Legal Luminaries


“All through my career, merit saw me through.”

My life is a proof that a person with average competence can become a lawyer and that, too, a successful one,” says one of the country’s most successful lawyers, B.V. Acharya. Six times Advocate General of Karnataka, Acharya is known for his candour. He started practicing law in 1957 and has practiced in all branches of law, and in courts at all levels in the country—a feat not many lawyers can boast of.

The first person to be honoured with the membership of the Law Commission from Karnataka, Acharya was also appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor in the much published disproportionable Assest case against the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa.

Having found his calling in law he says “Once I took up law, I became a bright student and never looked back after that.” Prior to studying law, he chose to study Economics and History and not MAths and Science, as he was sure in his heart that he did not want to pursue medicine or engineering. As his father was a teacher, he, too, aimed to become a teacher till a friend of his convinced him to take up law.

A deep regard for teachers led him to speak about his teachers at the podium in college. However, no sooner had he started than his Principal ticked him for speaking softly. Young Acharya was reduced to a bundle of nerves. “I was humiliated and became very nervous. I decided that from then on I would take part in debates and overcome my nervousness. Oratory is a gift of God, but I managed with practice,” says the eminent lawyer his face lighting up with joy at his triumph. He realized, “Power of expression is important because I have to communicate and convince the judge.”

Regarded for his integrity and rectitude, Acharya is probably the only lawyer in the country who has been appointed Advocate general by governments of opposite hues. Says Acharya, “for me luckily it was merit and not political influence that was important. All thorugh my career, merit saw me through.” He cites the time when the Virendra Patil-led Congress Government appointed him AG even though his proximity to the leader of the opposition, Ramakrishna Hegde, was well known. “The Fourth Estate, too, has lent him their support time and again,” says the esteemed lawyer leafing through his well-maintained collection of press clippings. He strongly believes that “as the Advocate General, more than defending the Government in litigation before courts,” his “main challenge is to give proper advice to the State Government so that it does not make mistakes and act contrary to law.”

On the personal level, too, he is a well-disciplined man. Having married Laxmi in 1960, he has three children. While son, Belpu Laxminarayan, and daughter, Pushpalata, are lawyers, his second son, Subramanya, is in radio. It was Acharya who enthused his children to take up law. They both practice with him.

Not much of a sports enthusiast, he says that walking is the only exercise he indulges in. although he loves music, his likes are limited to the softer variety of classical or film music from the olden days. “These days I am enjoying reading biographies of eminent lawyers. Except law, reading and music, I have no other interest,” is what B.V. Acharya says about his likes. A simple man with simple but profound likes.

We acknowledge “100 Legal Luminaries of India” by Lalit Bhasin (Lexis). The multicolour coffee table book printed on art paper in Hardbound is priced at ` 5995/- and is available at Universal Book Traders, C-27, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001.

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