The Delhi High Court, on Monday, took it upon itself to weed out mediocrity from the legal profession, while dealing with Petitioners who had claimed to have been “let down by their earlier advocate”.
The Petitioners had challenged an order whereby their suit was dismissed in default. They had blamed their Advocate for wrongly noting the date and had now approached the High Court through a new lawyer.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, however, frowned upon the practice, observing, “Such grounds which prevailed with the Privy Council and other superior Courts established in British India, which did not give weightage to and had no faith in the ability of the Indian lawyers, especially in moffusils, to diligently protect the interest of their illiterate clients, ought not to continue to prevail in today’s date and time in independent India.”
The Court then went on to blame the acceptance of such excuses by Courts for the mediocrity that plagues the profession. “Perhaps, it is because of the said grounds having been allowed by the Courts to prevail, that perfection and excellence is lacking in the legal profession and mediocrity has set in. It further appears that if the Courts and the legal process were to demand excellence and perfection, certainly the legal profession would reciprocate and mediocrity will give way to meritocracy. It is time to send a strong signal that mediocrity will not be tolerated in Courts. This will improve the legal system and help it achieve the targets. It is often said, bar is the mother of bench also,” it observed.
Justice Endlaw noted that the practice of a Counsel blaming the earlier Counsel has become rampant, with the former not even verifying the authenticity of such claims with the latter.
Commenting on the case at hand, the Court observed that even though the Petitioners blamed their Counsel for the mix-up in dates, they had not initiated any action against him. It then directed their current Counsel to trace down the earlier Counsel and request him to appear before the Court on the next date of the hearing. The matter has been directed to be listed on 21 September.