Ch Mohd Sharief Tariq, Member (Judicial), National Company Law Tribunal, often one heard this name to be associated with hard work, upright integrity and a liberal approach towards the interpretation of the statute. But those who got to know him in the capacity of a Judge, a Member and the human that he was, the values that he personified, are nothing short of inspiring and deserve a narrative as a tribute to his lordship’s service to the rule of law and the people of the nation.
I write this to acknowledge my debt to my Guru publicly, Hon’ble Shri Ch Mohd Sharief Tariq, who left for heavenly abode on 18 April, 2021. I write to share my experiences of working for just a little less than 2 years with the Hon’ble Member as his Law Research Associate at NCLT, Chennai Bench.
After completing my graduation in 2017, I enrolled myself for LLM (Corporate Law) and started some part-time work in the form of freelancing. I was just trying to find my feet in the profession along with my LLM course. And then, providence seemed to intervene.
The National Company Law Tribunal issued an advertisement for the selection of a Law Research Associate. I applied and got selected in the first chance and the posting was given in Chennai Bench. I went to Chennai and joined the duty with an extinguished mind as the city was completely new for me.
The registry informed me that I would be assisting Shri Ch Mohd Sharief Tariq, Judicial Member. While waiting for him to return from the Court on my first day, I remember feeling anxious and somewhat unsure of how I would contribute to his work and fulfil expectations.
That evening on his return from the Court, I was escorted to his chamber by his private secretary. I saw a man with a smiley face, sitting in front of a computer with several files and papers. However, his presence in the room towered over everything else. I vividly remember feeling frozen and at a loss for words to a basic question he asked of me—“What brings you to the NCLT?”
Thus, my journey began with him. I was truly blessed to have been accepted. He was a man who valued character and integrity in a person more than any references and lineage or pedigree. Over the years, I have learnt and imbibed a lot from him. He relied much on my research abilities, encouraged analytical thinking and welcomed opinions and suggestions.
He demonstrated humility, gratitude, empathy and extreme kindness in his actions—both as a Judge and human. I vividly remember how he helped me when my infant was admitted to the hospital.
“Duty first” was his prime motto and he used to perform his duties perfectly irrespective of any difficulty. He never differentiated anyone who appeared before him, whether a junior or senior, CA or CS, advocate or party in person. His work gave him such tranquillity that it was difficult for him to get angry.
Tariq Ji remains a great mentor and guide for many of us. He gave more in return than what was expected from us. Words can neither qualify nor quantify how helpful his guidance and advice have been for us. The experience he provided will serve as a key factor in grooming our personality and will have a tremendous impact on our career success.
I owe my legal writing and rigorous analytical thinking skills, knowledge of the Companies Law and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and a commitment to public service to the training that I received under his supervision. He made me believe in my potential, helped me discover my purpose, reminded me of my privilege, and challenged me to use my skills every day.
Your lordship has left an indelible imprint on the justice delivery system. His legacy will continue to live on through his orders, contributions towards the evaluation of IBC and the many law researchers he trained. He was a man of principles—a disciplined mind with intellectual integrity and curiosity, faithful to the institution, dedicated to helping the powerless and a powerful judge for the equality of all individuals.
His untimely demise is a loss not just for the legal community but for humanity at large. I am privileged to have been his law research associate. I believe that each of his law researchers have been strongly influenced, touched and formed by his values, principles and teachings.
Let us continue each day to be inspired by his brilliant example and call to work passionately and wholeheartedly for an equal and just society.