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'Lawyers Need To Argue Fearlessly; Adjudicatory Bodies Should Not Be Too Sensitive': Karnataka HC Expunges Customs Commissioner's Remarks Against Advocate

Mustafa Plumber
13 Nov 2021 11:30 AM GMT
Lawyers Need To Argue Fearlessly; Adjudicatory Bodies Should Not Be Too Sensitive: Karnataka HC Expunges Customs Commissioners Remarks Against Advocate
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Orders should not be written with a pen dipped in acid, the High Court observed.

The Karnataka High Court recently expunged adverse remarks made against an Advocate by the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals), while highlighting that lawyers need an atmosphere where they can argue fearlessly.Justice Krishna S Dixit observed,"Advocacy is a distinguished profession affording full scope for the talents of the brightest intellect. A lawyer should be free to put forward...

The Karnataka High Court recently expunged adverse remarks made against an Advocate by the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals), while highlighting that lawyers need an atmosphere where they can argue fearlessly.

Justice Krishna S Dixit observed,

"Advocacy is a distinguished profession affording full scope for the talents of the brightest intellect. A lawyer should be free to put forward creative & generic ideas concerning the case, unhindered & fearlessly, in the free trade of ideas, some "intellectual collisions" do unavoidably occur, they are like sparks of light and therefore are welcome, that facilitates the march of law whereby freedom of citizens broadens from 'precedent to precedent'".

The Judge thus remarked that Courts & adjudicatory authorities should not be too sensitive and they should give a greater leverage to the counsel on feet in conducting their cases.

"The legal profession is of vital importance not only for the administration of justice but also for the rule of law & good governance," it added.

The adverse remarks were made in an order dated March 16. The Commissioner was unhappy with the Petitioner for his skewed understanding of the law.

However, while noting that "intellectual collisions" are bound to occur during advocacy, the High Court observed,

"Novel & innovative arguments come handy in removing the mask and seeing the true face of law & justice. Merely because the arguments of a lawyer are laced with novelty & innovation, at times that may not be to the liking of adjudicating authority, the judgments cannot be couched in unhappy words."

It opined,

"In some occasions that are marked by their rarity, one may transcend the traditional contours of professional conduct. But this happens even with adjudicators as well; the ultimate object is to do justice to the cause; it hardly needs to be stated that the judgments & orders should not be written with a pen dipped in acid; after all 'acidity' affects health, the acidic words rob away the living beauty of the scripts."

Thus, the Court ordered that the impugned portion of the observations in the subject order need to be expunged in the best interest of both the stakeholders, namely, Bar & the Bench. "Such expunction would only add to the beauty of the order in question which is meticulously texted with appreciable articulation."

In its order, the High Court also highlighted the importance of the legal profession. It remarked,

"Lawyers are to the civil society what soldiers are to the frontiers of a nation...Lawyers lend voice to the voiceless; they stand unfazed during social tumult, our Freedom Struggle was led by lawyers. Our Constitution is the child of great legal brains, of course, others too have contributed a lot, cannot be denied."

The court added,

"The great principles of governance and constitutional doctrines like the doctrine of Basic Structure are the contribution of tall lawyers; it is they who draw the chariot of law & justice; words fall short to extol the greatness of this profession."

It added, "However this is not to sanction indiscipline & lawlessness in the adjudicatory process. The horizons of due process of law widen by novelty & innovation of ideas."

Case Title: M.S. Srinivasa v. Union Of India

Case No: Writ Petition No.16518 Of 2021

Date Of Order: 10th Day Of November, 2021

Appearance: Advocate Sourabh R K, for Petitioner; Advocate Pratibha R, for R1; Advocate Jeevan J Neeralgi, for R2

Click Here To Read/Download The Order


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