Who's That: The legal force behind Aap Ki Kachehri

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | April 24, 2009
The team of lawyers has been associated with Synergy Adlabs the production house responsible for Aap Ki Kachehri for more than a year

Sujata Mehra, Srinidhi Murti and Abha Joshi are all lawyers. But that's not what makes them an interesting trio - they were also the team providing legal advice and counsel for the Kiran Bedi led show Aap Ki Kachehri (AKK) on STAR Plus.

These lawyers have been associated with Synergy Adlabs, which produced the show, for more than a year.

Murti is serving as in-house counsel for the production house and has provided legal opinion on corporate matters and project-specific inputs on shows such as Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain, Duss Ka Dum and Jiya Jale. Prior to joining Synergy Adlabs, Murti was a part of the global corporate legal division of an outsourcing company. He has also practised civil litigation in the High Courts at Mumbai and Delhi.

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Talking about adjustments or modifications required for providing legal aid for a television show, Murti says, "There are no 'adjustments' to the legal opinions provided, which are based on the disputants' statements and applicable laws."

He adds that, as the programme cannot be a fact finding forum, the parties' statements are not investigated or disclosures compelled. The opinions are with regard to the generic legal issues in the dispute, with the aim of educating the disputants, and the viewers through them, to their rights and obligations under the law.

Whether it was a member of the AKK crew crying in empathy when a family in dispute reconciled or a charged up atmosphere due to the vehemence of allegations by a party, there have been many incidents that touched the trio during the recording of the program.

Before AKK happened to Joshi, the lawyer was a director of an organisation called Multiple Action Research Group. She spends most of her professional time on legal aid and training of ordinary people and constituents of the legal system such as the police, judges and lawyers.

Her only concern before saying yes to the show was, whether it will sensitively handle the issues concerning people's lives.

Joshi dispels myths if any about the show being scripted. She shares, "It is indeed a 100 per cent reality show from the point of view of the parties as well as the proceedings and outcome. The patterns of social behaviour that are coming out through the show is another interesting aspect. The widespread myths among people regarding the legal position/processes of any situation is of course fascinating in its universality."

Mehra recalls how a phone call landed her in the show. "Intrigued and interested about the concept of the show," she agreed to be a part of it. She has been a practising lawyer for the past 25 years and strongly believes that law is a part of everyday life.

Mehra shares insights on how the team prepares for a case to be heard in the 'court room' setup. "For the show, the content team and the legal team work together. The legal team culls out various legal issues and examines the law applicable for each case. Along with the editorial team we also seek to highlight some aspect of the law for the viewers," she says.

Besides dispensing legal advice, Mehra loves travelling and hiking in her spare time. For Joshi, reading a book and watching as many movies as possible are the best ways to unwind. Poetry, quizzing and adventure sports excite Murti.

(Who's that? is an effort to highlight the lesser known talents from the advertising, media and marketing industry.)

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