Book Review: ‘At The Pleasure of His Majesty’ by Chander M. Lall

Defying the Empire: The Courageous Legal Battle of I.M. Lall

Book Title: At The Pleasure Of His Majesty: I.M. Lall and the Case That Shook the Crown
Author: Chander M. Lall
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 168
ISBN: 978-9357027519
Date Published: Feb. 5, 2024
Price: INR 235

At The Pleasure of His Majesty by Chander M. Lall Book Cover

Book Review

Inder Mohan Lall, a former judge, was the first subject to win a case against the British Empire in 1948. He was fired from the Indian Civil Service due to colonial bias and without due process of law. The Privy Council, the highest court of appeals, overturned his dismissal and reinstated him in service. Lall’s story is recounted in “At the Pleasure of His Majesty: I.M. Lall and the Case that Shook the Crown,” which significantly created Article 311 of India’s Constitution. The book’s premiere attracted legal luminaries and top authorities.

Chander M. Lall, a senior counsel with strong roots in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, uses rigorous research and personal experiences to bring his grandfather’s legacy alive. Growing up hearing stories of his grandfather’s valour and resolve, Lall set out on a mission to convey this important piece of legal history, despite the human cost of never having his father see the publishing. I.M. Lall’s narrative is more than simply a legal struggle; it is a tribute to standing up for justice and righteousness, even in the face of the British Empire’s overwhelming strength.

I.M. Lall’s case against the British Crown was momentous, as it was the first time a public servant successfully challenged the Empire. This win established the framework for Article 311, which protects government personnel from arbitrary removal or demotion. The book exhaustively covers the circumstances leading up to the momentous ruling, emphasizing I.M. Lall’s unshakable will and the natural justice principles that currently serve as the foundation of civil service law in India. The turbulent periods surrounding India’s war for independence and the heartbreaking partition deepen the tale, bringing depth and perspective to the judicial battle.

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At the Pleasure of His Majesty” goes beyond the bounds of a judicial win, delving into personal sacrifices as well as the broader sociopolitical turbulence of the moment. The sorrow of division and the personal losses suffered by the Lall family highlight the tremendous stakes involved. The book connects the professional and personal, providing a comprehensive overview of I.M. Lall’s life and legacy. This technique not only humanises legal language but also offers a vivid image of the times, making the story more accessible and captivating to a wider audience.

Chander M. Lall’s work is an important contribution to the study of Indian legal and constitutional history. It not only honors the memory of a man who dared to oppose the Crown, but it also serves as a reminder of the value of justice and the significance of standing up for one’s rights. The book has justifiably received appreciation from every creative field for its adapting excellence. Lall has written a tale that is both instructive and emotionally touching, providing readers with insight into a watershed point in India’s legal legacy as well as the long-lasting consequences of one man’s heroism against the colonial power.

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