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  • Writer's pictureMihir Govilkar

Pro Bono Publico - An Introduction

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

Simply translated from Latin, 'Pro Bono Publico' means - 'For the Public Good'. This blog is an attempt to bring to the general public, some analyses and some research for a better understanding of the law and the current happenings from a legal perspective.

Over the years, I have observed that the understanding of the law has been very minimal among the general populace in India; and instead of having an understanding of the law and having a feeling of being protected by the law being prevalent, the people whom I had encountered, had the feeling of fear and apprehension of the law. People prefer not to approach the Courts, one of the reasons being a lack of understanding of their rights, in addition to their fear of the protracted litigation and the legitimacy of the legal advice they will receive. There are also several misconceptions about the law and the judiciary in general, that is further precipitated by the portrayal of the Courts by the movies and the TV shows, which are basically focused on the entertainment value, rather than depicting the true and correct version of the reality. There are very few depictions in the movies or on TV, which give a proper picture of the proceedings as they happen in the Courts. More often than not, one sees the Advocate yelling in the Court and the Judge banging the gavel shouting in equal measure - 'Order! Order!'. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, lawyers yelling in Courts are looked down upon and the Judge does not even have a gavel in front of him/her these days. A relic of the past, kept alive by the over zealous directors of the movies and TV series. What this has led to, is the utter disappointment of first-time visitors to the Court, who expect to see a very passionate lawyer shouting for justice for his client, who, in his opinion has suffered such injustice as would put the society and the entire system to shame.

This disappointment increases for the uninitiated when he finds to his dismay that the blind lady of justice with the balance of justice in her hand is missing, as also the so-often seen scenario of the witness being administered the oath by placing his hand on the relevant Holy Book. This portrayal of the hand being placed on the Holy Book has been so ingrained in people's minds that very recently, when I took a client to get his affirmation done in the Court, he was only able to remember and recite the famous words used in Hindi films, but not the simple sentence that the Court officer was asking him to say.

It is a travesty that the knowledge of the common man about the law and judiciary of the country is not up to the mark. It is the belief, that we, the Partners of Govilkar & Associates LLP hold that when the common man is made aware of his rights and duties that the law gives him and when these are explained to him in as simple a manner as possible, there is a strength knowledge endowed upon him. A well-informed citizen is to the advantage of the society overall. It helps avoid the unscrupulous elements in the society in taking advantage of the honest and trusting, who usually are not in the habit of suspecting whoever comes across their paths. Unfortunately, we also see so many people being led astray by incorrect advice either intentional or due to lack of experience. There is even well-meaning advice proferred, but not from a legal professional, which many a time, turns out to be based n half-baked knowledge. We trust a doctor when he tells us something, because we don't really understand medicine. Even if the words used are English, they have no meaning for the most of us. On the contrary, for a lawyer, the words in English are quite common and all the laws are in English. People who understand English, should read the law and try to understand it. But, if they have to act upon it, a lawyer's consultation is crucial. A lawyer, due to his study and experience, not just looks at one particular law, but also looks at several other aspects relevant to the situation to give a comprehensive consultation and advice to the client.

It is with a great sense of responsibility towards the fellow citizens of India, that we, the partners of Govilkar & Associates LLP embark upon this initiative to try and educate whoever wishes to read our views and opinions on this Blog titled 'Pro Bono Publico'. We aim to publish articles, which would include our analysis of a judgement or an order or a new law; and sometimes, even our analysis or opinion about any particular current event that in our opinion, the general public would be interested in understanding in a better manner. It is also our endeavour to have a section on the website dedicated to some 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ's), where we shall attempt to answer questions that are being asked to us on a regular basis. If anyone has any particular question about the law, they are free to write to us and we shall try to answer that on the Blog or in the FAQ's, wherever possible, so that the general public can benefit from it as well. We are, however, unable to give any legal advice about anyone's particular circumstances through this website.

It is our fervent hope that we are able to provide to the community at large, some service that may benefit all in securing their rights and remedy any violations thereto.

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