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The Indian Legal Profession

Flailing and Failing at Self-regulation

For those who are aware of the true state of India’s legal profession, the mobs of lawyers attacking Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar within the premises of the Patiala House Court, under the benign gaze of the Delhi Police, would not have come as too much of a surprise. Lawyers disrupting court proceedings and acting in a violent frenzy, with little or no control by the police, is not an entirely new phenomenon in India. Similar incidents have taken place in the Madras High Court campus in 2009, in Bengaluru around the time of Member of Legislative Assembly G Janardhana Reddy’s trial in 2012, and most recently, in February 2016, in Lucknow over the death of a lawyer.

The only distinguishing circumstance of the latest outbreak of lawyer-led violence is that it took place a few hundred metres from the Supreme Court of India and, tellingly, in the teeth of the order of the Supreme Court to the police to ensure a peaceful environment in the court.

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