The batch of 2025, being special owing to the year which brought the whole world to a standstill, were formally told about the much anticipated “Novices” during their orientation. “Novices” became the one word we heard repetitively from every nook and corner (of our screens). Little did we know, this event was going to set the ball rolling for us to become ‘experts’ at the craziest of things via the messiah of 2020, Google Meet.
It all started with the Moot Court Society, (MCS), asking us to join the erstwhile ‘Novices 2020’ WhatsApp group on the 3rd of November. Alas, we, the youngest of AILiens did not have the privilege to meet our seniors in college and could interact with our guides only virtually. We were clueless as to how to start, what to refer to, how to go about drafting and did not even know exactly what the concept of mooting was. This is where the MCS stepped in.
The MCS, having decided to teach their juniors everything in their capacity, took out hours from their already hectic schedules and taught us all- from the basics of drafting (MS Word, dear friend, we never knew this form of yours), researching on SCC Online, drafting memorials (and explaining what they were) and delivering our oral submissions. We were paired up with our batchmates after a draw of lots. Post days of constant efforts, both from our seniors and us, we finally got to work with a basic idea of how to go about things.
We spent hours in front of our screens (we hate them too now, mums!), looking up case laws, contacting our teammates from hundreds of miles away, drafting our memorials and trying to figure out why our footnotes were revolting against our reasonable requests to them to stay where they were. Also, juggling classes after months of being dormant bears at home, we found ourselves slightly overwhelmed sometimes. Even at this stage, with little to no in-person interaction, our seniors at the MCS, Aafreen ma’am and Rajesh sir, listened to us vent out and showed the highest levels of patience and understanding, for this and for all that they have done for us, they have our immeasurable respect. Our teachers cooperated and shifted our project submissions for after the D-day (of memorial and pre-recorded video submissions).
The whole batch was immersed in their own little world of mooting. Everyone was referring to e-libraries, to each other, to online databases. Everybody gave it their best [we hope the memorials know they are not just paper and ink, but blood, sweat (anxiety) and tears (eye strain)] in the days leading up to the 25th November deadline
From fumbling while recording our oral submissions to falling back on our seniors via text at the oddest of hours, we have done it all. All this did pay off though, when, as the clock struck 12 at midnight, the batch turned in their videos and memorials and handed over to Google Drive, the result of days of research and drafting
On the 27th of November, the eight teams who qualified for the quarterfinals were announced. The quarterfinals were held on the 2nd of December and the quarterfinalists were subjected to intense scrutiny from our teachers and seniors who formed the daunting bench. After a very close competition, four teams advanced to the semi-finals, which were held on the same day and were witnessed by the entire batch. The teams who couldn’t qualify the preliminary rounds learnt a lot from seeing our batchmates argue before the bench, present their arguments and justify their contentions.
The penultimate day was a Thursday, the 3rd of December when the two best teams faced off for the prestigious title of ‘Novices champions’! We were cheering on for our batchmates in a virtual courtroom presided over by the mercurial bench consisting of Dr. Bajirao A. Rajwade, Ms. Bani Mahajan and Mr. Shvetanshu Goel. Both the teams displayed immaculate argumentative skills, out-of-the-box thinking and impeccable court mannerism (they left the Hon’ble bench astounded with their bows and prayer etiquette, in particular). After a cut-throat competition, Tanvi Garg and Kanishka Chopra were declared the best team and emerged as the Novices 2020 Champions along with having the Best Memorial. Simran Singh Rathi and Kriti Bajpai were adjudged Runners Up for the event and Ranjul Malik was declared the Best Student Advocate. The prize for the Best Pre-recorded video went to Manvi Panwar and Neelam.
The Novices Moot Court competition served as a vessel for the batch to enter the folds of the distinguished legal career. Some of us won, some quite not, but all of us did do one thing: we learnt. Everything that we have learnt in these few weeks will serve as the foundation for the brilliant art of mooting in times to come and we are blessed to have had this opportunity!
This article has been written by Sakshi Narwal, Ist year