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Lost Reverence

Written by: Osama Suhail - Advocate - New Delhi
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Law as a profession has undergone sea change. A revered and honoured profession has become synonymous with immorality and corruption. A highly challenging degree has become easiest task to achieve. We find that our neighbour exclaims with jubilation and envy when someone in the locality cracks Medical or Engineering or Management Entrance examination but why not same emotions of jubilation and envy appears when someone cracks Law Entrance Examination. . In order to obtain Degree of MBBS, B.Tech, or Management, one is ready to pay exorbitant amount of money. But when option ceases, no place left to get admission, people opt for Law. This contributes largely in the lost reverence to the great profession of law.

A simple demand and supply theory can cut the picture clear. Lakhs of student appears in Medical Entrance Examination. Due to the limitation of seats, only few get admission. Hence, they get good attention from their teachers; get better facilities etc. Obviously, finished product is going to be of good quality. But in case of Law, good number of students are those who has failed to get admission in Medical or Engineering etc or who have completed their graduation degree and feels that law is the only profession where one can start earning of his own right after obtaining the degree and other category is of those persons who sincerely wants to pursue law as a profession.

There are more than hundred colleges which are providing degree of law either through 3 years or 5 year course or even through evening courses. As result of these wider options in number of colleges and the mode of availing law degree, obtaining admission in the course of law is not all that tough. Every year thousands of law graduates take entry in to the Bar. They start practicing. The only hurdle between degree and practice is enrolment. Due to this unchecked entrance of thousands of students every year, we observe at the court, plethora of incompetent lawyers.

A natural corollary of poor policy in this direction leads to a corrosion in the legal -system. Scene at District courts are pathetic.

Mob of lawyers attacks a person entering into the precincts of the Court. Lawyers bargain like vendors to win over the client. Such scene is horrific and embarrassing, if you wish to become a lawyer.

These incompetent and under-nourished lawyers are not good enough to understand the intricacies of law. They indulges in crooked means like giving bribe to Court or to its staff, liaison work, etc to get favor for his clients. Thus, whole legal set up suffers miserably. These lawyers more often than not demand for adjournment. These practices demean the image of lawyers as a whole. But the big question is, who is responsible?
There are other factors responsible for great inflow of lawyers every year.

They are:-
Since age is no bar like in Delhi University, retirees from different professions get admission in law colleges and make law as a means to achieve livelihood for rest of the life. Secondly, judicial officers after retirement start practicing in the court of law.

Taking stock of the situation, Bar Council of India has introduced five years course commonly known as law-integrated course. If one feels for law and are motivated enough to pursue law as profession then only they opt for five years course. But precarious situation will not improve by this single step. Moreover, simultaneous option of getting degree through three years course should be reconsidered. It is most humbly submitted that there is immediate need to overhaul the whole scheme to wipe out this ever-deteriorating images of lawyers. I, therefore, submit following measures:-
a. There should be a switch over from 3 years course to 5 years course at all India level. All law colleges and universities providing 3 years course should be given 4 years notice to develop their system to meet requirements of 5 year course. After expiry of this period 3 years course should be banned at all India level.

b. Evening course should be immediately banned.

c. There should be age limit to join the course. 5 years course makes it mandatory that applicant should be less than 21 years at the time of application. If suggestion number (a) is accepted then this suggestion may be ignored.

d. Retired judges should not be allowed to practice in the court of law. They should be accommodated at various committees and commissions appointed by government from time to time.

In accepting option No. (a), above, there are various rival arguments.

Firstly, Law is a society oriented sensitive subject that needs to be taught to a matured mind. A student who has just passed XII examination is not expected to be mature enough to understand the subject. I suppose this argument is nothing but a call from status quoist. It is devoid of sound reasoning. As time has advanced, learning and understanding capacity of the child has increased sharply. For the same reason C.B.S.E. has introduced a very challenging paper for science student from the year 1997. Vehicle of success moves in top gear not in reverse or first gear.

 2nd argument against switch-over is that during graduation student would have options to get to know about other fields. Moreover, Civil Service aspirants have to wait for five years before appearing for prelims. As a result, they have to wait for two extra years as compare to Graduates form other fields. Perhaps keeping this consideration in mind there is provision in the Bar Council Rules that provides after completing three years of integrated course, a student of BA. LLB would have option to leave the course and walk out with B.A. Law (Hons.) Degree. It also implies that after three years student of BA. LLB is entitled to appear in the prelims of Civil Services Examination. Thus, it is an option with extra advantage.

Law is the only profession where practitioners are addressed as learned. Unchecked and unregulated policies have lead to the lost reverence of once honoured profession of Law. There is pressing need to take reformative steps in this direction. In this endeavour, legal educationists, practitioners and judiciary have to join hands to wipe out this image of lawyers. Collective effort can only get back the glory and reverence attached to this profession of law. Embryonic lawyers have to pledge that they will not indulge in acts that demean this profession.

The author can be reached at: suhailosama@legalserviceindia.com / Print This Article

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