Thoudam Manihar Singh, Advocate, High Court of Manipur

In any state there are different tribes or casts or communities. Only one community or tribe cannot live alone in a society.  Today’s scene of the present society reminds one of Wordsworth’s line, “The wealthiest man amongst us is the best, Plain Living and high thinking are no more.” It is forgotten that the essential difference between business and a profession is that while the chief end of business is personal gain, the main goal of profession is public service. I am proud and privileged to belong the profession of law. Every community of a state are to be united under the Rule of Law of the State. United we stand, divided we fall.

There was a time when a lawyer was regarded with respect. And for good reasons, prominent Freedom Fighters belonged to the legal fraternity and played a leading part in the framing of our constitution. Gandhiji, Pandit Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar to mention just a few are Lawyers and gave up their practice to join the freedom movement and many of them went to jail in the cause of freedom struggle. At present the public image of lawyers is far from flattering. They are seen as fortune seekers rather than seeking to serve, a selfish class, who, on account of their special knowledge and expertise, provide services on such terms as they please. In short, the profession of law is regarded as a money making racket. It may be stated that white is black and black is white according and they are paid. No lawyer in the profession of law is regarded as a noble one. The main reason is that Lawyers, as also other professionals like Doctors for example, have forgotten what is entailed in a profession and their proper role in society.

The present need for the legal profession is to become people oriented and to reorient themselves towards the service of the people.

A Lawyer needs to make money like any other person, and is not expected to live on love and fresh air. But his main purpose and desire should be of rendering service to those who seek his aid and also to the community of which he is a necessary part. If Doctors can have free medical clinics why should lawyers not run free legal clinics. Lawyers must devote some part of their time and services free of charge for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed. The Legal profession has a social dimension. And, the lawyer has a social role to play in society. Lawyers must serve as healers, not makers, of human conflicts and suffering. A Lawyer because of his importance in society and the respect that is accorded to the black gown he dons has certain obligations to discharge both inside and outside the court. His duty to court requires not only that he will be prepared to assist the Court but also that he must be fair in pleading his case before the court. He must not make a statement of fact which he knows to be false. The other phenomenon is the politicization of the profession. We must banish partisan political considerations from issues of affecting the fair administration of justice. To uphold the Rule of Law, we should unitedly fight, with good relationship between the Bar and the Bench, without having any difference on political lines, however high or mighty. The Role of a Senior Lawyer is not merely to familiarize the junior with case law and the relevant statutes. The tradition of truthfulness and fairness are to be exposed to the juniors by Senior Lawyers. There may be “Doctors Dilemma” or “Judges Dilemma”, without obeying blindly to the spirit of “Yes Minister”, with faith in God,  a Judge has to find a balancing point in between Social and individual interest.

Only some arrogant lawyers cannot dignity a court. We are having a beautiful High Court, the High Court of Manipur, with our Hon’ble Chief Justice and two Hon’ble Justices, with its staff of Registry, decorated with eminent lawyers and common lawyers.

A Bar Association is taking an important role in the Court and in the society. Every member of the Bar are filing at least one or more cases before the court. If there is no case there will be no court. In Manipur at present there is failure of law and order problem, which is the duty of the State Government to solve it as it is under entry no. 1 of the State List of the seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Sometimes, some people of Manipur ignore the profession of Advocates, and they regard other Government servants as superior. In my opinion, to solve the law and order problem including unemployment problem, every student should study LL.B. at least more than their other educational qualification. After passing LL.B. Degree a person may or may not be a professional Advocate, but, he knows laws of a country under Rule of Law. Such a person having legal knowledge hardly may commit a crime. Some persons like to be an LL.B. degree holder, by any means, like a Minister in AAM AADMI PARTY in Delhi. It is due to the importance of an Advocate. There may be some other Ministers or persons who are jealous of Lawyers. A person with LL.B. degree is required in Army, Police or other Departments. For private practice in law some lakhs of Rupees is not necessary as it is in entering Government service in present Manipur of corruption. Every citizen must know law, to root out corruption.

Motilal Nehru father of Jawaharlal Nehru was a famous Lawyer of a rich family, supporting Sati Khongnang of Manipur during those days. Some students spend huge amount of money for a Medical seat. But, for LLB seat no corruption is necessary. In every profession or any officer may be IAS, Medical or Politician, knowledge of Law is necessary. You may expect to become  a professional lawyer or an  arrogant  lawyer or a business lawyer, with high building and car. But, if  you like to serve your mother land, you should study law, to help the AAM AADMI, or common people or Micham Miyam. A lawyer will get at least Roti, Kapada or Makan, for hungry not for greedy. Ill got money, ill goes.

All communities of Manipur are having their own lawyers, who knows the history of Manipur existing since 2000 B.C. Being  a Native  of the then Sovereign country of Manipur, different tribes of Manipur including Meitei Tribe before entering into Scheduled List of the Constitution of India lived unitedly in peace. On the midnight of 14-15 August, 1947, sitting  of the constituent Assembly of India at 11 p.m. all members take a pledge of dedication to the service of India. On 26th day of November, 1949 the constituent Assembly adapted, enacted and gave to the people, the constitution of India. But, during those days in the representative Body of drafting committee of the constitution of India, there was no representative from the state of Manipur. India got Independence through non-violence movement of Mahatma Gandhi and not by Gun Culture. It is the duty of a lawyer to educate legal knowledge to the common people. Advocates are regarded as officers of the Court. Law is a rule of conduct recognized by custom in a society. But, if the custom is against the society, like practice of Head-hunting cannot become a law. We are to be law abiding citizens and not law-breakers, taking the law into one’s hands, let us pray for a peaceful state.