Law as a profession has become a business over the years, which is a matter of concern, union Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal said Sunday.
“Lawyers have always been regarded as providers of service. That is why law is a profession. Over the years, however, I found that it has become a business,” Sibal said at the 21st annual convocation of the National Law School of India University.
Quoting Scottish lawyer Hugh Patterson McMillon that “practice of law was more than a mere trade or business”, Sibal cautioned the graduating law students from falling into the trap of wanting to make a monetary killing while providing service, as the relationship between a customer and a businessperson was not of personal trust.
“The relationship between the client and a lawyer is a relationship of trust. Never breach the trust. Always keep the trust at the forefront of the service you provide. Keep the compensation part as an element which is of least priority,” he said in his presidential address.
Asserting that each law had an emotive societal foundation, Sibal advised the budding lawyers to grapple with the real world and look at the soul of the law to serve the cause of justice.
“A law without a soul is like a human being without a heart, lifeless and static. Bring life to the law through interpretation. It is for this reason that many a judge look at the purposive intent of the law when interpreting its cold print,” he noted.
Sibal, a practising lawyer, also had a world of caution to the judiciary on interpreting the law.
“Judges are required to look at the circumstances and reasons for which the law was passed. When interpreting, judges must be cautious not to over-stretch its intent or bring their own predilections to bear upon its interpretation,” he said.
Observing that enacted laws should be a clear set of unambiguous enunciations, not given to multiple interpretations, Sibal said such laws could be misused to destroy the cause of justice.
“Parliament is the cauldron of that transformation which must reflect the concerns of society not yet reflected in extant laws,” he said, citing the societal benefits of the Right to Information Act and the Right to Education Act, ensuring children free and compulsory education.
Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam conferred the degrees to 121 students, including 74 graduates (B.A.LLb), 42 post-graduates (LL.M), four doctorates (Ph.Ds) and one M.Phil. In addition 436 distance education students were given post-graduate diplomas.
Among graduates, Namrata Shah bagged 16 gold medals and Rishi Shroff six gold medals.
Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadwaj, state Higher Education Minister R.V. Deshpande and varsity Vice-Chancellor Venkata Rao were also present at the occasion