Weed out black sheep among ?black coats?
THE LUCKNOW police are currently busy in collecting criminal records of lawyers. It may sound incredible to those who have not been a witness to gory scenes of arson, firing and slogan-shouting on the streets of Lucknow and Allahabad in the recent past.india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 23:57 IST
THE LUCKNOW police are currently busy in collecting criminal records of lawyers. It may sound incredible to those who have not been a witness to gory scenes of arson, firing and slogan-shouting on the streets of Lucknow and Allahabad in the recent past.
Others, who are privy to the fact that some of the office-bearers of their associations have cases of land-grabbing, attempt to murder etc lodged against them in various police stations, may simply dismiss it with, “It should have been done much earlier”. Don’t be surprised even a woman lawyer has a criminal record. There are tales about two lawyers in Kanpur who take protection money from those who appear for remand. There are also tales about lawyers in Allahabad actively involved in getting people dispossessed from their homes (in other words house-grabbing). The fear of ‘black coats’ keeps the victims silent.
Indeed, the high court’s decision to suo motu take cognizance of media reports, highlighting the pressure mounted by an irate mob of lawyers on an additional sessions judge in getting interim bail in a murder case for their colleague, is indeed laudable, more so because the court seems to be in a mood to set its house in order.
The two-member bench, comprising of Justice O P Srivastava and Justice S Saxena, observed, “It is necessary that in order to maintain the decency, decorum and majesty of court and its proper functioning contemnors be not allowed to enter the court premises----.”
Before the action could follow came the call for ‘Adhivaktao Lucknow Chalo’ against the HC’s orders initiating contempt proceedings against the irate lawyers. Height of their audacity, as they decided to observe April 17 as ‘Virodh Diwas’ -- a day before the contempt case is listed in the HC (posters have appeared in both the courts). Or is it once again some pressure tactic or ‘bullying’, as Justice OP Srivastava said in the open court while hearing this case?
The HC order was in reaction to the startling revelations made by the district judge in his report, “Advocates of civil courts are misbehaving in the most undignified manner daily and are not permitting judicial officers to discharge the function fearlessly and impartially.” If courts can’t function fearlessly, impartially how would they deliver justice? Another question that is being asked is what steps the district judge, as the administrative head of the subordinate judiciary, has adopted?
The crux is that these lawyers mount pressure, paralyse courts to get favourable orders. And not all of them (orders) would be for the right man and the right cause.
The judges have themselves observed, “We are of the view that the order granting bail by the additional sessions judge cannot be said to be a judicial order passed after examining the matter on merit, but is an order procured by mounting pressure by large number of lawyers”
Indeed the common man’s faith in the judicial system may get eroded if some prompt corrective steps were not taken by the courts to discipline lawyers (there numbers may be few) or else the manner in which the criminals have hijacked the political system, they may try to interfere or overpower their realm too. The consequences would be disastrous, as the masses have pinned their hopes on the judiciary with other pillars of the Constitution dwindling fast. The issue thus is not confined to a handful of lawyers (the numbers have grown) but to the judicial system as a whole.
Justice (retd) KN Goel emphasised on two-fold steps -- reform in legal education system (admissions in LL B should be competition-based like for MBBS, engineering) and second, the restoration of the earlier mandatory rule for every lawyer to have one-year training under a senior lawyer before commencing his practice.
He said much of the problem came from the fact that there was a glut of lawyers’ today (There are about 8,000 in Lucknow alone). The impatience to make quick money is also there. Thus the ever-increasing urge to get bail orders from lower courts and stay orders from high courts.
The decay has set in. The pockets from the back of their gowns have disappeared, as they now believe in making a hole in their client’s pockets.
There are tales of woes of their victims, but the fear of their black robes silences them. Earlier in England the barristers’ gown used to have a pocket at its back in which clients used to quietly put their fees.
However, now that the courts have decided to set their houses in order, how about improving the image of so-called, ‘peshkars’ also.
First Published: Apr 15, 2006 23:57 IST