Implementing the land’s laws and interpreting them are different kettles of fish. The various wings of administration may have won battles in the task of ensuring the masses fall in line but have clearly lost the war. The script writers of the country’s Constitution, either in spite of or because of the 120 or so amendments, may not have foreseen the perplexing fallout of the mess that judiciary finds itself in, given its none-too-flattering public image. The officers in the system, barring exceptions, are lately figuring in media reports, not for their Solomon-like judgements but for falling in to the net of sleuths directing their hawk-eyes as it were for unacceptable deviations from norms of public life. This flock of offending officers will do well to recollect and remember the galaxy of country’s legal luminaries who shone like the pole star even during the years of colonial rule. Names of Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901), M. Pathanjali Shastry (1889-1963) and others can be recalled with pride as role models for judges in our times.
Old-timers who have keenly followed the events of the years preceding political freedom of the country can vouch the courage, commitment and exploits of the land’s legal practitioners such as Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das, Chakavati Rajagopalachari, K.M. Munshi and others by virtue of lead role in freedom movement. Even the Leader of Leaders and his close aides have all been legal practitioners of a rare kind.
Those few aspiring to take up legal practice in the erstwhile Princely State of Mysore had to learn the art of getting justice to the aggrieved in the court by seeking admission in law colleges either in the then Bombay Presidency or Madras Presidency. Many among them not only dared to jump into the fray of demanding freedom from colonial rule but also spurned offers of the highly coveted post of judges by the administration in the State. In fact, the nation’s lawyer fraternity have carved a niche for themselves and their profession with their large presence among the masses, including many luminaries in Mysuru, who rebelled against the British Raj and monarchy in the country.
For reasons superfluous to list explicitly, the habit of some to rush to the portals of courts was seen by the wise in society as counter-productive and ruinous. In that backdrop, a report in a section of the press early this week with the heading “12 lakh fake lawyers plague India’s courts” vindicates the above wise saying. The bandicoots of sorts in black coats have done a bad turn to both the profession and its good boys in the trade.