GANDHIJI’S THOUGHTS ON THE LAW AND THE LAWYERS
The judgment of the (Bombay) High Court in the case of the Satyagrahi lawyers is, to say the least, highly unsatisfactory. It has shirked the issue. The logical outcome of the judgment should have been punishment and not a postponement of it. The lawyers in question had shown no repentance. So far as the public know, they win be ready to offer civil disobedience should the occasion arise. The issue having been raised, the lawyers did not ask for mercy but a clear decision. As it is, they do not know where they are.
The learned -Judges have laid down principles of legal conduct which, in our humble opinion, are open to question. For instance, what is the meaning of “those who live by the law must keep the law”? If it means that no lawyer may ever commit a civil breach without incurring the displeasure of the court, it means utter stagnation. Lawyers are the persons most able to appreciate the dangers of bad legislation and it must be with them a sacred duty by committing civil breach to prevent a criminal breach. Lawyers should be guardians of law and liberty and as such are interested in keeping the statute book of the country ‘pure and undefiled’, But the Judges of the Bombay High Court have presented to them a mercenary view of their profession and have even confounded the functions of judges and lawyers. The only escape from the intolerable situation created by the judgment is for the respondents to have the case restored to the board, reargued and to ask for a final decision. Fortunately the Judges have left the course open to the Satyagrahi lawyers
Young India, 22-10-1919, p. 1