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July, 2011:

Per Se, this is sub judice

The residential apartment complex that I live in has been declared by the court to be illegal for having been built on a land earmarked for —- this is why I am a big fan of our judicial system —- ‘residential purposes’.

No need to read the previous sentence again. There is no confusion or error there.

As per records, the several hectares of ground that our complex is housed on in the crowded heart of Chennai city fall under ‘village lands’ that, according to the rules, ‘are meant for residences and not for any commercial activity’.

So there you have it. The construction company had the rights (and was provided the permits) to build the hundreds of flats, swimming pool, gym and other facilities, but was not authorised to sell them because that would have made it a ‘commercial transaction’.

In essence, the rules are saying what I have always felt (and dreamt): The builder should have just gifted the flats to us. Didn’t I tell you our judicial system is always behind the underdogs!

Also, in the way the case has unravelled, we have come to realise a deep scientific truth: Doctors are wrong to think that individuals alone are prone to psychological disorder. Government departments too seem susceptible.

For, the Corporation explicitly gave all the permits required for building our complex. Later, the same Corporation went to the court saying that the permit given by it (the Corporation) was erroneous.

Also, despite seeking the court to declare our building to illegal, the Corporation has been collecting taxes for the same building from us.

This kind of conflicting positioning is possible only in the case of A) Manmohan Singh B) Those suffering from a case of terminal Split Personality Syndrome.

I can imagine what the Court would have said. ‘We hereby order the Corporation to undergo an MRI test and scan, and file the report within the next 15 days’.

Anyway, our lawyers say that we have no one to blame and we should have read clearly the legal documents that were with us.

Sheesh! This is where the rub lives. Because legal papers, written with the explicit of purpose of not confusing anyone at any point, are stretched so much that they stop making any sense to anyone at any point.

Let me explain: If your name is, say, Ramesh, and if you have problem with a person named, say, Suresh, and if you choose to go to the court with the problem, for some reason that is still a mystery to humanity, you will be referred to in the affidavit as the ‘party of the first part’ while Suresh will answer to the convenient appellation of ‘party of the second part’.  In legal circles, you need 10 pages just to mention your postal address.

And then there are those Latin terms.

In the Tamil film Guna, in the song Kanmani Anbodu…, Kamal exhorts his lover (who is asked to pen an imaginary letter to herself) to intersperse the writing with words of affection. ‘Neduvulla, Maane, Thene, Ponmaane athellam pottukanum…’

Lawyers are mandated to maintain a strict adherence to Kamal’s Guna logic. In that they have to speck their lines with obscure foreign phrases that dictionaries themselves don’t feature anymore.

‘The party of the first part is constrained to point out that, ipso facto, is something that is not binding, pari passu, and causing willful damages, nolens volens, that are the sine qua non which is a mea culpa as it is a fait accompli‘. I accept that the previous sentence makes no sense whatsoever. But neither does any lawyer’s brief.

It is because of these expressions that many chose the science stream and eventually became scientists to develop the cell phone and invent sms-style terminologies that are at the other end of language assassination.

Habeas Corpus. Writ of Mandamus. Amicus Curiae. These are other words that the courts are extremely fond of. Probably they stand for some X-rated in-joke that the courts like to hear ad nauseam.

Little wonder that courts have built a backlog of cases that date back to the time when Gandhi was not even practising in the Bar.

The court also perhaps does not have any great impression of the lawyers, and that is why they are asked to produce seeming impositions of whatever they submit to the court. Every application is made in triplicate or even more and every challan is in exponential numbers so that at least 100 square kilometres of Amazon forest is cleared to keep up with the paper needs of the courts.

Don’t make a copy in triplicates of this column and forward to your friends, who shall henceforth be called party of the eighth part, as it is quod erat demonstrandum of defamation.

PS: As far as our building goes, our stated legal position now is: Que sera, sera.