Lawyers and Non-Co-operation by Mahatma Gandhi

[Extract from a speech on Non-co-operation delivered by Gandhiji at Madras on 12-8-1920]

I have suggested another difficult matter, viz. that the lawyers should suspend their practice. How should I do otherwise knowing so well how the Government had always been able to retain this power through the instrumentality of lawyers. It is perfectly true that it is the lawyers of today who are leading us, who are fighting the country’s battle, but when it comes to a matter of paralyzing the activity of the Government,  I know that the Government always looks to the lawyers, however fine fighters they may have been, to preserve their dignity and their self-respect. I therefore suggest to my lawyer friends that it is their duty to suspend their practice and to show to the Government that they will no longer retain their offices, because lawyers are considered to be honorary officers of the courts and therefore subject to their disciplinary jurisdiction. They must no longer retain these honorary offices if they want to withdraw co-operation from Government. But what will happen to law and order? We shall evolve law and order through the instrumentality of these very lawyers. We shall promote arbitration courts and dispense justice, pure, simple, home-made justice, Swadeshi justice to our countrymen. That is what suspension of practice means.

Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, 4th Ed; Natesa, Madras, pp.  528-29 

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