Legal profession is considered as a noble profession. The nobility of the legal profession is maintained by the adherence and observance of a set of professional norms by those who adopt this profession. It is known as legal ethics or the ethics of legal profession.
Ethics define how individuals choose to interact with one another. Ethics also involves the learning of right and wrong and doing the right thing.
In India, Chapter II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules lays down the professional standards that the advocate needs to maintain.
One of the areas of application of the fundamentals of legal ethics is the Conflict of Interest. A lawyer is, at times faced with the question of whether to represent two or more clients whose interest’s conflict. Quite aside from his ethical obligations, the legal systems of the world generally prohibit a lawyer from representing a client whose interests conflict with those of another, unless both consent.
It may not be in the technical sense, but we see a glaring conflict of interest when the reputed law firm, Dandapani and Associates represent clients against the State of Kerala. At a time when advocate KP Dandapani is the Advocate General (AG) of Kerala Government, is it ethically correct for his wife, advocate Sumathi Dandapani and son, advocate Millu Dandapani to appear against the State of Kerala?
It is also found that advocate Millu Dandapani is a Standing Counsel for more than 50 government institutions. With such a strong clout at the government level, is it fair that the firm represents clients against the state government and some state government institutions?
It is also understood that the Secretary of the Kerala Bar Council had initiated disciplinary proceedings for “unfair practice” against Advocate General Dandapani for letting his wife and son to conduct cases against the state government. Following a writ filed by Dandapani, the High Court of Kerala on February 2, had stayed the proceedings initiated by the Bar Council.
As a reputed law firm and as the Advocate General of the Govt of Kerala, the least that is expected from them is to take high moral ground. With such unethical practices, the people of this state are sure to lose their faith in the judicial system. It is high time the judiciary and the government wake up and take cognisance of this fact.
In a very simple search, it was seen that Dandapani and Associates have taken up more than 25 cases against the State of Kerala in the year 2015 alone. If such unethical practices continue, very soon we will see ‘legal profession’ losing its tag of being a ‘noble profession’.