If India works, it is thanks to its judicial system, never mind the time it takes for it to balance the scales perfectly. But even the most passionate cheerleaders of the Indian judiciary know that the lower echelons of the structure are in a mess and that it’s best to keep a lid on it. However, even though we know that all’s not well, many will be startled to read a news report that says that all sub-judges in Punjab and Haryana have flunked exams for the superior judiciary. The candidates — lawyers and sub-judges — had applied for the written exam for appointment as additional district and sessions judges. Even though they cleared the first round that had objective-type questions, they failed when it came to essay-type questions some of which they could not answer correctly. Here are two examples: explain the difference between judicial and extra-judicial confessions and what action can be contemplated against an informant if allegations in an FIR are found to be false. Sorry, but we cannot wipe that look of incredulity off our faces. But then, how were they functioning all this while since they are all practising professionals? Maybe there were some generous friends around who would tutor them as and when required. Whatever it is, we must commend their spirit: even at the cost of their reputation and their practice, they bravely applied for the senior positions. Come to think of it, it’s actually a lose-lose situation for those who have flunked. Do you think clients will be queuing up now that the news is out that they don’t know the law all that well?
Having said so, we must not be so rigid about those men in black. After all, can all professionals say that they have a sound knowledge about the subjects they deal in and can come out with flying colours if an exam is held today? So why should lawyers be graded differently?