“Court boycott, a concept unknown to the world, began in Tamil Nadu, spread to other parts”
Litigants do not pay lawyers with pleasure. They do so in desperation and with immense hope on the advocates to find out a solution to their problems. Hence, it is the bounden duty of practitioners of law to help their clients get substantial justice, according to P. Jyothimani, Judge, Madras High Court.
In his inaugural address at a two-day workshop organised by the Madurai Law Academy on Constitutional, Civil and Criminal Law here on Saturday, he said that a lawyer who fails to spend time visiting libraries, listening to lectures and attending seminars and workshops, in order to update his knowledge on a day-to-day basis, cannot assist his clients effectively.
“Of late, some lawyers have cultivated the practice of leaving the case to the discretion of the judges. How can you say ‘I leave it to your lordship’ when it is you who had taken the fees from the clients? What can the lordship do? If a deserving litigant does not get justice, it is only the lawyer who has to take the blame for not having represented the case properly,” he said.
The lawyers had brought upon themselves a bad impression about them in the society. Court boycott, a concept unknown to the world, actually started in Tamil Nadu and spread to other parts of the country. And it is generally the will of a minority group of lawyers that prevails over the majority. “I feel that the majority of senior lawyers must take a lead and put an end to this menace,” he said.
The judge said that dispensation of moral instruction classes from school curriculum was one of the prime reasons for deterioration of values among the younger generation. “Those classes need to be revived. Once while interacting with the Education Secretary in a public function, I asked him who gave a go-by to the institution. But, as a typical bureaucrat, he said that he may have to look into the files,” he added.
Listing out the duties imposed upon a judge and the services expected of him for the larger good of the society, he said: “I was leading a healthy life in my 27 years of practice as a lawyer. But in the last seven years since I became a judge, my blood pressure has increased substantially. I am waiting eagerly for the day of liberation from this post.”
In his presidential address, M.S. Jawaharlal, chairman of the academy, said that education without discipline would not make any impact on the society. Stressing the importance of inclusive education, he said that there would also be no point if only a section of the advocate community participated in such seminars leaving behind the rest in dark.
“We must reach the erring advocates too and bring them to these kinds of workshops. There is a blot in the advocate society itself. We have to embellish ourselves. One judge rightly remarked that there is a sway from Constitutional democracy to populist democracy thereby leading to mob rule. Advocates have paranoia over the judiciary but they fail to realise that the institution must be saved at any cost,” he said.
Isaac Mohanlal, general secretary of the academy, said that a peculiar privilege endowed upon lawyers was that they belong to a profession which requires continuous learning. A lawyer may retire but the learning process should never retire. He recalled instances from the lives of eminent lawyers such as Fali S. Nariman, Nani A. Palkhivala and others to drive home his point.
“The legal acumen, mellifluous voice and stylish presentation of Mr. Palkhivala is such that the judges would be benumbed by his arguments. One judge had reportedly advised the other judges not to pass judgements immediately after his arguments without allowing sometime for the magic of spell cast by him to vanish. Such is the greatness achieved by him. Yet he never misses to attend law seminars.”
“When Nani Palkhivala was at the pinnacle of his profession, one young journalist asked him as to what he would ask if God appeared before him. Mr. Palkhivala said that he would ask for one more life for he had a few more books in his library to read,” Mr. Mohanlal said and impressed upon the need for learning.
The academy’s joint secretary, M. Vallinayagam, vice-president A. Sivaji, treasurer A. Thirumurthy, and convenor K. Swamidurai participated.