Language as Rorschach

The Bar Council of India submitted a report to the Supreme Court on the Patiala House violence. Consider the tone, tenor and language of the report (and keep in mind that this is the umbrella organisation of lawyers speaking. Emphasis mine):

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has sought to justify the attacks by lawyers on others as a “reaction to the incidents, which are grave in nature and very dangerous for the country”.

In other words, the job of lawyers is to “react to incidents” with violence.

This led to the untoward incident in which “both the sides took part,” said the report…

True. Both sides took part. One side did the beating-up, the other side got beaten up. Equal participation, equally culpable.

“Whatever might be the background or reason, the class of advocates is not supposed to indulge in the incidents of abusing or untoward occurrence on the court premises, that too in [their] robes,” said a resolution.

Yeah — that’s the problem: their robes. The least the lawyers could have done is taken off their “robes” before beating people up.

(It’s a different matter that the IndiaTodayTV sting showed lawyers inviting journalists to join in the fun next time. See from 7:20 on, in this video, where one of the lawyers tells the reporters to come along next time. Just wear a black coat, he says, don’t worry, we will take you with us, there will be no problem. The speaker — Yashpal Singh — is, incidentally, a former additional secretary of the Bar Council. Earlier in the video, he is heard saying that he intends to bring a petrol bomb next time, and if jailed, will go to Kanhaiya’s cell and beat him up there).

As to the crux of the BCI probe, this is what it found:

While informing the Apex Court of its decision to constitute a three-member panel to probe the incidents, BCI Joint Secretary Ashok Kumar Pandey said a large number of JNU teachers and students and others had arrived at the court in three to four buses and raised slogans and used “provocative words”.

The account, say JNU faculty members who were present that day and who were subjected to the lawyers’ peculiar sense of duty, is totally false. And the faculty’s statement is backed by violent lawyers themselves — in their own words, they were not reacting to any “provocative words”; the violence was predetermined and planned.

When the umbrella organisation of lawyers justifies assaults — “unfortunate” is the strongest condemnation the BCI can find — why are we surprised when such incidents take place?

Re-plugging the IndiaToday video below, just for the record:

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