Wednesday, November 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Role and duty of lawyers towards society

The other day there was a lively debate on TV regarding increasing corruption in the judiciary. The participants were two advocates and a retired Chief Justice of India. One of the advocates was the lady who was very vocal. The issue was being blown out of proportion, which gives an impression as if the judiciary alone is corrupt. Even at present, the judiciary is least corrupt as compared to other organs of society, whether politicians, administrators, policemen or traders.

Take the advocates, those practising in the trial courts. They deal with litigants where the case is instituted, a written statement is filed, witnesses are examined and arguments are advanced. So long as the client has not engaged an advocate, he tells the truth. The advocate, instead of persuading him to speak the truth advises him against it. They misguide clients to resort to litigation where the dispute can be resolved by compromise. It is the trial court advocate who introduces falsehood in the petition or the reply, files false suits and complaints to harass the opponent of his employer-client, advises him to produce false witnesses and cross-examines even the true witnesses to show that they are false.

There are criminals who kill innocent persons just for fun, or to terrorise the public. Still others who sell drugs to children and also, who supply illicit arms to the public and use that money for their enjoyment or for waging war against their own country. Many persons indulge in adulteration of essential commodities, prepare milk from urea, vegetable oil from animal fat, and do not leave any commodity unadulterated. They prepare fake medicines and fake articles under reputed brand names to cheat the public. They incite hatred among different sections of society, cause damage to the public property and forcibly occupy the property of others.


 

The question is: should such persons be assisted by the advocates simply because they have plenty of ill-gotten money to pay these lawyers?

Advocates join hands with criminals, actively support them to get them acquitted and thereby encourage them impliedly, to again commit the crime more heinous than the previous one. Are they not creating criminal tendencies in society? Are they not encouraging crime?

These are material issues and should be discussed so that the duties of the lawyers towards society are specified. They should do at least the following.

(1) They should not write anything in the plaint, written statement or the complaint to the court, which to their knowledge is false.

(2) They should not produce any witness who is a made-up one.

(3) They should not harass by cross-examining a witness or the party who has stated the truth. They should be fair to the other party.

(4) They should not get unnecessary dates or adjournments, and should not go on strike.

(5) They should advise and persuade their clients to tell the truth; if they do not, they should refuse to conduct their cases as is done in the western countries.

(6) The criminals who commit offences against children or society or the state should not at all be defended.

(7) The fee to be charged by them should be fixed by either the state or the Bar Council for each type of case, they should maintain the records of the cases conducted by them, and file the list of cases to the income tax authorities showing the fee charged by them. The courts should also maintain the list of cases being conducted by each lawyer and send the same to the income tax authorities.

Let there be a debate about the role of lawyers towards society vis-a-vis criminals whom they undertake to defend to know how far the lawyers are doing good to society.

N.J.S. MAHAL, Chandigarh

Not street rhetoric

Apropos of S. Nihal Singh’s “Standard of political debate” (Nov 9), it is improper to term the befitting reply by our Prime Minister in response to General Musharraf’s use of “bangles” as “street rhetoric.” And it is unfortunate to link hard talk of the Government of India (read BJP) with the Hindutva or saffronisation as preached by the RSS.

Diplomacy doesn’t mean any weakness or meekness. it is a weapon which has to be used and targeted keeping in view the prowess of the adversary. And particularly when it is practised through the so-called “war” of words, there is everything fair in the “war.”

Once and for all, it must be understood that our clever neighbour does not understand soft moves. Perhaps it is in the blood of Pakistani rulers that they can never help hitting at India. The latest example of “bangles” by the General is just another manifestation of our neighbour’s psyche.

If we keep in mind the track record of Pakistan’s relationship with India, it becomes clear that no soft options are left with us. Whether it is debate or LoC or Kashmir, India has to adopt the hard line. America has already displayed the option by taking on Afghanistan despite the hue and cry raised by some pro-Afghanistan sections.

The greatest threat now is to our nationalism. The evil design of our neighbour is to disintegrate our country. If the activities of the ISI are any indication, the dark clouds are hovering not over Kashmir alone.

SUMAN SACHAR, Baijnath (HP)

Sher-e-Punjab

This has reference to the exclusion of Nirankaris from the celebrations of coronation of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Nov 13).

Are we celebrating a religious function of the Sikh Panth or a State Government function of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was a symbol of humanism, secularism and Punjabiat and who established an egalitarian and secular regime 200 years ago?

Was he the Maharaja of only Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, MLAs, MPs, Panches and Sarpanches of all political parties and panthic morcha and not of Nirankaris who are also respectable citizens of the State? Are we not insulting the very principles of secularism and equality of the Maharaja by discriminate exclusion of one segment of society? Can we still call ourselves secular?

Col G. B. SINGH (retd), Patiala

Kerala ayurvedic cure

This refers to the letter "Kerala cures" carried on November 5. The allegations against our medical treatment centre — Santhigiri Ayurveda and Siddha Vaidyasala, Panchkula, a unit of Santhigiri Ashram — are baseless and have been levelled with malafide intentions.

Our Kerala ayurvedic treatment is very effective provided the basic instructions given by doctors are followed religiously. We have engaged qualified masseurs appointed after the necessary approval from our head office.

Most of the patients who come to our centre have ailments declared "incurable". Yet our success rate is pretty good.

MANISH DATT, Local Head, Santhigiri Ayurveda and Siddha Vaidyasala, Panchkula

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