Sunday, April 2, 2023

Save the courts, save the democracy!


Biplab Roy

Lawyers as a class command respect from the bulk of the society not in India only but in other developed and developing countries also. Turning the pages of the history it is found that the lawyers are always in the first row in the change of social cause, political renaissance and freedom movement of each country and their contributions towards the society at large are always remembered with respect and honour. They are considered as backbone of the society. They wore the black coat and gown but the white ban they use as part of their uniform is the symbol of their honesty, dedication and spotless personality.

There is no profession in the world where a person is addressed as “Learned” excepting the Lawyers. In narrow sanse, advocacy is a profession but in wider sense, they are social engineers to carry forward the social justice, protect human rights and fight with the cause of the others in the court in securing justice in accordance with law. A good Lawyer never counts success and failure of the cases in which he appears. He just performs his lawful duty to which he is engaged. His role is always changing like IPL cricket session. In one case, he may stand for the prosecution and in another he may fight teeth and nail for the accused. This is the beauty of this profession which is uncommon to the other profession.

photo copyIn India, there is no basic education on law studied at the School and College level. Consequently the common people always come in conflict with law in their day to day life; some time in ignorance of law or some times knowing the deeds as illegal. Ignorance of law is not an excuse as it is presumed that a citizen must know the law of the land. But the common people is unaware about this presumption due to lack of legal awareness. In many cases, they come to know legal consequences after commission of offence. To get redressal from the legal matters or legal consequences they approach to the Lawyers who represent their cases before the court of law and help them to get justice. Our judicial system is adversial in nature meaning thereby that both the parties to a litigation shall be represented by two sets of Lawyers who put forward their respective cases assist the Learned Judge in dispensing with justice.

There is no bar that the litigant cannot represent his own case. The Lawyers are engaged for proper representation of the case before the court of law as they are considered as expat in the legal battle. A Lawyer must have sound knowledge on the legal subjects, morality and the society to which the litigant belongs to. A good Lawyer is like a currency note which does not make any sound if it falls. He must be a man free from ego and his simple deliberation would touch the soul of the court even in sensitive cases.

The court is the temple of justice where the Judge is considered as idol or the representative of the God to decide the human causes. In modern thinking, both the Judge and the Lawyer are officers of the court. For the sake of institution a Judge is placed in higher position but the relation between the Judge and the Lawyer is based on mutual respect. A good relation between the Bar and Bench may only enrich our legal system. If Bar is water body, the Judge is the lotus. In absence of water, lotus cannot blossom.

Similarly, water body may not be looked beautiful in absence of lotus. The responsibility of the Lawyers is greater than a Judge as a Lawyer is to discharge multifarious functions at a time. As expressed by Mathew, J., “A Counsel has a tripartite relation: one with the public, another with the court, and the third with his client. That is a unique feature. Other professions or callings may include one or two of this relationships but no other has the triple duty.” Unfortunately, this noble profession is at stake at the hands of a section of the Lawyers who are more politicians in the court premises than the Lawyers. Those persons are not only polluting the atmosphere of the court but they are making a strain relation between the Bar and Bench.

They often forget that they are officers of the court and behave in such a manner not befitting to their profession. Very recent incidents of two courts in West Bengal, namely, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court at Alipore and also the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) at Srirampore have drawn attention of all walks of life. In both the cases, misbehaviour of the Lawyers in side the court rooms, humiliation and rustic remarks towards the Judges have crossed all the limits of decency.

The languages used by the said Lawyers towards the Judges are seldom used by any illiterate person. It was seen that some so called Senior Lawyers were indulging their juniors to attack the Judges undermining the the dignity of the holly institution. It is unfortunate to say that some of those Lawyers are empaneled in the list of the State Government.

Their conduct has not only been condemned by the Lawyers, Retd. Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court, intellectual persons but the litigants also who were present in side the court room on the very day and witnessed the whole incident. Previously, Alipore Court has seen stormy atmosphere with soughing and slogan when a Minister of the State was produced in connection with an economic offence. Those Save the courts save the democracy Lawyers were seen at that time also to interrupt the functioning of the court.

These are not the isolated incidents. This picture is common almost in all the subordinate courts irrespective of the districts or States. Whenever a Judge of the subordinate court becomes strict or refuses adjournment he is to face humiliation. In such cases, the Lawyers also go for Boycott of the court for indefinite period.

Question comes whether the words “Learned” do match before their names? Has any Lawyer right to give slogan in side the court room or court premises? Can State panelled Lawyer humiliate a Judge in side the court room by taking the side of an accused? Any man of prudence will say “no”. I have failed to understand why the State Bar Council is silent on that issue when one of the aims and objects of the Bar Council is to uphold the honour, dignity and the independence of the Bar and the Bench.

Be aware that this holy institution being the pillar of the Indian democracy and the last resort of the common people for justice may not loose trust and confidence of crores of Indians at the hands of those modern Kalidas who are cutting at the bottom of the holly institution sitting on its branches

(Biplab Roy is West Bengal based author and analyst. He can be reached at [email protected] . The views expressed are his personal.)

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