Rudespotted: Vikram Raghavan

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George H. Gadbois, Jr., chronicler of 93 Judges of the Supreme Court of India, had this to say once:

“When I first wrote to Justice A N Ray requesting an interview, I included a couple of articles I had published earlier. This enabled him to see that I was rather well-informed about him and the Court. He responded that he would be pleased to spend some time with me. The first half hour was a little tense, but during the last 2 1/2 hours both of us were comfortable and relaxed. It was an excellent interview. Mangos, other snacks, and tea were served, and we enjoyed each other’s company. We stayed in touch over the years. That interview was one of my first, and I regret that I didn’t take up his invitation to return to Calcutta for more conversations.”

The Gadbois Account of the Former Chief Justice of India is nothing short of glorious (pg. 139).

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This is further evidenced by Vikram Raghavan, known previously to hold ‘talks‘ on the issue.

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VR is not merely my senior from college; on his request and insistence, and kind encouragement, I had submitted a write-up for Law and Other Things in October, 2016. A comfortable relationship, surely. And yet, without the slightest hesitation, VR chose to include these two sentences in his latest [Note: Please Read]:

 Widely criticized for pro-government positions, Chief Justice Ray had retired in disgrace.”

In retrospect, Gadbois felt that Ray wasn’t to be trusted.

One need not be reminded of the controversy Senior Advocate Raju Ramchandran sparked [or this, that Legally India published]. Perhaps aware…

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Which transcript will prove to me what ‘Gadbois felt about Ray retrospectively’an insight hitherto unknown, unattended in legal scholarship. Scribbled notes? Tape records? Tape records of speeches are admissible in evidence only when they satisfy high-burden conditions, such as: (a) the voice of the person alleged to be speaking must be duly identified by the maker of the record or by others who knew it & (b) accuracy of what was actually recorded has to be proved by the maker of the record and satisfactory evidence, direct or circumstantial, has to be there so as to rule out possibilities of tampering with the record.

It is famously said in Bollywood, ‘only sex or Shahrukh Khan sells’. Maybe, Don Dawood too. The line between journalism and voyeurism is thin. Ray Sells in the Indian Legal Universe. I understood that early. That an obituary of a good man had to end with unsubstantiated anecdotes would remain the most unfortunate bit of VR’s piece. And frankly, my dear, it mars the relation between two dead men.

Looking out with me over his vegetable garden, Gadbois vividly recalled every single interview he did for the book. “Which was the most memorable one?” I asked. “A.N.Ray,” he promptly replied.”

– Vikram Raghavan, ‘Remembering George Gadbois, American Scholar of the Indian Supreme Court‘, The Wire, 28.02.2017.

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