I have a large number of friends in Bangalore’s lawyer community. They are not the type who would stone the media or the police. I cannot imagine them, men and women, taking to the streets like hooligans and ruffians. But what has happened to the huge lawyer community to make it get such a bad name in the eyes of the common man in recent months? Have they become a law unto themselves?In January, thousands of ordinary people suffered in Bangalore when there were traffic jams galore. The inconvenience to people rushing to hospitals, for medical appointments, to attend important business or just going about their lives in peace, had to be seen to be believed. And the cause? A major disruption of traffic following action by lawyers who took to the streets. A mob, one can’t use any other expression, of them held that part of the city to ransom. What made matters worse was the stated reason. It emanated from one of the lawyers allegedly being beaten up by a police constable for violating traffic rules!
A few days ago, again there was mayhem, this time the media bearing the brunt of the lawyers’ fury. It was shocking to see images of lawyers behaving like goons. The law wants proof and evidence. What more do they want than these pictures?
Clearly there is more in all this than meets the eye. Maybe powerful political interests are stoking a section of the young lawyers. Perhaps there are troubles within the lawyers associations since the office bearers don’t seem to be able to control their members in any way. Possibly unscrupulous elements have indulged in rioting disguised as lawyers like in the movies.
What ever be the reason, this is no way for educated people to behave, more so when they are supposed to uphold the law. Stereotyping is so easy and I feel sad that the day has come when every lawyer feels the shame of being perceived to be a hooligan.
All are not repentant however, in the paper today, a lawyer was quoted as saying the media’s portrayal of lawyers hurt his wife and son, adding that this behavior should not be forgotten and the media should be taught a lesson!
What about the hurt caused to policemen on duty, and members of the general public many still lying in hospitals undergoing treatment? The cops exercised great restraint and many would say the police looked on and did nothing!
It’s time wiser counsel prevailed. The legal profession must do much more to protect their image from being hijacked by a bunch of educated, qualified but frustrated goons.