Law: a noble profession?

Law: a noble profession?

It is generally forgotten that law is a profession. It is not a commercial undertaking operating on the law of demand and supply enabling lawyers to charge extortionate fees. It is not suggested that lawyers live on love and fresh air. However, law in essence is a service-oriented profession. Roscoe Pound touched the essence of the matter: "Historically, there are three ideas involved in a profession: organisation, learning, and a spirit of public service. These are essential. The remaining idea, that of gaining a livelihood, is incidental." In today's age and times, these basic truths are forgotten. At the release by former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachaliah of the book, Legends in Law by V Sudish Pai, we were reminded about the great judges and lawyers who have left their indelible footprints on our jurisprudence and who practised the profession of law in a grand manner in a spirit of public service. The great judges and lawyers who have been brilliantly portrayed by Pai are of different nationalities and hail from different parts of our country. The common underlying golden thread is their quest for fearless justice and keen desire for equality and respect for human dignity. A feeling of awe and reverence is generated as we witness the procession of the greats unfold before us. They include judges like Sir Barnes Peacock, Sir Lawrence Jenkins and Justice Asutosh Mookerjee of the pre-Independence period. Of the post-Independence period, there are M C Chagla, the first Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court after Independence, and also Supreme Court judges like Justice Vivian Bose, Justice M Hidayatullah and the great citizen judge, Justice K Subba Rao. Legendary lawyers of pre-Independence period include John Duncan Inverarity and Sarat Chandra Bose and of the post-Independence era amongst others are H M Seervai and Nani A Palkhivala. These greats may make us believe that law after all can be regarded as a noble profession.

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