Daily Post 1513


Acumen means keen insight or shrewdness or at times is the synthesis of the two. Legal acumen as a word or terminology is non-existent in dictionary or even in legal lexicon. The strange part is that if you talk to any average professional, how would not only understand it’s meaning but also the full implication of it, as it stands in the Indian context. It is operationally your capability to use the law to your advantage, right or wrong is not the issue. It is outright shrewdness in the garb of law. Bring it down to the interpretation of the legal word and contradictory technicalities to gain advantage or power or to save oneself from punishment or disgrace while being on the wrong side of the law.

Keen insight is what the top lawyers have played with and that is the acumen which has kept them in good stead and made their legal practice grow stronger with the passage of time. This means an objective and deep understanding of the law and its practice and using it to the advantage of the client. Might be over a period of time, this itself was not enough. It is common knowledge today, that there is something called shrewdness which is at times put under the garb of practicality, which comes into play in the big way. This is a general strand of discussion which the lawyers have with their clients.

While the play of legal acumen in its own ecosystem is only one part of the story, most distressing is open display of legal acumen, by people who have no idea of law. Its crazy the way people who have some position in life and have influence in the public domain, automatically don the mantle of a legal luminary. There are anchors who teach nuances of law to seasoned lawyers. Some others claim that they know law better than anybody else. The politicians legal acumen is on display in every nook and cranny every day. We have seen couple of videos of that genre. Once elected they are anyway the law makers of the nation.

Social media has been been a leveller in large number of areas and this is no exception. Recent contempt of court escapades have provided them the right to display this legal acumen. Not that earlier brushes with the law went on unnoticed, its the tirades in the recent past and the current one that has elevated them to a level, where they have started believing that they have legal acumen. This is reflected in their sharp and incisive comments on purely legal issues. They also feel that they should act the custodians of law, while expressing in this manner, in public interest. There is nothing called matured democracy, it is an ongoing process. Maturity has a context.


Sanjay Sahay

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