Lawyers must face fitness tests to appear in court: SC

Amit Anand Choudhary | TNN | Sep 12, 2015, 06.33AM IST

TNN

The bench said the interest of justice would suffer if the counsel conducting the trial was physically or mentally unfit on account of any disability and this should not be allowed.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has said that lawyers should be put to mental and physical fitness test to be prove their eligibility to conduct trials in criminal cases and to ensure that litigants don’t suffer on account of their incompetence.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Adarsh K Goel said the Advocates Act and the relevant rules needed to be reviewed to incorporate a provision for giving fitness certificate to an advocate to appear in court. The court’s observation came while rejecting the plea of the Uber rape case accused who sought recall of witnesses on the ground that his lawyer was incompetent.

“Perhaps time has come to review the Advocates Act and the relevant rules to examine the continued fitness of an advocate to conduct a criminal trial on account of advanced age or other mental or physical infirmity, to avoid grievance that an advocate who conducted trial was unfit or incompetent. This is an aspect which needs to be looked into by the concerned authorities including the Law Commission and the Bar Council of India,” the court said.

The bench said the interest of justice would suffer if the counsel conducting the trial was physically or mentally unfit on account of any disability and this should not be allowed.

“The interest of justice may suffer if the counsel conducting the trial is physically or mentally unfit on account of any disability. The interest of society is paramount and instead of trials being conducted again on account of unfitness of the counsel, reform may appear to be necessary so that such a situation does not arise,” it said.

The bench said in the name of fair trial, the system could not be held to ransom by allowing accused to plead for recall and re-examination of witnesses.

“Fairness of trial has to be seen not only from the point of view of the accused, but also from the point of view of the victim and society,” it said.

http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Lawyers-must-face-fitness-tests-to-appear-in-court-SC/articleshow/48930799.cms

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