challenge of presenting arguments for the opposing side of the case. This practice ensured fairness and maintained an equal footing for all participants, adding an additional layer of depth and complexity to the competition.
After the Judges' briefing and the setup of the courtrooms, the Quarter-Final rounds took place. Four teams successfully advanced to the Semi-Final rounds, namely, the University Institute of Legal Studies, Chandigarh; Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai; Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab and Symbiosis Law School, Noida.
Court Room 1: The University Institute of Legal Studies, Chandigarh and Symbiosis Law School, Noida engaged in a rigorous exchange of arguments before a panel of learned judges comprising Mr. Ankit Swarup, Ms. Shreya Munoth, and Mr. Vivek Mathur. The teams divided the issues among themselves, presenting impressive and thoroughly researched arguments. The bench posed a series of probing questions to the counsels, who responded with confidence and acumen. The round culminated in a session of rebuttals and sur-rebuttals, with both teams demonstrating a profound grasp of the subject matter and legal principles.
Court Room 2: In Court Room 2, an atmosphere charged with anticipation prevailed as Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai, and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, readied themselves for their respective round. The panel of judges, comprised of Mr. Siddharth Acharya, Mr. Deepesh Beniwal, and Mr. Akshay Surana, attentively heard the arguments presented by both teams. The team presented compelling, well-articulated arguments that captivated the judges. The bench actively engaged in the discussion, posing numerous pertinent questions towhich, the counsels responded with confidence and finesse. The results were declared and Symbiosis Law School, Noida and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab qualified for the finals.
The Final Rounds of the competition featured a face-off between Symbiosis Law School, Noida and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab. The esteemed bench for the Final Rounds comprisedJudges from the Rajasthan High Court: Hon’ble Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur, Hon’ble Justice Dr. Pushpendra Singh Bhati, and Hon’ble Justice Dr. Nupur Bhati.
Symbiosis Law School, Noida, commenced the final rounds by presenting their arguments as the petitioners. Their counsels focused on Articles 21 and 19, quoting the landmark judgments of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India and addressing specific clauses from the moot proposition. They argued that the data breach and disclosure of private information were unjustifiable. Subsequently, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, took the floor as the respondents. Their counsel addressed whether denying access to the internet platform constituted a violation of human rights and whether the company in question performed functions akin to those of the state in its sovereign capacity. They further contended that the contract terms were legally binding. This was followed by a session for rebuttals and surrebuttals.
The competition concluded with a closing ceremony and price distribution. The prizes were distributed to the winning teams and participants. Mr. Devendra Kumar Nim, Joint Secretary, NHRC was the Guest of Honour for the closing ceremony. Symbiosis Law School, Noida (SLS Noida) emerged as the winners of the 1st NLUJ-NHRC Moot Court Competition, 2023. The Runners-Up were Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab (RGNUL). The award for Best Memorial was presented to National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR). The award for Best Student Advocate for Preliminary Rounds was given to Mr. Kshitiz Saruparia (NALSAR) and the award for Best Student Advocate of the Finals was given to Mr. Rahul Jain (SLS Noida).