Ram Balak Mahto Memorial Essay Competition – The Legal Lock

About the Organizer

The Competition is organized by the Ram Balak Foundation with unwavering support and guidance from members from both the Bar and the Bench.

About Mr. Ram Balak Mahto

Mr Ram Balak Mahto is the longest-serving Advocate General of the state of Bihar, having served for over 16 years, and the chief legal advisor to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Since 1937, only 20 Advocate Generals have been appointed, with him being appointed six times.

Mr Mahto primarily practiced before the High Court of Judicature in Patna and had the rare privilege of working as the Advocate General with six Chief Ministers of Bihar.

About the Competition

The Ram Balak Mahto Memorial Essay Competition is held in memory of Mr Ram Balak Mahto (1926-2020), an eminent and distinguished lawyer. Late Mr Mahto was a well-known legal luminary in the disciplines of constitutional law and other areas of law.

This Essay Competition is organized to commemorate his accomplishments in the field of law and continue it in his memory. The Competition aims to increase academic scholarships in critical areas of constitutional law by stimulating interest and fostering growth among students in exploring and engaging with contemporary and seminal issues in the field of constitutional law.

After the resounding success of the first edition of the competition, which saw the participation of students from universities and institutions across India, the Ram Balak Mahto Foundation is pleased to organize the 2nd edition of the Ram Balak Mahto Memorial Essay Competition. This year, the theme of the Competition is “Emerging Perspectives in Constitutional Interpretation.”

As India celebrates 75 years of independence, it is an appropriate time for us to step back from the political debates over the Constitution and examine how the text has been interpreted by the courts over the last seven and a half decades.

The Supreme Court adopted a textualist approach in the early years after Independence, focusing on the plain meaning of the words used in the Constitution. Later, this strict literal interpretation was progressively supplanted by a more liberal type of interpretation, in which the Supreme Court began to appeal to the overall structure and coherence of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s broad interpretative powers laid the groundwork for it to assume an unprecedented role in national governance. We are currently transitioning to a more purposeful interpretation of the Constitution in accordance with its revolutionary and transformative potential.


Emerging Perspectives in Constitutional Interpretation


Participants are free to write on, and choose, any suitable topic for their essay as long as it is within the ambit of the aforementioned theme.


The Competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in any recognized university/college in India.

Submission Guidelines

  • The essay must be written in English and submitted in Microsoft Word document format (.doc/.docx).
  • Co-authorship up to a maximum of two authors is permitted.
  • Only one submission is allowed per author/team. Submissions, both as co-author and single, will be treated as multiple submissions and will be disqualified as an entry to the competition.
  • The following formatting specifications need to be strictly adhered to: Main Body: Font – Times New Roman, Font Size – 12, and Line Spacing – 1.5; Footnotes: Font – Times New Roman, Font Size – 10, and Line Spacing – 1.0; Margins should be 1 inch or 2.54 cm on all sides.
  • The word limit is 2500-3000 words excluding footnotes. Footnotes must follow the Bluebook system of citation (Harvard, 20th edition).
  • The essay must contain an abstract, not exceeding 250 words (which would not be counted in the word limit for the essay). It must indicate the theme/topic.

How to Submit?

  • All submissions should be made in electronic form at [email protected] under the subject heading “Submission: 2nd Ram Balak Mahto Memorial Essay Competition”.

How to Register?

There is no registration fee for participating in the Competition, however, interested participants are required to click on the link available at the end of this post to register.

Awards and Rewards

  • winner: The Lal Narayan Sinha Gold Medal for Best Essay, ₹10,000 and an internship opportunity with a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India / Sitting Judge of a High Court.
  • Runner-up: ₹ 5,000 and an internship opportunity with a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India/ sitting Judge of a High Court.
  • The top five essays will be awarded a Certificate of Merit. A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to all the participants.

Important Dates

  • Registration Opens: 27 January 2023
  • Registration Closes: 19 March 2023
  • Submission Deadline: 19 March 2023
  • Announcement of Results: April 9, 2023

For inquiries, please email us at [email protected] or contact Viraj Aditya at +91 8210697371 / +91 8447488295.

Click here to register.

Click here for the official website.

Megha Jains Megha Jains

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