The law grants equal power to a husband and a wife to demand divorce from each other. While divorce can be filed for multiple reasons, the statute provides various grounds on which a couple can decide to end their marriage. Even though the grounds for divorce may vary depending upon the couple’s religion as well as the manner in which the marriage has been solemnised, a few grounds are found to be common across the board.

When a marriage fails, the husband and wife begin to blame and accuse each other. These allegations are not true until proven so in the court of law.
Factors that generally lead a couple to the court are-

This is a no-fault ground to obtain a divorce, where neither of the spouses makes any allegations against another; instead, they just claim that the marriage is broken beyond repair due to irreparable differences between the couple.

Domestic violence is a behaviour involving violence or other abuse by the husband against the wife in a “domestic” setting, such as in a marriage or cohabitation. To deal with this issue, the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was instituted.

While domestic violence and cruelty may go hand in hand, cruelty may be physical, mental and/or emotional. Any act of either spouse, which puts another’s life or health in danger or makes them believe that their life or health is in danger, amounts to cruelty.

Cruelty has been defined under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code as well as under various provisions applicable to marriages under different religions.

Adultery is an act by a married man of having consensual sexual intercourse with a married woman. According to our law, only a man can be charged with the criminal offence of adultery. The wife may, of course, file for divorce as a civil remedy. If, on the other hand, a wife commits adultery, she cannot be charged with a criminal offence. The husband can seek prosecution of the adulterer male and file a divorce petition against the wife.

Dowry is the property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly by the bride’s family to the groom’s family over the promise of marriage. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 constitutes giving or taking dowry as a criminal offence.

Where a spouse is incapable of performing the typical marital obligations on account of mental illness, divorce can be sought. In such cases, the parties can also choose the option of annulment of marriage.

If one spouse abandons the other, for a continuous period of at least 2 years, without a valid and reasonable cause then the spouse who has been abandoned can seek a divorce. However, the spouse who abandons the other should intend to desert and there should be proof of it.

INFIDELITY- The spouse is romantically involved with someone outside of marriage. IMPOTENCY- Incapacity of the spouse to engage in sexual intercourse, either physically or mentally. INFERTILITY- Inability of the spouse to reproduce.

LEPROSY- Incurable skin disease which causes extreme disability making it difficult to perform matrimonial duties. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE- Communicable venereal disease which is spread through sexual intercourse threatening the life of the partner. RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD- Giving up worldly pleasures thereby ostracising matrimonial norms.

NO RESUMPTION OF COHABITATION- The couple refuse to resume their marriage after judicial separation. REFUSAL TO STAY TOGETHER- The spouse moves out of the matrimonial home without any just cause. GUILTY OF SEXUAL CRIMES- The husband has been pronounced guilty of sexual offences;

BIGAMY- The spouse marries another person without obtaining divorce from first spouse.

ILLEGAL AGE- The wife was of 15 years of age at the time of marriage and repudiated the marriage before turning 18.

MARRIAGE NOT CONSUMMATED- Unjustified denial of the spouse to engage in sexual intercourse resulting in cruelty.


Author- Advocate Jeevan Toprani, Gurgaon

Daughters to Have Equal Rights in Ancestral Property

Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 2005

India has been a patriarchal society where there has been unfair discrimination of woman with her rights to inheritance of her Father’s property. This was reflected in laws like the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which did not give women a birth right in the joint family property under Mitakshara coparcenary. The Hindu Succession Act got amended in 2005 with a view to re-affirm the equality granted to women under Article 14 of the Constitution. The amendment provided daughters equal rights in coparcenary property on birth, at par with sons. After the amendment, daughters enjoy the same rights and liabilities as the sons do. Giving women rights in coparcenary property can make them financially strong and stable.
The Constitution of India enshrines the principle of gender equality in its Preamble and Parts III, IV and IVA pertaining to Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles respectively. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. And now as India becomes increasingly aware of the need for equal rights for women, the government can’t afford to overlook, property rights have a deep impact on the society. The need to dispense gender justice raises deep political debate and at times acrimony in legislative forums.

What Is Mitakshara Coparcenary?
• Coparcenary is a narrower body of persons within a joint family, and consists of father, son, son’s son, son’s son’s son. The disparity in the property rights on the basis of gender is deep rooted and can be traced back to the ancient times. Traditional Hindu inheritance laws evolved from the ancient texts of Dharmashastras and the various commentaries and legal treatises on them. In particular, the Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga legal doctrines, dated around the twelfth century AD govern the inheritance practices among the Hindus. In most of northern and parts of western India Mitakshara law came into existence.

• Under the Mitakshara law, on birth, the son acquires a right and interest in the family property. According to this school, a son, grandson and a great grandson constitute a class of coparceners, based on birth in the family. No female is a member of the coparcenary in Mitakshara law. Under the Mitakshara system, joint family property devolves by survivorship within the coparcenary. This means that with every birth or death of a male in the family, the share of every other surviving male either gets diminished or enlarged. If a coparcenary consists of a father and his two sons, each would own one third of the property. If another son is born in the family, automatically the share of each male is reduced to one fourth. The Mitakshara law also recognizes inheritance by succession but only to the property separately owned by an individual male or female. Females are included as heirs to this kind of property by Mitakshara law.
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was seeks to make two major amendments in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. First, it is proposed to remove the gender discrimination in section 6 of the original Act. Second, it proposes to omit section 23 of the original Act, which disentitles a female heir to ask for partition in respect of a dwelling house, wholly occupied by a joint family, until the male heirs choose to divide their property.

Section 6A ( Hindu Succession Act)
The laws got amended in 2005 after more than 50 years with the assent of Hindu Succession Act, 2004 bill by providing daughters equal rights in property on birth, at par with sons. After the amendment, daughters can enjoy the same rights and liabilities as sons. Giving women rights in property has made them financially strong and stable.
 The daughter by birth can become a coparcener in her own right the same manner as the son.

 The daughter can have the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son

 The daughter can now become the karta of the family, and

 The daughter who is alive as well as the one who is predeceased is allotted the same share as is allotted to a son.

Laws reflect the face of society and its evolution over the time. To respond to the needs of a dynamic social system, laws have to be changed and amended, at regular intervals. As far as the basic objective of the Act is to remove gender discriminatory practices in the property laws of the Hindus, whereby daughters have been given the status of coparceners in the Mitakshara joint family system. However, the position of other Class I female heirs should not suffer as a result of this move.
However, it does not interfere with the special rights of those who are members of Hindu Mitakshara coparcenary except to provide rules for devolution of the interest of a deceased male in certain cases. The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and applies, inter alia, to persons governed by the Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools and also

Changes Brought In The Position Of The Women-An Analysis
• Out of many significant benefits brought in for women, one of the significant benefit has been to make women coparcenary (right by birth) in Mitakshara joint family property. Earlier the female heir only had a deceased man’s notional portion. With this amendment, both male and female will get equal rights.

• In a major blow to patriarchy, centuries-old customary Hindu law in the shape of the exclusive male mitakshara coparcenary has been breached throughout the country.

• The preferential right by birth of sons in joint family property, with the offering of “shradha” for the spiritual benefit and solace of ancestors, has for centuries been considered sacred and inviolate. It has also played a major role in the blatant preference for sons in Indian society. This amendment, has made the daughter a member of the coparcenary and is a significant advancement towards gender equality.

• The significant changes of making all daughters including those who are married coparceners in joint family property has been of a of great importance for women, both economically and symbolically. Economically, it can enhance women’s security, by giving them birth rights in property that cannot be willed away by men. In a male-based society where wills often disinherit women, this is a substantial gain.

• The Women can become kartas of the property. Symbolically, all these movement signals that daughters and sons are equally important members of the parental family. It undermines the notion that after marriage the daughter belongs only to her husband’s family. If her marriage breaks down, she can now return to her birth home by right, and not on the sufferance of relatives. This will enhance her self-confidence and social worth and give her greater bargaining power for herself and her children, in both parental and marital families.

The Preamble to the Amending Acts indicates the objective as the removal of discrimination against daughters inherent in the mitakshara coparcenary and thereby eradication of the baneful system of dowry by positive measures thus ameliorating the condition of women in the human society.
Now under the amendment, daughters will now get a share equal to that of sons at the time of the notional partition, just before the death of the father, and an equal share of the father’s separate share. Equal distribution of undivided interests in coparcenary property. However, the position of the mother vis-à-vis the coparcenary stays the same. She, not being a member of the coparcenary, will not get a share at the time of the notional partition. The mother will be entitled to an equal share with other Class I heirs only from the separate share of the father computed at the time of the notional partition. In effect, the actual share of the mother will go down, as the separate share of the father will be less as the property will now be equally divided between father, sons and daughters in the notional partition.

Author : Ms Ekta Jha, 08/02/2018, – World Of Possibilities

Taking legal action in India is viewed as an area full of uncertainties. The process appears cumbersome, cost is unknown and timelines could be endless. Precisely the reason why people choose to live with legal maladies and suffer silently. A large section of society consisting of women, employees, students and senior citizens are hesitant in taking legal action due to above.

But the time has come to empower them by making the legal process simple to understand and remove the opaqueness which clouds the minds of potential litigants.

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While, initially we will be focusing at the district court level, but going forward, we will provide access to all the facilities at tehsil level and ensure that the remote villages can get the benefit of legal knowledge through gram sanchalak of absolutely free.

That’s not all. Anyone in the capacity of a common citizen of this country can take up any matter in the interest of public at large through our soon to come e-Adalat initiative. We will help you by propagating your cause amongst our online community and help you represent your issue with relevant government agency / authority.

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That’s not all, very soon we will be starting a unique facility for practicing lawyers and legal managers through our “Senior’s Chamber”. Here, we will assist the members of legal fraternity to prepare the cases with comprehensive case preparation materials recommended by our experts.

We view as an “Empowering Initiative” benefiting all who are a part of this legal environment. We will ensure delivery of superior legal inputs to lawyers, litigants, law students or a legal enthusiast.

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Let’s overcome and win the RIGHT WAY.

BCI verifying these fake and non-practicing lawyers

The law minister, Sadananda Gowda, said that BCI has already framed the Bar Council of India Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules, 2015. State level committees have also been formed with the help of the State Bar Councils, to get started with the process.

This procedure was initiated after BCI received several complains about lawyers with fake degrees, and unethical standards adopted by many in the profession. It will be completed within six to seven months. The BCI has informed that the exact number of fake lawyers cannot be ascertained as of now, because the total number of such people is not known. The step is being taken with the view to filter the system as those with fake degrees are disrespecting the profession. It will also ensure that non-practicing lawyers enrolled with the State Bar Councils do not avail of the benefits or any welfare schemes meant for lawyers.

A proposal for BCI’s own Lawyers’ Academy has also been brought forward, with the view of instilling professionalism and ethical standards among advocates.

Thus in a few months, India can be free of those who are using fake law degrees and cheating people in the process.

(by Advocate Jeevan Toprani)

Repeat & Sex Offender List for Crimes

It is the need of the hour that that an open registry of repeat offender be provided to all in the country.

There could be criminals living next to you and there would be no action by the authorities.

Let us all request the police to provide us with the list ~!

India is set to have its first registry for sex offenders but government departments and law enforcement agencies are still debating whether the details should be made public, the Home Ministry has told the Supreme Court.

The Centre is sceptical about publishing the information as it could have a negative impact on those who turn out to be ‘innocent’ later and their ‘return to the mainstream’ with their public naming and shaming.

by Jeevan Toprni

Government gives 2 IPS officers marching orders by Adv Jeevan Toprani

The Complaints at the hands of the government are increasing and non performing officers are increasing the system.

Invoking Rule 16(3) of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, the Union Home ministry prematurely retired Mayank Sheel Chohan of AGMUT cadre, 1998 batch and Raj Kumar Dewangan of Chhattisgarh cadre, 1992 batch on January 5. The action was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister.

Every citizen has a right to complaint and be heard. The Judiciary has the right to judge not the policing service but sometime the officers forget their duties and role as an officer – they discard the complaint of the citizens. The Complaint keep rising and reach the desk of the head of state – the choice of the head of the state is to act or resign.

The Citizens will not forget the bad governance of the govt. if action on these bureaucrats is not taken timely. A senior Home ministry official said the action, though not happening for the first time, will definitely serve as a deterrent and force bureaucrats to take their job seriously. “As far as I remember, two Maharashtra cadre IPS officers were forced to go on compulsory retirement some 15 years ago,” said the official.

Read the complete story about the matter

Jai Hind –

Cheque Bounce Issues by Adv Jeevan Toprani

Why you have to be careful about the cheques issue

An overview
Cheques are the most common, safe and authentic way of making any financial transaction in both business as well as personal world. But, what happens when the cheque issued by the payer to the beneficiary bounces? Primarily, dishonoring of a cheque hampers the credibility of the payer and causes unjust inconvenience to the payee. Legally, it is a punishable offence. In India, there are numerous pending cases in the courts on the same that needs to be adjudicated.

What are the various grounds on which a cheque can be bounced by the banks?
Insufficient funds in the issuer’s bank
Signature mismatch
Date mentioned on the cheque is disfigured or unreadable
Invalidity of cheque (As cheque is valid only for 3 months from the date mentioned on the face of the document)
Mismatch in the amount in words and numbers
Damaged or torn cheque
Overwriting/scrawling on the cheque
Any suspicion of forgery/fraud by the bank

What are the main grounds that cause dishonor of the cheque as legally enforceable offence?
In accordance to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, a cheque issued by the payer to the payee to meet any debt/liability, if dishonored by the bank due to following reasons, attracts punishment:-

Insufficient funds in the account of the payer
The amount of the cheque is more than the amount arranged to be paid in agreement with the bank

VAKALAT – (By Vibhava Bhushan Upadhya)

Struggle for existence, rights and self-preservation has always been found since the existence of living being. When people lived in jungles the rule of “survival of the fittest” and “might is right” prevailed. As civilization grew rights and responsibilities began to be crystallized, social behavior were to be regulated and people were required to define relationship with each other and inter-se rights and obligations had to be determined. Unwritten laws of the tribes were enforced by the chief of the tribe and with the creation of families by the head of the families. They were considered to be wise men whose fiat prevailed and was enforced.

Every civilized society requires a justice delivery system. A study of judicial administration in ancient India (Itihas) reveals that originally administration of justice was not a part of State’s obligation. The aggrieved party used to sit in ‘Dharna’ or ‘Satyagrah’ in front of the house of the wrongdoers and did not allow them to move till the claim was satisfied.

With the expansion of State and the royal power, King was regarded as the fountain and origin of justice and gradually an elaborate system of judicial administration came into existence. Various Dharmashastra, Arthshastra and Neetishastra indicate some details regarding justice delivery system. According to these shastras King was the fountain head of all judicial systems. He was required to spend some time for adjudication of disputes among his subjects. His duty was to protect his subjects and punish the wrongdoers. These shastras also indicate the laws that were to be administered. Local usage and customary laws which were not contrary to Dharamshastra were also enforceable. It further indicates variety of courts and their hierarchy.

According to Brihaspati, there were four types of Courts :

  1. Movable Courts
  2. Stationary Courts
  3. Courts deriving authority by the King and;
  4. Court presided by the King himself

The Movable Court was for the benefit of :

  1. Forest dwellers
  2. Caravan-sarai merchants
  3. Military men

Bhrighu also mentions Courts similar to Brihaspati but adds that often a learned “Brahmin” was appointed for the purpose and he was known as Adhyaksh or Sabhapati. In the beginning Adhyaksh was selected for each particular occasion or dispute but in due course of time, he became a permanent officer of the State which was known as PRADVIVAKA. Apart from the King, this Court consisted of Pradvivaka and three or four jurors. The Court of Pradvivaka was subordinate to the King’s Court.

The third Court was known as the Principal Court. In large towns where royal officers assisted by learned persons administered justice and they were presided over by an Adhyaksh appointed by the King.

In the hierarchy of Courts Yajnavalaya adds another Court known as Popular Court and they are Kula, Sreni and Puga. These popular Courts were essentially non-official but they had some kind of royal authority behind them. The government or the superior Courts refused to entertain any suit except in appeal against the decision of these popular Courts. Various shastras mentioned earlier indicate that justice was administered in accordance of laws or rules which fell under one or the other of the following four heads :

    1. Sacred Law (Dharna)
    2. Secular Laws (Vyavahara)
    3. Customs (Charitra) and
    4. Royal commands (Rajsasanadesh)

Dharmashastra constituted the sacred law and secular law depended upon evidence. Custom was decided by the opinion of the people and royal edict constituted the administrative law. Of the divisions of laws, Manu and almost all law-givers consider customs as the essential principle in the administration of justice and say that disputes should be decided according tot he customs of the countries and districts; of castes; of guilds and of families.

Under the British Rule “Diwani Adalat” was established. These adalats used to decided cases on the advice of the pandits and maulvees in dispute relating the personal laws. Later diwani adalats were substituted by a hierarchy of courts with the High Courts as the Apex Court in India and their appeals lay before Privy Council in England. Federal Court in India and subsequently Supreme Court came into existence.

In modern times lawyers play a vital role in the justice delivery system. In ancient India I have not found any role of lawyers in the administration of justice. Although, as per the views of Narada, Katyayuna and Brihaspati, skilled help was required in the litigations. The commentary of Narada Smriti indicates that those who were well-versed in the Smriti could provide help for monetary consideration to the parties that appeared be Court. But there is no indication that this activity was pursued as a profession.

The first mention of someone pleading for the cause of seeking justice on behalf of the aggrieved party is found in ancient Greece where the person seeking justice took the help of an orator to plead his cause. These orators were not trained in laws. These orators faced certain obstacles, the first being a rule that individuals were supposed to plead their own cause. But this was usually by passed because of increasing tendencies of individuals to ask for a friend for assistance. Second, a more serious obstacle was that no one could charge a fee to plead the cause of another. But these rules which were obstacles in the way of orators to plead the cause of any other person as a friend were widely disregarded in practice. However, these rules were never abolished. The result was that these orators could not project themselves as professionals during the period of ancient Greece. But such a class of professional emerged during the early ancient Roman period. Originally these persons were not allowed to charge fee for their services, but the ban on fee was abolished by Emperor Claudius who legalised advocacy as a profession. But he also imposed a ceiling on fee. Such a ceiling was not very encouraging for the person to take a profession of being an advocate. However, these Roman advocates were trained like their Greek predecessors in rhetoric and not law. And the Judges before whom they argued were also not law trained.

Subsequently, Rome developed a class of specialists who were trained in law known as “Juris Consults”. These “Juris Consults” were wealthy amateurs who dabbled in law as an intellectual hobby; they did not make their primary living from it. They gave legal opinion on legal issues to all concerns. Roman Judges and governors could routinely consult an advisory panel of Juris Consults before rendering a decision. Thus, the Romans were the first to have a class of people who spent their days thinking about legal problems.

During the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire, Juris Consults and advocates were unregulated. Any civilian could call himself an advocate or a legal expert but their acceptance depended upon the person’s personal reputation. Later the legal profession had become well established and regulated. With the passage of time more detailed regulation of professional men were enforced. By the fourth century, advocates had to be enrolled on the Bar of a Court to argue before it. They could be attached to one Court at a time. There were restrictions on the number of advocates that could be enrolled at a particular Court. The literature on this subject also shows that by later 4 th Century advocates were studying law in additional to rhetoric. The regulation was that an advocate was required to produce testimonies from their teachers. By the 6 th Century a regular course of legal study lasting for about 4 years was required for being an advocate.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, no one in Western Europe could properly be described as a professional lawyer or a professional canonist in anything like the modern sense of the term professionals. Subsequently with emergence of the Church those connected with it and serving the Roman Catholic Church as priests also became experts in canon laws. A group of people trained in law also emerged later. There appeared to be a merger of the two activities i.e. lawyers and the priests. It appears that there was shift and some men began to practice canon laws and civil laws as a legal profession. There was an effort to regulate the legal profession and canonists of the Church. Some countries in Europe, for example France mandated that lawyers had to swear an oath of admission before practicing in the Bishop’s Court of the region. Subsequently similar conditions were imposed to appear in Civil Courts. By the middle of the 13 th Century, the nucleus of a new legal profession was clearly formed in Europe. The Civil Court in England also joined the trend towards professionalization and a statute was enacted that prescribed punishment for professional lawyers guilty of deceit and subsequently the Mayor’s Court of city of London promulgation regulations concerning admission procedures for lawyers including the administering of oath.

By the end of the 13 th Century a group called apprentice of common law bench emerged. Originally these apprentice were individual attending to become serjeants under the supervision senior serjeants or senior apprentice.

A lawyer is an officer of the Court because the power of admitting a lawyer to practice law is judicial in its nature and is vested in the Courts. Law is not a mere private profession but is a profession which is an integral part of the judicial system of the State and in this sense also the lawyer is an officer of the Court who should uphold the dignity and integrity of the Court. He must exercise, at all times, respect for the Court both in word and action. He must present all matters relating to his client’s case openly and fairly. He should be frank and candid in all dealings with the Court using no deceit.

Legal profession first seems to have emerged in 13 th and 14 th century. At that point of time there were two types of lawyers ‘Serjeants’ (Pleaders) and Attorney. They were basically amateurs, serjeants appeared to argue on behalf of their clients while ‘attorneys’ used to deal with procedural matters, because of their experience they were highly sought after by litigants and they started charging fee also. At time attorneys appears in individual cases but later they started appearing on the basis of general power of attorney. However, all restrictions were removed and law was passed granting litigants the right to appoint and use attorney. These lawyers practicing on full time basis created a budding legal profession.

The British rule in country imported their judicial system in India with hierarchy of Court. The barristers of England, whether of the English or Indian origin, practiced as professional lawyers or they had to pass the Vakil High Court Examinations conducted by the High Courts.

History of legal profession in India can be traced back to the establishment of British Courts. Bengal Regulation was enacted as it was felt that in order to administer justice Courts must have pleading of causes administered by distinct professionals. Only men of character and education, well versed in law could be admitted to plead in Courts and these professionals were subjected to rules and regulations.

When High Court was established in Uttar Pradesh in 1866 it seems there were six types of legal practitioner – 1. Advocate, 2. Attorney, 3. Vakil High Court, 4. Pleaders, 5. Mukhtaars, 6. Revenue Agents.

Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 brought all the six types of lawyers under the control of the High Court. The High Court regulated their enrollment and function even in the subordinate Courts. At the initial stages it was not necessary for a lawyer to be a graduate or even a law graduate to practice law. The High Court used to hold examinations known as Vakil High Court Examination and the persons who were successful in the examination were entitled to practice in Courts. High Curt had the authority to raise the stature of these lawyers from Vakil to Advocates. Some of the famous names of this category of lawyers of the Allahabad High Court are Sir Sunder Lal, Shri Jogendra Nath Chaudhary and Pt. Moti Lal Nehru. Later it became necessary to hold a law degree to become a lawyer.

Bar Counsel Act, 1926 provided the procedure to be followed for enrollment of a lawyer as an Advocate or pleader. Under this Act the High Court had the authority to enroll advocates and frame regulations to regulate lawyers discipline and professional conduct, which continued until 1961. Advocates Act, 1961 was enacted, which provided an autonomous elected body for enrollment of lawyers. And elected Bar Counsels came into existence in various states in the country for the purpose of prescribing course for study of law. It provides for maintain discipline and professional conduct of lawyers. Some power was also given to the High Court to frame rules to regulate the functioning of the lawyers in the High Court or subordinate Court. Under this Act Bar Counsel of India was also created which among others object had the power prepare various
schemes for the benefit of lawyers.

A journey into the history of legal profession clearly shows that the object of this profession was to serve people and to obtain justice for those who were wronged. We have seen earlier that they discharged this function as orators in ancient Greece and Rome, they did so at the request of the wronged person as their friend. No remuneration was charged for this service. These orators they were not trained in law but were experts in the use of rhetoric. Subsequently it was felt that those who plead for the cause of others should have some knowledge of law and ultimately by the medieval period we find emergence serjeants. These serjeants were aristocratic of their times and known as men of law who serve the suffering.

With the emergence of Church, serjeants and priest pleaded the cause of wronged once in civil or canon laws. These serjeants and priests because of their experience gained expertise and we find that these men at times charged fees for pleading the cause. But time and again government of the times Greece, Roman and Medieval enacted laws prohibiting charging of fees or put a ceiling of fee. These regulations were some times violated.

Serjeants were known as men of law and they were known as the persons who serve, we have also come across a period when Attorney was appointed directly by Courts and these Lawyers who were allowed to practice and plead were expected to be men of probity, character and knowledge with desire to serve. The duty of a lawyer is to plead the cause of suffering and for the cause of justice. They were required to take oath which meant that they could reject unjust causes, do not seek unjust delays, do not charge excessive fees.

The profession of law is considered to be honorable and we usually mention that we are member of the honorable profession. The reason being the obligation and desire to serve people in distress, to serve as an officer of the Court, to help the Court in the process of dispensation of justice and not merely to win cases. My father joined the practice of law in 1925 he approached a senior lawyer to give him some tips about the profession and the senior lawyer said “honesty and hard work” are the principle following which success can be achieved in the profession. While talking of the honesty he was of the view that a lawyer should honest to his client, honest to the Court, honest to his adversaries and to himself. While wading through encyclopedia Britannica to know about the history of the noble profession.

I came across a passage which was more or less like the advice given by senior to my father, and I quote “A lawyer like other men has several loyalties to work they include:

  1. Loyalty of his clients
  2. Loyalty to the administration of justice
  3. Loyalty to the community
  4. Loyalty to this associates in the profession and
  5. Loyalty to himself :-
    (a) to his reasonable economic interest and
    (b) to his ethical standards as a man”

These diverse and at times conflicting loyalties must be reconciled with wisdom.

In the race for material propriety we lawyers seem to have given a go bye to the values which made the profession respectable and honorable. With falling standards of morality and lure of material propriety we seem to have converted this profession into a business. The element of service dropped, cause of justice took a back salt and glamour of shining materialism took over. Fingers are raised resulting in loss of respect for the people in the profession. It’s time for we lawyers and men associated with the justice delivery system to do a bit of introspection and resurrect the lost respect and standards of morality in the profession to make us proud of being a member of a honorable profession.

Senior Advocate(Former Advocate General)
Mobile No. 9415317291

Sources :

  1. History of the legal profession “The Bar Council of India”.
  2. Judicial Administration in Ancient India (Itihas).
  3. The legal system in ancient India.
  4. Lawyer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.