Mr DJ an elderly small time businessman went to court, because the then Bishop of Bangalore was selling Church land to a powerful land mafia. I am not going to talk about the case here. The case unfolded some startling truth about our lawyers.
When the case was registered, the page in which the entry was made was mysteriously torn off. Therefore summons could not be issued to the land sharks. Then the lawyer fighting for Mr DJ leaked out all the case details and preparation that made the other party have an upper hand in preparing their defense. Finally DJ got monetary aid through a philanthropist and hired a good lawyer and won the case.
A friends Dad was fighting a case against an illegal commercial construction that had come up in his neighborhood. Even in this case, lawyers of both parties got together, exchanged files and prolonged the case for their monetary benefit.
Another neighbor, a retired couple gave their house for rent and moved to their expatriate son’s house. The tenant broke the walls inside the house and made cubicles that she let out as accommodation for working women. Here too, Lawyers of both parties worked together to keep the case going without conclusion.
And there are thousands more such cases. A little bit of enquiry with a friends Dad who is a Supreme Court lawyer revealed some disturbing facts. Unlike the US, here in India laws governing professional conduct of lawyers is practically non existent and what little exists is outdated. It is next to impossible to stop your lawyer from sharing information with the rival lawyer and as a rule lawyers get together and prolong cases. If a lawyer does not appear in court when a case is called, he can get away with an explanation like a traffic jam.
Lawyers getting pulled up for misconduct or malpractice happens but in the rarest of rare cases. And what is disquieting is the fact that there is no debate or discussion in the media or anywhere about this. Nor does the government seem interested in changing the situation. Lawyers are a united lot, and as a result clients fear to complain against them because no lawyer will take his case after that. There is absolutely no way the common man can get his lawyer to discharge his legal duties as per laid down rules as the rules are almost non existent. The lawyer always acts in his interest, never in the client’s interest.
Why are we, the fastest growing economy in the world so slow in changing our outdated laws? A death of a colleague about which I wrote in this post, bought to fore the ridiculous traffic laws we have. Rules are regulations governing lawyers is the urgent need of the hour and a step towards speeding up trials and clearing back logs.
As William E. Gladstone rightly said: “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”
But is anybody listening?