Activist lawyers, end political insinuations, don’t destroy common man’s faith in judiciary

New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2019 11:29:56 AM

Referring to this as 'an act of contempt of gravest form', it goes on to establish how denigrating the judiciary destroys the common man's faith in the judiciary.

Supreme Court, judiciary, Rafale judgment, Indian judiciary, High Court of Madras, Public Interest JurisdictionThe relevant para in the judgment which is para 73 refers to how members of the Bar go to the media to criticize Judges and by attributing political colour to the judgments. (IE)

By Alangad Raghunath 

A recent judgment of the Supreme Court of India, quashing Rules 14 A to 14 D as framed in May, 2016 by the High Court of Madras in May, 2016 on being found ultra vires of Section 34 of the Advocates Act, makes interesting reading. What makes it interesting is what the Court said in general and not particularly on the facts of the specific case before it. In fact, it is the anguished cry of the Learned Judges on the conduct of certain lawyers and their cronies, who can be en masse described as “activist lawyers”. From a lay man’s perspective, this is what makes the judgment more interesting and relevant.

The relevant para in the judgment which is para 73 refers to how members of the Bar go to the media to criticize Judges and by attributing political colour to the judgments. Referring to this as ‘an act of contempt of gravest form’, it goes on to establish how denigrating the judiciary destroys the common man’s faith in the judiciary. It also adds that judges who are thus targeted by such activist lawyers in the media and the press cannot even respond or ventilate their point of view.

Justice Arun Misra, who spoke for the Court, minced no words when he penned the above paragraph, which essentially hits out at the recent tendency of the “activist lawyers” to fight their political battles by misusing the Public Interest Jurisdiction, commonly referred to by its acronym ‘PIL’.

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There is no doubt in anybody’s mind as to what events impelled and drove the apex court judges to add the above para in the judgment, giving voice to the anguish the judge felt in the recent times.

Similarly, after the Rafale judgment, considerable criticism was leveled by some activist lawyers. Certain lawyers and their vested interests thrive on spreading innuendos that destroy even a common man’s faith in Indian judiciary – what can be more appalling than this?

This judgment further goes on to lament that the methods employed by the coterie of such “activist lawyers” are making it more difficult to render justice in a fair, impartial and fearless manner. The situation is demoralizing and something has to be done by all concerned to revamp the image of the bar.

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These observations by the Learned Judges, through their judgment, are a fitting answer and a rejoinder to the means and tactics adopted with ulterior motives by the “activist lawyers” to pressurize and brow beat the judges to submission. Even though strictly speaking, the above observations may be obiter, but we can understand that this really is an anguished cry of an agonized court.

Hopefully, the agony of the court voiced through the judgment would not fall on deaf ears and expectantly, the lawyers’ concerned and even media persons restrain themselves from acting in any manner which may bring the judiciary as a whole into disrepute and also cause the common man from losing faith in the judicial system of the country.

(The author is Advocate on Record, Supreme Court. Views expressed are personal.)

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