Sir — It is most unfortunate that the Bar Association, a body representing 5,500 lawyers of the Calcutta High Court, decided to skip work for a day (“Justice delivers, lawyers won’t”, Jan 22). These lawyers seem to be unaware of the consequences of stopping work like that. The chief justice, A.K. Mishra, was informed of the Bar Association’s decision through a messenger. Right after the message was delivered, most lawyers left the courtroom. But the chief justice spent more than an hour after that clearing pending cases which did not require the presence of lawyers in the courtrooms.
The reason cited by the lawyers’ association for stopping work on a busy day was that it wished to commemorate 150 years of the country’s oldest high court. This proves that the lawyers of West Bengal are no different from their counterparts in the bureaucracy, who will dig up one or the other pretext to avoid work. It also proves that the lawyers are apathetic to their responsibility towards the litigants, who visit the court day after day — and some of them travel a long distance to do so — with the hope of getting justice.
When Mamata Banerjee first came to power, she displayed tremendous zeal to revive the disoriented work culture of West Bengal. It seemed at first that she wanted to change the system followed by the erstwhile Left regime by putting an end to the bandh culture and the politicization of various institutions. But she started showing her true colours pretty soon. Now it seems that her only aim is to woo her vote bank with populist policies and holidays galore on any and every occasion. This attitude, hugely detrimental to an already decaying work culture, seems to be infecting the judiciary as well.
In this context, it must be remembered that the mass protests against the gangrape in Delhi were not only an outburst against the failures of the government, but also a wider backlash against the failing administrative machinery and judiciary. The lawyers who took a day off on January 21 must not forget that many of the litigants may have had to miss a day’s earnings in order to attend court. With the number of pending cases burgeoning each day, the judicial system must undergo a thorough overhaul as soon as possible. Only then can a timely resolution of cases become possible.
Subhankar Mukherjee, Borehat, Burdwan
Courage to know
Sir — The news report, “Topper who split books” (Jan 25), was quite touching. Prema Jayakumar and her brother deserve applause for their will power. Prema has topped the all-India chartered accountancy finals fighting severe financial constraints; her brother, too, has cleared the exam. The sacrifice made by their parents must be appreciated as well.
Reportedly, Prema’s parents — originally from a family of farmers in Tamil Nadu who later shifted to Mumbai — had to sell their land in their home state to educate their children. Prema’s father, an auto driver in Mumbai since 1994, has also spent most of his savings on his children’s education. Her parents did not show any gender discrimination in their children’s upbringing. Prema must be congratulated for doing justice to the care and support her parents gave her. The mutual trust and dependence between the siblings have helped both of them achieve this goal.
R. Subhranshu, Chandernagore
Sir — Prema Jayakumar, who topped the all-India chartered accountancy finals, and her brother, Dhanraj, who also cleared the test, used to save their father’s money by splitting their books into two parts and taking turns to read each half. Their father did everything possible on his part to educate his children. This is a story of indomitable courage and determination that can become an example for many. The Jayakumars’ accomplishment proves that success comes only to those who are ready to take the challenge, come what may.
Debolina Chakraborty, Digboi
Sir — The news of the success of Prema Jayakumar and her brother is a welcome respite from the recent spate of depressing news pouring in from all over the country about atrocities against women. One hopes that Prema’s achievement will inspire young students, especially girls, to fight against all odds and fulfill their dreams. If girls bring laurels for the family and the country then the attitude of parents towards the girl child may slowly change. So such feats as those of Prema and other brave girls need to be recognized.
E. M. Adithyan, Edapal