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Time to make lawyers accountable

I read the article, “Price of negligence” (Oped Page, Aug 1) by R.S. Pathania. He has stated that the Indian Medical Association usually has a soft corner for doctors. In such a situation, the aggrieved can move the consumer forum that is more advantageous. The soft approach exists in other professions as well. In the case of lawyers, the position, however, is quite different.

The lawyers engaged as counsels do not give receipts (as required in the Forum) for having received the fees. By doing so, they could effectively check any action on negligence or deficiency in service. It appears to be the main reason for little or no negligence or deficiency reported in services rendered by the lawyers as counsels.

Secondly, the State Bar Councils, being elected bodies, are generally reluctant to take action against such lawyers being fellow members of their fraternity. The judicial officers (usually retired) in the consumer fora, too, have a soft approach towards the lawyers. Some judges in the judicial courts, too, feel comfortable in giving adjournments causing undue delay amounting to deficiency in service.

The negligence results usually from collusion with the opposite parties. The motive is to cause undue delay for the benefit of such parties who manage things meanwhile. Such lawyers lack the proper outlook about their obligation towards their clients or society as a whole. They harbour the intention of doing wrong or injury to the clients at the behest of the conniving opposite parties. Their motive is only to make money without rendering proper service.

However, if the aggrieved could obtain evidence of having paid the fees and want to sue for negligence, deficiency in service, the lawyers in cahoots would use all the obstructive methods to hinder the filing of the complaint petition in the District Consumer Forum or courts.

Apparently, the justice is all about fraternity help, not the deficiency in service. Despite the recent judgment that the advocates come within the Consumer Protection Act’s (CPA) purview due to deficiency in service to their clients, the Bar Council and the advocates have gone to the extent of pleading before the Supreme Court. This is most unfortunate. On the contrary, the advocates should have been the first to accept negligence or deficiency in serve under the CPA.

The lawyers need to be brought under the ambit of the CPA.


Name the poet

Khushwant Singh, in his column (Saturday Extra, July 24), had asked readers to name the poet whose couplets Budhadev Guha had quoted in his epic novel Madhukari.

The couplets, beginning from Tarruph rog to Chorna accha are from eminent Urdu poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. The lyric had appeared in his popular maiden poetry book Talkhiyan which was published way back in 1944 when Sahir was a student and in his twenties.

This lyric was sung by noted playback singer Mahendra Kappor in the Hindi flick Gumrah (1963). The song was filmed on actor Sunil Dutt. Later, the song was also sung by Abhijeet in his album.

However, I could not trace the name of the poet of the other couplet Gustakhi hum se... But some erudite, Urdu poetry addict must be knowing it and in the process of sending it to you.

Prof JASWANT SINGH, Phagwara

Develop defence to make India stronger

Chandershekhar Das Gupta's article, “Rising China, emerging India” (Perspective, Aug 22) was timely. The world's equation remains changing. Mere five years are not sufficient for drawing conclusions. Presently, India cannot beat China but our defence needs to be updated on priority. After the 1971 war with Pakistan, no war took place except the conflict in Kargil.

The 1965 war has confirmed that the men behind the machines are more important. Indian Vampire aircraft beat Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft due to Indian forces’ high morale, sincerity, unquestionable obedience to their seniors, spontaneous commitment and loyalty to Mother India even by sacrificing their lives. But we forget their sacrifices very soon.

The government’s stand on ‘One Rank One Pension’ is totally undesirable. Pension is a part of soldier’s salary. One’s career in the defence — right from joining the forces till death — is the guiding factor which can help reduce the heavy shortage of personnel in the forces.

The forces should not be treated shabbily; these are not meant for solving the country’s internal disputes since these would also be reduced by mere policemen quite unfit for external wars.

Hopefully, the media would also avoid the use of Colonel, ex-servicemen etc, while reporting stray cases of irregularities. These men are also from India and cannot remain aloof from the basic evils of society.




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