Mukul Rohatgi, who was the Attorney General of India, till very recently, is aggressively defending a known sinner named Shivkumar. If Shivkumar is ‘pure’, then, no one can be ‘impure’. His declared assets are also like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, there is lot that is still underneath, undeclared and unseen.
The issue is not about DKS, it is about the accomplished lawyers who are defending the indefensible. Why can’t the legal practitioners fight for truth and justice rather than fighting for their crooked clients?? One reason is, in British India, the lawyers took an oath to uphold the dignity of the profession and not fall for the pecuniary gains at the cost of their conscience. Many of these old legal eagles have escaped from such affirmations and that is evident in their conduct. Lawyers, like the doctors, must take professional oath. Doctors around the world have to take the Hippocratic Oath, which is an oath historically taken by doctors, swearing to practice medicine ethically and uphold a number of professional standards.
It may be worthwhile to recall an incident from Lincoln’s legal life. From the moment that Mr. Lincoln became a lawyer in 1837 until his nomination for President in 1860, the law was the center of Mr. Lincoln’s professional life. As a barrister, Lincoln’s strongest ally was truth and, as a lawyer, was always referred to in reverential ways throughout history.. He was believed to be a formidable lawyer when he was on the side of truth and a weakest lawyer, if otherwise. One day, a rich client came to Lincoln with a case in which he was being implicated. The client, quite hopeful of Lincoln taking up his case, explained everything in detail. To his surprise, Lincoln declined to take up the case despite the case being favorable to the client since it was strong on both facts and law. Astonished at Lincoln’s refusal, he asked him the reason for the same. Lincoln said, “ I know, your case is strong both on law and facts, but it is ethically very weak. Therefore, I can’t take up this case”.
Mukul Rohatgi may be masterful in a legal argument before the court. His knowledge of the principles of the law may be extensive and accurate. Yet, he needs to reflect on his own judgement of the cases that he needs to take up.
More than anyone else, it is Mukul Rohatgi who needs to understand that he is practicing in a court of justice and not merely in a court of law!!
Our courts are not just the structures, they still have a soul: Let’s not kill them!