There was a time when the practice of law was considered as a noble profession, but now it has turned into a profession of “Goons”. With mushrooming of universities and colleges offering the law degree with low educational standards, entry into the profession has become relatively easy.
“There are law colleges where you may not have faculty, no library or where attendance will not be marked. Law colleges where you have to just go and pay the fees, the rest is taken care of,” the CJI T.S. Thakur said.
Time and again the legal fraternity has proved that the level of profession is deteriorating. In a recent incident at the Patiala House, New Delhi, the behavior of lawyers was shocking as they attacked students who were protesting, members of the public, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and also thrashed journalists. Violation of traffic rules by advocates has become routine affairs. Routine checks by the traffic police are often met with abuse and arrogance by some advocates.
The Advocates Act, 1961, which consolidates the law relating to the legal profession, contains enough provisions to punish such black sheep. Section 35 of the Act provides for the punishment of advocates for professional or other misconduct. The concerned State Bar Council may, either on its own motion or on receipt of a complaint, refer the case for disposal to their Disciplinary Committee. However, State Bar Councils hardly initiate disciplinary proceedings against advocates who indulge in violent practices.
The Supreme Court on March 4th, 2016 decided to set up a Constitution Bench to evolve a filtering mechanism to clean up the legal profession and prevent anti-social elements from becoming lawyers.
Reforms are much-needed in the system as we do not need “half-baked” lawyers besides overcrowding in the legal profession. Some of the much-needed reforms are-
- By regularizing the educational institutes providing the Law degree.
- Also, the BAR Council needs to roll its sleeves up to bring reforms in the Legal education system.
- Entry into the profession should be tightened not only through conducting examination prior to the enrollment, but also a personality test to be qualified by law graduates in order to obtain law degrees from their institutions.
- There is a need to rewrite the code of ethics for advocates.
Besides, there is a need for law firms to draw up a code of ethics for young lawyers working in the firms, so as to keep a check on the activities of the young lawyers as they get influenced easily. Although the code of ethics is already present for lawyers in The Advocates Act, 1961 but they are not adequate.