Law is a family tradition. My father was in the Judicial Services, my grandfather was a lawyer. The question of my becoming anything but a lawyer did not arise,’’ says Dipankar Prasad Gupta. “In 1952 my father decided to send me to England to study law and become a barrister. That was the most exciting prospect for me,” he emphasizes further.
Gupta, who joined the Lincoln’s Inn, London, in 1953 was called to the English Bar in May 1955. On his return to India soon thereafter, he joined the Calcutta High Court. His practice extended to Constitutional and Administrative Law, Commercial Laws, Arbitration, Property Laws and also Tax Laws.
In 1972 he was appointed the Senior Standing Counsel for the Government of West Bengal. Four years on he became the Advocate General of West Bengal and was also the Chairman of the West Bengal Bar Council during 1976-77.
However, the turning point in his career came when he was appointed the Solicitor General in 1992. He occupied that position till 1996. As Solicitor General he represented the Government of India in a number of cases, prominent amongst them being the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid Demolition case and the Jain Hawala case.
A career that has not seen any significant upheavals, Gupta says the cornerstone of his success has been not just his sincerity and hard work but also the sacrifices made by his parents. “It has been a fairly progressive life. The important point in my life has been the way our parents deprived themselves to give me and my brother, Bhaskar Prasad Gupta, who is also a barrister and Senior Advocate, a good education. They would deny themselves to save money for our higher education. And most of the times our father would be transferred to different places but our mother would stay on in Kolkata so that our studies were not interrupted,” says Gupta. A meritorious student, he had secured second place in Physics Honours from Calcutta University in 1952 after completing his schooling from St Xavier’s School in Kolkata in 1948.
According to wife, Anjana, Dipankar is much like his parents where his own children are concerned. “He is very caring and will leave everything for his children and family. For him it’s always been family first,” she confides. Married in 1959, Anjana and Dipankar have two children. While son, Jaideep, has kept the family tradition going and is today a senior Supreme Court advocate, daughter, Ananya, worked as a teacher for a long time.
A quintessential Bengali to the core, Gupta says his needs are very simple – Tagore’s Rabindrasangeet, sweetmeats, his daily staple of fish and rice and travelling to different parts of the world, with a special soft spot for Austria and the Mini Mundus park of miniatures of world-famous buildings there.
It’s been over twenty years since the Bengali Barrister made the nation’s capital his home. However, none of Delhi’s air seems to have rubbed off on him. He says, “Delhi has good infrastructure and is more organized. Kolkata is congested and chaotic. But Kolkata is where the friends are, in Delhi it’s all acquaintances. I am in Delhi as my work is here, but my heart remains in Kolkata. It is my City of Joy!”
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