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First Late Shri Mahaveer Chand Bhandari Memorial Lecture Series - Inaugural Address*
by M.H. Kania, Chief Justice of India

Cite as : (1993) 1 SCC (Jour) 1

My valued Colleagues, Brothers Ahmadi and Kasliwal, Hon'ble Minister of State for Law & Justice, Mr Bhardwaj, Hon'ble the Chief Justice & other Judges sitting or retired of the Rajasthan High Court, Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari of Delhi High Court and other members of his family, other Judicial Officers present here, Members of the Bar, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very happy to be here with you this morning to inaugurate the M.C. Bhandari Memorial Extension Lecture Series. The decision of the relations, friends and admirers of the late Shri Mahaveer Chand Bhandari to commemorate his memory by organizing this series of lectures is a happy one indeed.

I have had not the pleasure of meeting Mr Bhandari but from many of his friends and admirers, I have learnt that he was an outstanding lawyer who had a unique combination of endearing qualities. He was charming, amiable and with a pleasing personality. He possessed sound commonsense which was combined with a quick insight and great receptivity. He argued his cases fearlessly and forcefully while maintaining complete detachment from his clients and with full consciousness of his duties towards the Court, which made him a remarkably fair advocate. He had a passion for teaching law and he was known to be extremely helpful to his juniors. He believed that mere achievement of success at the Bar was of no use unless one could render help to deserving juniors at the Bar to achieve success too. To all accounts, he was a courteous gentleman and a most pleasing companion outside the Court. I understand that when any of his juniors was arguing a matter in Court and appeared to be in any difficulty, he would make every effort to go and sit with the junior giving him guidance and confidence. He was a lawyer respected by litigants, brother lawyers and Judges alike. It was the misfortune of the Rajasthan High Court Bar that he died suddenly at the age of 63 years. The old Roman saying goes "Those whom the Gods love, they die young". We can perhaps with a slight alteration, say those who are loved at the Bar die in the prime of their professional career. During the period that he was in practice, he earned the respect and friendship of all. It is indeed in the fitness of things that his friends and admirers have thought of perpetuating his memory with this series of Extension Lectures. There can be no better way to perpetuate his memory than by spreading knowledge.

The first lecture, I understand, is being delivered by Brother Ahmadi on the topic of "Repairing the Cracks in Legal Education". I can only say that what my Brother has referred is euphemistically as a crack is really yawning chasm. We find that our Law Colleges are churning out a large number of lawyers ill-equipped to deal with the tasks that they will call upon to fulfil and without the training which is requisite for a lawyer to discharge adequately his duties to his client or the Court. Without subscribing in any way to an elitist view, one can say that the entry to the profession of law, being an entry to a profession, should certainly be more strictly regulated. When a licence is conferred upon a person to practice as an advocate, it must be ensured that before licence is conferred, the person concerned is adequately tested for his competence to discharge his functions because the licence constitutes a representation to the litigants at large that the lawyer concerned is competent to give legal advice and to deal with the cases entrusted to them. The plain duty of the institution concerned is, therefore, to ensure that unless a candidate is adequately tested for his competence he should not be permitted to practice as an advocate. The result of lowering standards in this regard can only be to subject the litigants to the hazards of entrusting their cases to the incompetent persons to encourage unhealthy competition and lower seriously the standards at the Bar. I do not want to say more about this topic because I am sure that my Brother who is delivering the inaugural lecture will deal with these questions.

There are also a number of other topics which perhaps could be discussed in the subsequent lectures apart from purely legal topics. Some of these are : legal aid, the question of arrears in Courts, the ethics of the legal profession, mutual relations between the Bar and the Bench, the Press and the Law and so on. All these topics are of a high degree of live interest and I am sure that thought provoking lectures on these subjects would be extremely helpful to Judges, Members of the Bar and the litigants alike.

With these words, May I inaugurate the Extension Lecture Series and wish it every success!

* Held in Jodhpur on November 1, 1992 Return to Text

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