Srinagar: Observing that they constitute two wheels of carriage of justice, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday underlined the need for cordial relationship between the Bar and Bench. It also termed the need for a dynamic relationship of co-operation between the two as “acute”.
“The Bar and the Bench constitute the two wheels of the carriage of justice. The success of the judicial process often depends on the services of the legal profession. The function of both the Bar and the Bench in an adversarial system of dispute resolution are clearly made out, and the need for a dynamic relationship of co-operation between the two is acute,” a division bench of Chief Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M A Chowdhary said.
The made these observations while disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at Jammu wing which was initiated by a coordinate bench of the court on the report of the Registrar General about the impact of continuous strike on the Court functioning in the last leg of the 2019.
While considering the matter on 11 December 2019, the Court had issued notices to several advocates, asking them to show cause in two weeks as to why they should not be proceeded against for criminal contempt of the Court. They were also to show cause as to why they should not be proceeded under Rules 10 and 11 of the Jammu & Kashmir Advocates (Regulation of Practice in the High Court and Subordinate Courts) Rules, 2003.
In response to these notices, the lawyers filed affidavits, giving the details and the same had been taken on record by the court. While the matter remained on board for last about three years, senior members of the Bar sought consideration for appropriate orders.
“We have no manner of doubt while deciding this petition, the Bar Association and its members being conscious of the constitutional position as also laws on the subject to strengthen the justice delivery system and in continuation will also uphold the dignity, honour and respect of the Courts,” the bench said, adding, “We say so as the faith and confidence of the people on Courts shall be the sole survival depending on the approach of the lawyers.”
While the Court noted that there may be incidents which have taken ugly situation not only like the present one but all over the country, it said mostly the matters got settled amicably in the larger interest of maintaining the relation between Bar and Bench.
Appreciating the role an advocate plays in the society, the court said the development of Lawyers as a class of professionals can be attributed to the need for trained persons who can form the competent interface to facilitate the interaction between the lay persons and the judiciary.
“The difference between the legal profession and other professions lies in the fact that what lawyers do affects not only an individual but the administration of justice which is the foundation of the civilized society”.
While the bench underscored that advocate owes a duty to his client in the capacity of a professional, and towards the Court in the capacity of an officer and the friend of the Court, it said: “ This may and often does lead to a conflict. In cases of conflict, as far as possible, the advocate tries to balance his competing obligations,” the court said. “However, where the conflict is irreconcilable, as an officer of the Court concerned in the administration of justice, he has an overriding duty to the court, to the standards of his profession, and to the public.”
The Court observed that Justice is the cornerstone in a democratic society characterized by the rule of law and in an adversarial system, the advocate could be described, to some extent, as a minister of justice.