There was a time in pre-independence India where advocacy was considered to be a royal profession among the Indians. At that time, law was considered more as a passion rather than as a profession.
This can be proved by the fact that most of the eminent personalities of the pre-independent India held a law degree. Even “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi was an advocate by profession, after taking his name there left no need of counting the names of other famous freedom fighters including the father of Indian Constitution Dr BR
Ambadkar. Even today, the President of our country and most of the leading Parliamentarians are having a lawyer background.
A career in law is very relevant in today’s time. No other profession touches human lives in such varied ways. The drive to stand up and speak for justice, a burning desire to help the client, willingness to go to any extent to fight against injustice and social evils are the ethic of this profession.
A lawyer's role is not confined to the four boundaries of the court hall. Being an intellectual, besides his court works, he spares his time for the sake of the society.
The legend Madhusudan Das who is the pride of our State acclimatized with various problems of the people; he channelised his legal profession towards upliftment of the socio-economic conditions of Odisha. In this process, he could firmly establish the glorious identity of the Odias through the establishment of the separate State.
A lawyer is no doubt subordinate to the court in so far as he is subject to the disciplinary authority of the court but all the same he cannot be characterized as a subordinate officer of the court, in addition to being professionals, advocates are also the officers of the courts and play a vital role in the administration of justice.
In our Constitution , law is formed by the legislature and implemented by the executive and the judiciary is the custodian of law and the lawyers play a pivotal role in justice delivery system.
The legal profession is a noble profession and the lawyer provides assistance to the needy persons so that the rule of law may be maintained in the country. A lawyer is not a salary holder like the bureaucrats, he maintains his livelihood by diffusing his legal skill.
His life is full of struggle; everyday he has to do a lot of home work to face his opponent in court hall as like a shoulder in the battle field. Wining a case gives him eminent pleasure rather than getting fees from his client. All is not well with all advocates, the pettifoggers who strive to survive in this profession have a miserable life.
There is a proverbs “ appearances are deceptive” means things are not what they appear to be on the surface. We are often misled by the external appearance of some advocates.
An advocate immaculately dressed does not prove that he is affluent. Governments have no compassion to the lawyers; in every financial year the Government implements welfare schemes for different sections of the society but seldom do they give any attention to the practicing lawyers. It is unfortunate that some financial institutions have an “unwritten code” that denies credit cards and loans to the lawyers.
Governments show promptness if any Government employees go for agitation and buckle to their demands within a span of time . But in case of lawyers , the Governments hardly show any heed. It all happens as the Governments trust more on the bureaucrats rather than its legislature. There always is a tussle between the bureaucrats and the lawyers over egotism. It is evident from a number of instances that some bureaucrats try to establish their supremacy over the lawyers on the strength of their official possession and post. They feel as if the lawyers are their sub-ordinate staff but they forget to know that they are public servant and duty bound to serve to the public for which they are paid salary.
On the other hand the lawyers are independent and duty bound to argue with the bureaucrats for their client’s right keeping in mind that officers will “come and go”, but clients should not go from him.
By the way he builds up a bitter relation with the officers, in turn he falls prey to the officers fury and faces allot of huddles in his professional life. There are some senseless officers in police department whose arrogant attitude leads to faceoff with lawyers.
Lawyers are being misbehaved and manhandled on the public platform by the police. It is evident from a number of instances that despite the protest and cease-work by the lawyers demanding immediate arrest of policemen involved in the attack, the Government shows scant response to act against them.
In the sum-up, the lawyer seems to be superfluous for the Government; as such their demands are being overlooked. Since a long time, the lawyers of western and southern Odisha have been holding stir demanding High Court bench in their respective places. But neither the Central nor the State Government has shown a keen interest to the demands, while court works and legal services in these districts have already been hit.
(The writer is an Umrakote-based lawyer and journalist)