“I, however, request the Orissa High Court Bar Association to take appropriate measures not to jump on unnecessary strike on prima facie picture of a particular incident, without applying wisdom on the entire issue.”
As the cops and lawyers expressed their apology for their respective acts, the Orissa High Court has quashed all the FIRs registered against them.
Justice CR Dash said: “Whatever was done, was done. But the damage that has been done to the general public by a prolonged strike cannot be compensated in any way. I can also feel the plight of marginal advocates and the new entrants to the Bar, who are still working as Juniors, for this prolonged strike. The dignity of the lawyers have however been preserved because of their sincere attempt to settle all the matters, respecting the larger interest of the public by shifting their stand.”
Appreciating the police, the court added: “Moral of the Force, according to me, is the prime mover for the police personnel to act against injustice, control law and order situation and to fight against the criminals and the extremist elements. If that morale is down for any reason today, tomorrow there may be anarchy in the society. The way the matter has been brought to an end by efforts of all deserve appreciation. According to Lassiez Fair Theory, no doubt, the police is a necessary evil for a developed society. But they are necessary to preserve law and order and to provide security to us, so that we can live peacefully and enjoy our liberty in a free and fearless manner.”
The high court lawyers have been protesting since 29th August, demanding the arrest of the three police personnel who allegedly beat up advocate Debi Prasad Pattnaik. While this strike was continuing, on 29th October some police personnel, who were on duty in civil dress were allegedly beaten by some of the advocates. FIRs were registered against members of both police and lawyer community involved in these incidents.
Later, the DGP initiated an endeavour from his side to hold talks with the office-bearers of the Orissa High Court Bar Association and invited them for a talk to be held in the premises of the office of the DGP. The meeting was fruitful and it was decided that both sides shall feel sorry and shall apologise.
Taking note of this, the high court then quashed all the FIRs lodged against the cops and the lawyers.
Repentance Needs Courage, Dignity
While considering the apology expressed by the cops and lawyers, Justice Dash quoted from a poem. The judge said: “I feel appropriate to reproduce here a quote of Bishop Robert South, which I think is apt to the situation and convey the idea that nobody belittle himself by saying “sorry” – “Repentance hath a purifying power, and every tear is of a cleansing virtue; but these penitential clouds must be still kept dropping; one shower will not suffice; for repentance is not one single action, but a course.”
The judge added: “Repentance or feeling sorry for a particular act is not the act of a coward. It needs courage, it needs dignity, it needs proper human values in a person. A man, who can feel sorry, is undoubtedly a courageous and dignified human being.”
Who is An Advocate?
The court observed that much credibility of the Bar Associations in the public eye has had been lost for this prolonged strike.
It said: “If the dignity of a lawyer is lost, everything is lost for him. It is like the virtue of a chaste woman and the health of a living being. If that one is lost, everything is lost. Who is an advocate? A man of dignity, a man who is disciplined in his utterance and conduct, one who is suave, a man who commands respect in the society, a wise man, a logical man, a prudent man, one who is brilliant in his work and steady in his perseverance, one who is courageous, broad and level headed, one who has all the human qualities of benchmark value like compassion, empathy, love for truth and justice, and so 8 on, and in one word, someone who is a gentleman. If one claims himself to be an advocate, he must ask himself whether he has any of the above qualities, whether he is disciplined in his conduct and utterances and whether he is a gentleman.”
Referring to the Supreme Court judgment that had held that lawyers have no right to go on strike or even token strike or to give a call for boycott of court, the court said: “I, however, request the Orissa High Court Bar Association to take appropriate measures not to jump on unnecessary strike on prima facie picture of a particular incident, without applying wisdom on the entire issue.”
The court also directed the government to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of a retired high court judge for checking of recurrence of such incidents in future.
Justice Dash also quipped: “Now-a-days, if someone throws a stone, that may land on the head of a person, who may claim himself to be an advocate, though he may not be a real advocate in the true sense of the term. Any person having a license granted by the Bar Council is technically treated as an advocate. But, in fact, an advocate is one who has got a standing practice in litigation side.”