The Year In Review: Moot Court Committee

Members: Tania Singla (Acting Convener), Shrey Patnaik

Resigned: Punya Varma, Mini Saxena, Dhruv Sharma, Maria George, Kavya Tangirala, Riddhi Jad, Rohan Bhatia, Shuchita Goel

This last year was perhaps the MCC’s most controversial, and memorable since its establishment along with that of the college. Tensions due to the administration’s constant undermining of the MCC’s mandate regarding the new IMS Policy framework led to seven resignations, whereas Dhruv Sharma had already resigned due to severe disagreements. While the move was appreciated some for its stand-up-to-the-man attitude, many also criticized it as an abdication of duty. Some thought that the eight ex-members of the MCC might have done better to stick to their guns and stand up to the man by standing firm instead of giving up their posts in the face of an obstinate administration.

In its overarching mandate of facilitation of mooting, the MCC is primarily responsible for organizing the Internal Moot Selections in April-May, and the Baby Internal Moot Selections (for the first years) in September. This year, the MCC set out on the following endeavours:

  • Institutionalization of the Indian Vis Pre-Moot: The MCC (including the resigned members) successfully organized the 5th Indian Vis Pre-Moot as members of the extended Vis Pre-Moot Organization Committee.
  • Levelling the Playing Field for the IMS: For the very first time, the MCC organized a primer on the laws that featured in the IMS, to bring juniors up to speed to minimize any inherent advantage possessed by seniors. The MCC also circulated memos which had previously been marked well, to again bring juniors and first time mooters up to speed.
  • An Expanded Moot Pool: The University will be participating in the ELSA WTO Moot for the first time. This was possible due to several lengthy discussions with the administration.
  • Stricter Funding Criteria for International Moots: To ensure that better quality and accountability among the teams representing the University at certain international moots, the MCC amended the policy to introduce a quality control mechanism under which certain criteria have to be cleared before the University extends funding for these moots. These criteria may range from national rounds rankings to an evaluative round in the University.
  • An In-Depth Introduction to Mooting for the Babies: Though still in the works, the MCC plans on replacing the general introductory session on mooting with a more detailed set of sessions aimed at demonstrating argument structuring and memorial writing. The MCC also has plans to have a session on introduction to moot court research and will also seek mentors to guide the students throughout the mooting process.

However, there are several areas which the MCC needs to take care of:

  • Declining Mooting Culture on Campus: It is quite well established that mooting in the University is not what it used to be. Thanks to the influx of several research opportunities, a stronger focus on academics, and a healthier environment of debate and dissent, mooting has been sidelined to quite an extent. Though all this is commendable, the next MCC’s major task would be to harmonize mooting with such other activities. Shrey Patnaik, MCC member, had this to say: ‘Even though I’ve worked on various extra-curricular activities in law school, such as research papers and research projects, I found that mooting was what brought me the most legal maturity and experience. I wouldn’t want any first years to lose out on the opportunity to discover what mooting can do for them.’
  • Declining Moot Court Performance: The last mooting season saw the University only win two moots, quite a dip from earlier mooting season, which brought in trophies such as Manfred Lachs, ICC Trial and Oxford Price. While not directly attributable to the MCC, there are several other reasons for this, including the declining mooting culture. This is a much larger problem that the MCC may have trouble fixing. However, the present MCC, on its last legs, is contemplating a mentorship system that ensures efficiency in preparation and performance for teams representing the university.
  • Improving Campus Resources for Mooting Teams: The MCC hopes to broaden the administrative support extended to the teams representing the University in moots. This includes improving the quality of resources available in the college library, access to erstwhile memorials for individual mooting competitions and a database of possible mentors for individual moots. While we appreciate the many facilities that are already provided, we feel that there is always room for improvement, especially to keep up our much repeated ‘best of the best’ claim.

Turbulence between the administration and the MCC was unfortunate, but they would have you believe that necessity is the mother of resignations. Nevertheless, all throughout the year, every member of the MCC has contributed to the fullest to ensure that all policies were deliberated upon and various interests balanced, paradoxically with the hope that the subsequent meeting would be shorter than the last. Alas.


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