Apropos your letter to share my story, as a chartered accountant converted into a public servant as a Judge of High Court, I feel inclined to jot down these few lines.
Born in a family of chartered accountants, I took to this course like a fish to the water in 1978, after I completed my B.Com.(Hons.) from Jodhpur university. Born in a middle class Jain family at no.9, I had the great fortune of being led by my elder brother Mr. B.M. Kothari, a chartered accountant of 1963, who as a role model pillar brought a middle class family to the heights of a well reputed family of Jodhpur. After practising as an eminent chartered accountant for 26 years , he served with distinction the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for 15 years from 1989 to 2004.
I completed CA, CS & LL.B. simultaneously in 1981- 82. Otherwise considered a bright student, even I plucked in one paper of costing in CA final exams & then it dawned upon me that CA also means `Come Again’. Anyways, after passing final exams in May 1982, I started my CA practice with B.M.Kothari & co.
A leading lawyer of the city Mr. Marudhar Mridul, who was a country wide figure also, was a family friend & used to visit my brother for his income tax matters. Perhaps seeing some argumentative skills in me as a CA, he urged me to join bar as an Advocate leaving my practice as CA, a tough decision for me & the family. Even the matrimonial prospects would go down, was the argument of my mother. But then a risk taking desire overtook & I shifted to the lawyers profession in 1984 & joined Mr. Mridul. Remaining & working hard with him as junior for two years, I picked up the threads & by God’s grace, had no looking back.
Working my way up & besides attending courts regularly, my working as Chief Editor of a national level Sales Tax Journal for six years allowed me an opportunity to read indirect taxation closely in various judgements & Articles. Payment of paltry sum as honorarium took care of my small needs, but at the same time I started to get independent briefs to argue in High Court on taxation side. High fees charged by other leading lawyers, only a few of them were there & two of them were also CAs turned into lawyers, gave an alternative to the clients in me who could charge much less but still could be effective. Lady luck smiled on me sooner than expected & by 1990, I became a recognised Tax lawyer in Rajasthan High Court & started doing well. Gradually practice picked up & success begot success & as they say nothing succeeds like success. But in the meanwhile, my desire to remain a student constantly let me do my Master in Laws in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Taxation in 2004.
In 2004, at 45, I was invited by the Chief Justice to give my consent for elevation as a Judge. Though, it could mean a great financial loss coupled with social restrictions, which a Judge has to live with, a saner sense of serving the society prevailed & I was appointed as a Judge in June 2005 to have at least a career as a Judge for 16 plus years till September 2021, barring unforeseen. As a Judge, I have enjoyed each day of my working & a great amount of work satisfaction is there. I feel God has been so kind to select me to do the pious work of discharging the divine function & do HIS work as a means. I never had the feeling of being the `Karta‘ of what I do but the sense of becoming `Madhyam’ of what God destined it to be done.
Now, I am invited even in international & national Conferences & have contributed Papers & Articles on international taxation and constitutional subjects, subject to time constraint which a Judge has.
I have a happy family & even if my doting wife Meena may not be having Diamond sets, as being a wife of a rich lawyer she could have, we have no regrets & feeling of any lackings. On the contrary, we are ever grateful to the Almighty, for whatever he gives to us.My sons Vinay & Mehul are great assets for us.
If this is a success story of a Chartered Accountant, well as my friends feel it to be so, well this is it !
I urge my CA friends to do their law course also & prove their argumentative skills & mettle in courts of law in our country, where there is a real dearth of good, dedicated & hard working lawyers which qualities a Chartered Accountant naturally has & I can assure you friends that coming time will belong to people like you.