Lawyers Who Lower the Bar Must be Punished

Published: 04th October 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2015 12:36 AM   |  A+A-


The Madras High Court, for the first time in its history, recently decided to telecast its court proceedings live. The reason was to ensure trouble-free proceedings. It appears that during the hearing of a contempt petition against two Madurai Bar Association leaders, a busload of advocates from Madurai landed in Chennai. They surrounded Court No. 4, created an intimidating situation, raised slogans showing disrespect to the judges, and disrupted court proceedings.

The Madras High Court is one of the premier high courts in India. It has been presided over by erudite judges of exceptional ability such as Justice Muthuswami Aiyar. It can also rightly boast an independent and illustrious bar. It is really painful, indeed shameful, to witness lawyers, who are supposedly members of a noble profession, behaving like hooligans. Incidents like those resorted to by Madurai lawyers unfortunately reinforce the general public image of lawyers, which is not flattering. Whatever be the merits of the contempt petition, it is imperative that the offending lawyers be awarded exemplary punishment. Some senior advocates of the Madras High Court are not in favour of telecasting live court proceedings. But exceptional situations require exceptional remedies. Bad examples are infectious. The virus of defiance of judicial authority and the notion that lawyers are above the law must be severely curbed. Shakespeare’s ominous statement in his historical play, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”, must remain a theatrical flourish and not be translated into reality.

Ignoble Nobel Controversy: The Nobel Peace Prize Committee, which nominates persons for the award of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, is held in high esteem for its impartiality and wisdom. This impression has been dented by Geir Lundestad, who was the secretary of the Nobel Committee for 25 years. In his recent book Secretary of Peace, he has said that the current leader, Kaci Kullmann Five, is weak; the previous one, Thorbjorn Jagland, was actually a fool; and the one before, Ole Danbolt Mjos, had not a clue about foreign policy. He has further alleged that for the 2009 prize, US President Barack Obama had failed to live up to the committee’s hopes; that one member almost quit in disgust at the award to climate campaigner and ex-US Vice-President Al Gore in 2007; and that one member spoke out against any prize for a Pope. The committee issued a rare statement, accusing Lunderstad of breaking a 50-year confidentiality rule. It further said that he was being evicted from an office at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, where he served as a director and attended meetings, without a vote. The ignoble war of words has taken some of the sheen out of the prize and cast a shadow on the committee’s forthcoming selection of laureates next week. However, the committee stoically maintains that the prizes would speak for themselves. Let us wait and see.

Scam Law Reporter: It is reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached five flats in and around New Delhi in the name of cousins of ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP choppers deal. According to ED, its investigators found that the proceeds of crime of this deal were allegedly used by Tyagi’s brothers to acquire the properties. Sources said the stated value of the posh dwellings is just the book price, and that the actual market value could be many times more. This is a shocking scam. Sadly, people, after initial anger and revulsion, tend to forget about it as many other scams are floating around. It is regrettable. There is need for a legal reporter called the Scam Law Reporter. It should contain all the details and dimensions of a scam, the stage of investigation, initiation of criminal proceedings and outcome. Scamsters must be exposed and prosecuted. They should not be permitted to escape public scrutiny because of diminishing public memory. A monthly issue of the Scam Law Reporter is the need of the hour. It should be made available to all persons determined to rid the country of corruption.

Sorabjee is a former Attorney General of India

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