Now the Bar Council Of India has introduced another qualifying exam, which has become mandatory for the advocates to qualify to become eligible for practicing before the court. It's a post-enrollment qualification. I also wish to inform you that one of the reasons why fees has been raised is to discourage disinterested souls to pursue the legal courses. Interestingly, Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), which is a centralised test for admission to prominent National Law Universities in India has come into effect.
I am not saying that all will be well but the way reforms have hit the legal world, I am sure there will be positive developments in legal world. And please, don't blame the lawyers alone for fall in their standards. There are many factors, which have led to fall in standards. May be the people sitting in air conditioned rooms don't realize that a lawyer's job, at all stages, is the toughest one. It's no joke to be an advocate either you are successful or unsuccessful. The worse aspect is that in the very beginning the lawyers get moulded into wrong mindset. Half of the lawyers wish to make more money as quickly as possible instead of becoming aware of the art of advocacy. Much problem is faced by the advocates hailing from rural belt. Rarely they are able to argue before the court as even today the arguments are delivered in English at High Court and Supreme Court.
In my early years of practicing, I came to notice strange attitude of seniors towards their juniors. Most of them are obsessed merely to have huge numbers of juniors as showpiece items for their chambers. Most of the seniors treat their juniors as bonded labours. This is very demoralizing for the bright minds, who joins a chamber to have better legal insights. Unless you happen to be related with lawyers relation-wise, the chances of receiving legal tips are remote. Even the bench when comes face to face with dumb freshers never fails to taunt the seniors. However, a senior cares a damn.
Worse, a young lawyers is made used to abusive language and corrupt practices, which one of my friend so well expressed in Hindi:" Is ko kholna bolte hai"( This is called making one get prepared to bear the harsh realities with ease). However, the greatest setback comes when after spending many years in chambers a lawyer emerges as a middleman. All he/she can do is get as many cases from one's native place,pass the case to the seniors and you leave the scene with your commission. No wonder, this has made lawyers treat their clients as milch cows.And thus,the case remains pending for many years. Of late, to make students have first-hand-experiences of court room a new topic called Moot Court has been added into the syllabus. However, lack of infrastructure has not made it flourish in true colour.
Law is a jealous mistress. It doesn't tolerate any other side-by-side professions. Against that backdrop, just imagine how cruel it is to talk about the higher standards ? Once the officer gets an appointment in either private or government job the said officer receives host of facilities. Let me please know from those, who complain about falling standards,as to what our system has to offer to these young and promising lawyers ? Barely nothing. In fact, even the bench too is guilty of disappointing and discouraging lawyers when it allows not young lawyers to present their case merit wise. Instead, the bench dismisses their case if that's not on par with their likes and dislikes which a bench hails as its "discretionary power". The idea to treat case format wise and not merit wise is a negative and disastrous trend.The bench should avoid it.
They make their own ways with no help from anybody. They do not have even a seat on which they can sit and relax. From senior's chamber to courtroom and back again to the chamber, they keep shunting from morning till midnight. In between they have to go through huge number of books and files. They have also to deal with policemen and High Court officials in confrontation mode. I would love to know is there any other profession that offers as much complexities and risk as one comes to witness in a lawyer's life ?
To hell with stereotyped versions about the role and presence of lawyers. In reality , this profession is just not meant for average or chicken-hearted souls. So just not undermine the role of lawyers. True, a fall in standards is strikingly noticeable but then do take note of the fact that greater efforts are in action to resurrect the image of lawyers. Entry of global patterns and increased salaries of government lawyers are attracting better minds and that's a good sign.
Allahabad High Court
National Law School Of India University, BANGALORE