The team comprising Karthik Vishwanath, Samyukta Ramaswamy, Shilpa Sangameswaran from National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi have won the fifth edition of RMLNLU-SCC Online Moot Court Competition. Ankit Yadav, Student Ambassador, SCC Online had a candid conversation with the winning team regarding the competition and mooting in general.
Congratulations. So, how did you feel when you came to know that you are the winners of this moot court competition?
We were shocked! We knew that we had a good shot. We have been working on it for quite some time now. We started working in December when we were on our internships. December was general research, and January was structured research. Then, we had a month of oral rounds. We have been breathing sedition, extradition and investment law. So, when you have been working on something for so long, and you actually get it, it takes time to sink in.
Also, we didn’t expect to get into the quarters for some reasons. We thought it was highly dependent on luck, and we didn’t know how other teams had scored. We knew we had one good round. But, we were not sure about winning two rounds and while seeding the teams for the Quarter Final Rounds, first preference was to be given to the teams that have a Win Loss Ratio of 2:0. So, we were not sure.
How was the competition in terms of judging quality, organisation and hospitality?
The judges were really good; they knew their stuff.
We love the university. The only problem with RMLNLU are the long roads. I had to go to the Girl’s Hostel, then to the Boy’s Hostel, then to the Library, then again to the Boy’s Hostel.
In terms of hospitality, our experience was amazing. We loved our ushers. They were the best ushers in the world: Etisha and Abhilash. We are really pleased that we came to this moot, because one, we won this moot, and secondly because you guys are really hospitable. You guys really know how to take care of your guests.
How well was the moot problem framed?
So, the facts were silent on most things. But, I guess, that you kind of need that. Because, it kind of balances out both sides, and you can argue from both ends. Although, when you are researching you will always think that one side is stronger, but you realise that it’s balanced when you finally get to the speaking rounds, or you do practice with someone.
Prima facie, the problem was purely media and investment law. But, when we went in depths, it involved a lot of question of international law. And, I think, the problem was well drafted in the sense that there was no box to think inside of, because, they have removed the box, they have already put you out of the box. For example, the issue relating to extradition, we still don’t have solid answers. There are still questions that are unanswered.
Any past mooting experiences? Or any future plans?
Karthik: It was my third moot and my second achievement. I have also been runner-up at the International Banking and Investment Law Moot, organised by Seedling Law School. In the future, I would definitely want to pursue something in International law, which can be a moot.
Samyukta: It’s our first win, mine and Shilpa’s. Also, I had tried for Jessup last year. So, I probably would be preparing again for Jessup.
Shilpa: Here, we had argued before the International Court of Justice, so I might go for International Criminal Court moot next year.
Any advice to budding mooters?
Karthik: I think we have very conflicting opinions, Samyukta and I. When I go for a round, I argue like it’s my last round, with the idea that probably I’m going to be knocked out, because after that everything is essentially a knock-out round. You either make it or you don’t make it. There are no two ways about it. For me, that’s the driving force. So, if I argue thinking that this is going to be my last round and I need to put my best foot forward so that I don’t regret it later that I could have done better.
So, let’s hear the conflicting opinion?
Samyukta: As I said, I invested a lot of time. So, I’m like, I have spent so much time when I could have done some fun stuff, so it should get me something.
So, where is the conflict?
Shilpa: Actually, after every round, Karthik is like, ‘this is it, guys, we are not going to make it. We gave our best.’
There is this widespread belief in the mooting arena that oralists get all the limelight, and the researcher gets nothing. Did this belief cause any troubles with your team?
Shilpa: Actually, it never did, even when they didn’t have a researcher’s test.
Karthik: Researcher is very important. She gave us zero tension when it came to oral rounds. She used to take down our questions. We had one onus as speakers, that is to concentrate on our speeches. And, whatever questions we had, she used to address them. She used to help us some way or the other. I think it helps a lot. Because otherwise, speakers have to do the research and focus on the speech at the same time.
Samyukta: Also, she noted facts of all the cases that we were relying upon, trick questions, loopholes, etc.
Shilpa: They didn’t treat me like a mere researcher. They were never like, ‘you’re the researcher, so you will do all the clerical work in the memorial.’
Karthik: Except for citations. Don’t put that in the interview. (Sorry, Karthik.)
Samyukta and Shilpa: He bribed us with cupcakes for fixing the citations.
This sounds like a great team! How important do you think chemistry is in a moot team?
Karthik: We get along. We are comfortable with each other. Chemistry is important because when you work for a moot, you work together for months. A lot of times Samyukta and I lost at each other, but this one (pointing at Shilpa) was always smiling and patching things up. So, it’s really important to have the rapport.
Any one-liner regarding mooting?
Karthik: If you’re doing a moot, do it for the rush, the money, the city and of course, for the law.
Do you use SCC Online?
Yes, it’s a very useful tool.
Wait, you can be frank with me. Don’t praise it just because I’m their student ambassador.
Okay, to be honest, we use SCCOnline only during the internships. It’s a useful tool.
But, mostly we use Manupatra. Because seniors use it, and when Manupatra gets my work done, why bother learning something new?
So you wouldn’t have heard of SCCOnline Blog either?
Karthik: Actually, I have read the blog. I was searching for few documents, and it popped up in Google results. Haven’t used it much, to be honest. I guess, mostly, it’s lack of exposure, I think SCC shall try to reach out to people.
This is going to be on the blog. So, do visit it sometimes.
Thanks for your time. It was nice talking to you. Congratulations once again.