Research co-ordinator,  yashi singh




Mahatma Gandhi (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India, died January 30, 1948, Delhi), Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian lawyer, nationalist, community leader, and scholar who has become the founding father of the people against India’s British rule. As being such, they began to be regarded as his country’s father. Gandhi is widely known for his peaceful resistance doctrine. Gandhiji always wanted to provide services to the community. His theory included the approach towards obedience towards to law. He has given lot of writings on how law is important for the change in society. In this article the concept of equity has been discussed which fascinates him a lot, his various works have been described. In this article the author has also discussed about the evolution of lawyers and their work and most importantly their relationship with their clients. The author ahs also shown light on the ADR mechanism and law. Author has given his views on Gandhi’s ethics in practice of law and his reasoning supporting his views.


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is not just a name but an ideology per se. His canons were quite liquid. The linchpin of his ideology was that his approach was person centric. “The individual is the one supreme consideration” he wrote in YOUNG INDIA 1924. Before a political leader, Gandhi was an irreproachable lawyer[1] He was termed as a mystic who has accidentally entered into the harsh realms of law where the traditional concept of being an attorney was to compromise the truth and Gandhi, in contrast had absolute quest for truth. For him truth was equivalent to god. Gandhi went to England to pursue his law studies but among all the sources that leads to the study of law, he handpicked to grasp legal treatises from tutors rather than advancing to a regular law school.[2] He studied Bhagwat Gita, Sir Edwin Arnold’s translations and religious transits and because of the same his ideology of being an ethical lawyer was emerged out of his spiritual teachings. He was deeply influenced by the English concept of equity which he later enmeshed it with SATYAGRAHA. According to English principle of equity, the verbatim is “party seeking equity must do equity” which subsequently comprehends that a person hunting for justice should be impeccable in his doings. He backlashed any unethical practice considering law and determined to secure the interest of community above the limited interest of his clients. There is one of the incidents where Gandhi relinquished his rights to advocate for his client as he hoodwinked Gandhi by furnishing the wrong information and that’s how Gandhi adhere to the rule 3.1 of Model rules where it is enunciated that lawyers are prohibited to bring in claims “unless there is basis in law and facts in doing so that is not frivolous”.[3] A client cannot conceit facts and in this case the client admitted that he deceived Gandhi by skewing the information.


He had no place for insular though he empirically mentioned in his book “experiments with truth” that he had conspicuously applied his credence in real life situations. In Dada Abdulla and Co. v. Tyeb Sheth, Gandhi witnessed the case not just from the perspective of the lawyer but also a human in pursuit of greater truth and discernment, he consecutively appraised some pointers which were delay in proceedings, hefty fee structure and uncongenial skirmishes[4]. He was enormously perturbed by the situation lawyers were encircled in where they have to primarily compromise veracity at the cost of bigoted scheme of their clients and at that juncture, he proclaimed that it is crucial to observe the statements from every possible side as truth has “many sides” according to Jainism.[5] He propounded that the potential solution to the above case was submitting the case to arbitrator who decreed in support of Gandhi’s client, he admonished his client to welcome moderate installment payments from the defendant otherwise arbitrator would have obligated the defendant to insolvency.[6] Henceforth, the whole idea for the arbitration was to settle the dispute without any remote conflicts which could exacerbate the situation.

ADR was Gandhi’s arsenal in the field of law as the bedrock of arbitration was respecting humanity in turn which honor’s each other view and avoids future conflict.


There is also a convention in Model rules that the lawyer cannot behave like a judge or jury by zealously uttering the truth at the expense of his client’s need and there is one such incident where Rustomji was to import Indian goods to South Africa. Rustomji unveil the fact that he is a smuggler and to this Gandhi eloquently told him to surrender as there is no better virtue than truth itself. He said that this is the viable solution to his problem as this way he can debilitate his punishment and also the penalty. Above all he will be able to live the untarnished life which will assist him to renounce smuggling[7]. As a result, there was no jail for him and the retribution was minimal. Though it was a brave action from the side of Gandhi as it was not in anticipation to Model Rules but he asserted that he has benevolence to community rather than realizing the partial interest of his client.


In my view, I concede to the Gandhi’s ethics in practice of law. We are well equipped with the fact that crime is not a new evil in the society, it has existed since time immemorial whether in antiquity at the time of Gandhi or in contemporary at this juncture. Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist affirmed that concepts like hate, crime and jealousy cannot be scraped, it can only be overcome. So today in modern times there arises a same dilemma of whether to plump for ethics or client’s interest. I believe that now is time when we should start mulling about community rather than getting ourselves entangle in capitalism which has been clearly reduced to fragmentary pieces considering this current pandemic of coronavirus. We have always been given the choice to be a giver or receiver but in my standpoint, the profession of law which is considered to be sacred should be treated alike. We always tend to blame people, government and big honchos around us but we forget that the human revolution has to be started from us. The above statements are not based on the whims and fancies but proper reasoning which are-

  1. Gandhi has applied the ethics in real life situation like Ahmedabad mill workers incident in 1918 as a satyagraha which was a huge accomplishment as both workers and owners compromised after indulging in arbitration through Gandhi himself.[8]
  2. If a lawyer confronts a case where there is no confession from the side of the client, then it is best to abide by the facts given by the client unless he diverges from the truth.[9]

Thus, it could be painstaking to propel the truth over the client’s interest but the one who has lion’s heart is worthy to remember.






[1] Review: Jinnah vs. Gandhi by Roderick Matthews, DAWN.COM (2013), (last visited Jan 12, 2021).

[2] Supra Note 1

[3] Charles Fried, The Lawyer as a Friend: The Moral Foundations of the Lawyer-Client Relation, (1976), The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 85, No. 8, pp. 1060 -1089.

[4] Paul Lannon, A Lawyer in Pursuit of Truth and Unity: Mohandas Gandhi and the Private Practice of Law, (2011) 44 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 665.


[6] Everybody must believe in culture of settlement: CJI Dipak Misra THE ECONOMIC TIMES (2017), (last visited Jan 12, 2021).

[7] Paul Lannon, supra note 4.

[8] Paul Lannon, supra note 4.

[9] Paul Lannon, supra note 4.

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