CJI concerned over falling standards of legal profession

Altamas Kabir

Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir today expressed concern over the falling standards of the legal profession and said the weaknesses in it needs to be rectified.

"Look at the standards that we have set for ourselves. How far have we been able to maintain them? How far have we been able to maintain during the fifty years these standards, these values? There are many reasons for the falling standards," the CJI said at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Bar Council of India (BCI).

"Lawyers are sometimes not fully and adequately ready during matters of the court and these are weaknesses that need to be rectified. Etiquette and manners can make a world of difference," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Attorney General G E Vahanvati said there was a need to do away with distinction made between lawyers of the trial court and higher courts in designating them as senior advocates.

"We have to recognise the diversity of the Bar. Though the Advocates Act provides for designation of senior advocates, this distinction appears to be reserved only for those who practice in the higher judiciary. Section 16 of the the Act which provides for designation of senior advocates does not make any such distinction.

"Why is it then that it has not been thought necessary to acknowledge the contribution of outstanding lawyers of the district courts who are equally good if not better and equally thorough and equally respected as those given the distinction of senior advocates," Vahanvati said.

The CJI also spoke about the arrears of cases and stressed the need for adopting the alternative dispute resolution mechanism, like lokadalats and mediation for settling the disputes.

"Today dockets of the court are quite difficult to manage. Maybe there are various reasons for it. One is rising population, then the number of cases are increasing. This is bound to happen," he said.

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