He said that senior lawyers should not treat their juniors as slave workers merely because the senior themselves had to learn the law the hard way during their early days in the profession.
That is an excuse which is used in colleges to rag juniors, he added.
“For too long we regard young members of our profession as slave workers. Why? Because that is how we grew up. We can’t now tell young lawyers that is how we grew up. This was the old ragging principle in Delhi university. Those who were ragged always ragged people who were below them because it was passing on blessing of being ragged. Sometimes it got very bad. But the point is seniors today cannot say that is how I learnt law in the hard way and therefore I will not pay my juniors. Those times were very different, families were smaller, there were family resources. And so many young lawyers who could have made it to the top never made it for the simple reason that they had no resources,” he said.
In this regard, he highlighted how it is difficult for juniors to survive in big cities without adequate pay.
“How many seniors pay their juniors decent salaries? If you are staying in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or Kolkata how much does it cost for a young lawyer to survive. Even in a place like Allahabad, a young lawyer coming in from another district, you have to find place to stay, rent to pay, transportation, food. Our young lawyers do no even have chambers where they are paid money. That must change and the burden of doing that is on us as senior members of the profession,” he said.
He was speaking at the felicitation organised for him by the Bar Council of India (BCI).