Legal Luminaries

Rupinder Singh Suri

The journey from Hoshiarpur to Delhi was interesting in several ways for Rupinder Singh Suri. With humble beginnings at D.A.V. School, a Hindi –medium school in Hoshiarpur, Rupinder was blissfully unaware of the challenges a big – city life brings with it. With lofty ideas and unwavering enthusiasm, Rupinder moved to Delhi with his family shortly after he completed high school.

Young Rupinder set foot in the hallowed portals of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, oblivious of the rigid admission procedure, but determined to study Economics at the most prestigious institution in the country. He scanned the interview list keenly and when he failed to find his name listed, he returned home dejected. His father, the eternal optimist, threw the realist in Rupinder off guard when he encouraged him to get himself interviewed at the college, despite the fact that his name was missing from the interview list. All his father said was, “You’ve got nothing to lose, but everything to gain, son. Go and get yourself an interview”. Puzzled at his father’s seemingly strange advice, Rupinder went back to the college and sat outside the principal’s office patiently until all the interviews for the day had been conducted. When the principal walked out and saw this young man waiting patiently for an interview, he agreed to make an exception and interviewed him. Sure enough, Rupinder’s name topped the list the next day when the final list of selected candidates was put up on the notice board. He noticed his father smiling gently at him, and understood the lesson he was being taught –persistence coupled with hard work can take you places, as long as you believe in your own potential.

Recollecting his early days at college, Rupinder says, “I found that those who had achieved their position at this college through merit were always receptive, encouraging and kind, while the elite of Delhi was rather insensitive and never missed an opportunity to remind the others of their privilege.” However, his extended professional and personal network contradicts this thought. An affable man with a remarkable ability to touch the lives of those he meets, Rupinder has a fan following that transcends caste, creed and religion. Those who are close to him say that Rupinder has never turned away anyone in need of his help. He has appeared pro-bono for clients even when as a struggling lawyer he was trying to make ends meet in an expensive city.

After having completed his masters in Economics, Rupinder found himself at the crossroads once again. The traditional career choices did not appeal to him. So, applying the method of elimination, he decided to study law at the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. Little did he know this subject was soon to become his passion.

Lady Fortune smiled on Rupinder and he went from strength to strength. His hard work soon bore results and after a brief stint at Dr. Y.S. Chitale’s chambers, Rupinder decided to take flight and set up his own practice. He set up a successful tax practice.

After the demise of his father in 1983, Rupinder forayed into the world of civil and criminal litigation. In 1984, he set up his own law firm – Suri & Company with a team of two lawyers, one stenographer (who was only available from 5.00 am to 7.00 am) and a rented, second-hand typewriter. With his vision and persistent effort, the firm grew to be one of the best law firms in Delhi. Suri & Company gained a reputation of integrity, honesty and unfailing service to the client and soon became a name to reckon within the courts. After 1990, the firm became a notable name in the practice area of Corporate Law as well. Under the leadership of Rupinder Singh Suri the firm steadily made inroads into various practice areas including banking laws, mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution, water disputes, etc.

Rupinder was also appointed the standing counsel for the State of Punjab during the time of insurgency after 1984. He was noted for his integrity, values and intellect and was designed a Senior Counsel by all the Supreme Court judges unanimously in 2011.

Whilst striving to reach the pinnacle of professional success, Rupinder also found time to tend to his philanthropic interests. After contributing as a member of the Junior Chambers (Jaycees), a leadership training and civic organization for fifteen years, Rupinder was elected to become a management trainer. He has trained not only lawyers, but also bankers, chartered accountants, management personnel, etc. to excel in their professional lives. Rupinder says with complete confidence, “Give me a college graduate and I will make an orator out of him/her in six months.” His students and colleagues vouch for his affable yet firm teaching style and have not forgotten the support they got from Rupinder when they were young fledglings. At Court, Rupinder selflessly worked for the betterment of the Supreme Court Bar for his fraternity. Rupinder has served as the President of the Advocates on Record Association, Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association and Vice President of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Many remember him fondly for his winning smile and amiable demeanor.

In his endeavor to give back to the lawyer community, Rupinder donated two libraries in the name of his late father, Kartar Singh Suri, at Tis Hazari and at the Income Tax Bar Association. His late father was a leading tax lawyer and also held the prestigious post of Vice President at the Income Tax Bar Association. Furthermore, Rupinder with his zeal for education has donated money for higher education to many students.

After many years of living out his passion and running a successful law firm, life brought Rupinder to yet another crossroad. When he was designated a Senior Advocate unanimously by all the judges at the Supreme Court, he had a tough decision at hand. As a Senior Advocate, he would no longer be able to run the law firm which had become an integral part of his life over the years. For Rupinder and his wife, Suri & Company was as much their baby as their two daughters – Suruchi and Simar.

Yet, with a smile on his lips and courage in his conviction, Rupinder took on the mantle of being a Senior Counsel. Rupinder and his Man Friday, Narain Singh, his clerk, had decided to close the law firm but senior members of the law firm approached him with the same determined attitude inculcated by him and asked to be given a chance to run the law firm. They unanimously chose Rupinder’s wife, Gurvinder Suri, as their Managing Partner.

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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