Donning Lawyer’s Robes, With No Law to Protect them from Stress

Published: 20th October 2014 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2014 06:02 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: For 40-year-old Satendra Singh, senior public prosecutor at a city court, working for 12-14 hours continuously, including standing and arguing in the court for five hours at a stretch, is a daily routine. However, adopting this lifestyle has taken a heavy toll on Singh, who suffers from high blood pressure and dry eye syndrome.

Singh begins his day by scanning a bunch of files and wraps up the day by  preparing for the next day’s cases. This is his routine on all working days. Currently, he is undergoing treatment at a hospital and is under lifelong medication.

“We have no option but to study and prepare ourselves for all the queries raised by the court during the hearing. For citing laws and judgments, we have to look into law journals which requires a lot of time and concentration. We don’t get any time for doing any kind of exercise,” Singh said.

Singh’s is not an isolated case. A study by a group of researchers from Maulana Azad Medical College here, conducted earlier this month, has revealed that the tremendous work pressure on the lawyers had wrecked their health. Forty-six per cent of the 300 lawyers in the age group of 30-50, on whom the survey was conducted, suffer from stress disorders and 36 per cent of them are hypertensive.

The study attributes reasons for these disorders among young lawyers to lack of fixed work schedules and long working hours.

The research conducted in six district courts -- Dwarka, Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Saket -- has revealed that both the private as well as government lawyers are in the grip of high stress disorders.

B S Chaturvedi, who practises at Patiala House Courts said, “Our work schedule makes us vulnerable to lifestyle diseases that we probably wouldn’t have caught if we were in any other profession.” Chaturvedi spends 16 hours a day rushing across from one court to another.

The study has found that criminal lawyers experience more stress than others perhaps because of the responsibilities involved in their specialisation.

“The nature of work, responsibilities, number of intricacies and above all the fact that lives of individuals are at stake in criminal cases increase the degree of pressure which ultimately results in stress,” the study states.

The researchers have found that of all the professionals, lawyers are most prone to stress, depression and alcohol-related problems.

City-based psychiatrist R K Kapoor said, “I get 8-10 patients every day who suffer from stress. With the growing work pressure and demand for better performance, people end up developing psychiatric conditions. One in 10 patients I see is either a lawyer or a person belonging to law enforcement agencies, and all of them have a common issue of stress because of bad lifestyle,” Kapoor said.

Kapoor recommends that they go on short vacations around the year and spend time with their families as this is the best medicine to keep away from work-related stress.

The study has been sent to various bar associations asking them to arrange regular health camps on court premises so that the health of the lawyers can be monitored in regular intervals.

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