23rd Jan ’12

The software hub called me to experience my first brush with journalism. Bar and Bench is a renowned online portal for reporting legal events of significance to law schools. Portals like these are extremely important for law students, especially in an ultra competitive environment where one needs reliable information. I grabbed whatever journalistic opportunity came my way, and it came in the way of Bar and Bench.

One such event in Bengaluru that caught my attention was the Advocate’s protest in mid Jan. The whole affair got blown out of proportion with the Police, Advocates and Journalists all at loggerheads with each other. One is amused how a small spark went onto create an explosion. Intelligence and wisdom it seems does not exist in persons who are vested with utmost responsibility of protecting the citizens (police), fighting for their rights (lawyers) and making them aware (journalists). The irony lies in the fact that citizens were the worst off. Let us take a look at what really happened between the lawyers and law enforcers, and how journalists became a part of this ugly tussle.

In the scorching afternoon of a busy Tuesday, the police stopped an advocate and asked for his driving license. It somehow led to a heated argument with the advocate assaulting the police; in return the police thrashed the advocate.  What took place next makes one scrunch up their eyebrows in dismay and shock. A huddle of very wild lawyers came out in support of the advocate by protesting against the alleged ‘atrocity’ right in the middle of the road. The tussle stranded traffic for almost 7 hours with school children, patients, ambulances, facing the brunt of the beggar’s description like situation. The furious lawyers arrogantly sat down in the middle of the road and demanded the familiar word which we all call as ‘justice’. The police filed a criminal complaint against the lawyers. They refused to attend the court by virtue of being on a ‘protest’. With the police and advocate community playing ‘tag-you’re it!’ journalists too joined the blame-game. When journalists went to cover the protest march by the advocates, they too got beaten up by the hot blooded legal community. Now journalists are on a ‘protest’ against the advocates.

With Anna Hazare paving the way, going on a ‘protest’ has sort of become fashionable. Everybody seems to protest against everybody. The constant fight for ‘rights’, has made all of us archaically fundamental in our approach. Like Islamic fundamentalism, liberal fundamentalism, ‘right to protest’ will soon join the league of fundamentalism. Suddenly this socio-legal awareness of rights presents a bitter-sweet situation. Sweet, because the aim of making society socio-legally aware finally seems pragmatic; bitter because this righteous onslaught leaves one with the right but forgoes everything in the process of achieving the same. The present issue could have been solved by the effected parties, but like the parents of two lovers who are shunned by the norms of society, interference lead to a divorce in the factions of the state. This feline sensitivity will turn us all into liberal versions of the Taliban. In brief, the questions that should have been raised are

  1. Why did the advocate hit the policeman in the first place when asked for the driver’s license?
  2. Why was the traffic stranded for 7 hours, where was the police then?
  3. Why hasn’t a suo moto cognizance been taken or a PIL filed in this matter to address the grievance faced by those stuck in traffic?
  4. Why lawyers have suddenly resorted to beating up the police and journalists?
  5. Is feline sensitivity conducive for the growth of a democracy?
  6. Has democracy become a representation of ‘vehement disagreement’ than ‘peaceful discourse’ on multifarious issues? (Watch this space for my next post on this issue)

Who do I protest against?

 

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