Few thoughts on the lawyers-Delhi Police Fiasco

“I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.”
-Auden

It can be said, with no fewer words, that the tussle between the Lawyer community and Police personnel has been long impending and does not come off as a surprise occurrence. The reasons for this differ for both, but at least one is common among them, the power that swims within the person as he/she dons the uniform.

For quite some years now, a large number of makeshift colleges have been pumping into the system, a great number of young lawyers who are not sufficiently equipped, by any standard, to man the courts, get briefs and assist the seniors. For them, the early years at the bar are now turning out to be a disorienting experience with increasingly diminishing returns. The only vestige left for them, after the initial few non-rewarding years, is the ability to boss around their way in trial courts. Increasingly, within them is accumulating a kernel of discontent, waiting for a spark to explode and it often comes around with this display of cheap power. Occasions such as a tussle with the police force comes across as a right opportunity to redeem a collective prestige the degree had promised them through a decent practice. In addition, most lawyers have a belief that police force in India is a piece of rusty machinery full of brutes and mindless savages, which more often not, either purposely trouble the innocent or botch the investigation for the guilty, and therefore deserving of some form of harsh treatment.

On the other hand, the Police personnel, who otherwise also have never really been known for their kind demeanor and sense of reasonability, find lawyers as an unwanted check on their power holding the reigns of law and order they are tasked to maintain. Quite so often lawyers come across to them as less hardworking and yet more worldly rewarded elite class that gets to sit on top of them. It doesn’t help that at least a few amongst us often take extra pleasure in mistreating the personnel for their lack of understanding of legal procedures and court-craft. In addition, the police force itself prides on masculinity and harbors firm belief in resorting to violence to resolve situations. It was only a matter of time before the two collided; it is, for this reason, a clash over parking spiraling into a crisis doesn’t seem so absurd.

The solutions to how things can be resolved, is therefore, more deeply rooted, and yet less likely to be resorted to. So, a makeshift compromise between the heads of the two forces, i.e between the Bar Council President and the Police Commissioner seems the best way to draw the curtains on the issue. On the other hand, if we genuinely want to resolve the issues, a better way to go about it would be to substantially alter the criteria for joining the two communities. There is a need for a more technocratic and sensitized police force, which is trained in negotiations, interrogation, and is made to shun the conviction in virtues of violence. If that’s too inconvenient, a body-cam on them can be a more achievable solution. On the same footing, there is a requirement for better-trained lawyers, who are to be subjected to a proper bar exam and being made to study in fully-equipped colleges. Till then one can only hope that this cycle of hooliganism stops out of boredom.

Image Source – ANI

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