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Opinion » Editorials

Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 12:04 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 12:04 AM (IST)

The dignity of the robe

Argue in courts, don’t take to streets
The dignity of the robe

The sight of lawyers raising slogans, waving flags and blocking officers of the law from doing their duty is distressing, to say the least. So much so that a Bench of the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Bar Council of India, the Jammu and Kashmir State Bar Council, the state’s High Court Bar Association at Jammu and the Kathua District Bar Association. Thereafter, the Bar Council of India weighed in and has decided to probe the misconduct of lawyers regarding the Kathua rape and murder case and constituted a committee to do so. 

There have also been instances when lawyers have sought to interfere with the smooth functioning of the courts, and even obstructed judicial proceedings. Unfortunately, the sight of men in black robes collectively protesting in streets as they seek to address their grievances publicly, unhappy one as it is, is not so unusual. People, who seek justice on behalf of others from the courts, sometimes forget who they are — and what they represent. 

Lawyers are required to defend their clients, no matter how heinous the crime. Even this fundamental right of an accused — to get legal representation — is sought to be violated by some groups of lawyers, from time to time. Such behaviour is not expected of them. The Kathua rape case has shocked the nation. There should be no interference in the work of the police investigation and the filing of chargesheet.  The din of political and sectarian noises needs to be blocked out consciously by all those engaged in the judicial processes. These should be allowed to function unhindered by considerations other than legal. The Supreme Court did well by taking suo motu notice of the matter and by rapping the Bar associations concerned on their knuckles.

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