President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that justice should not only be delivered in time but must also be accessible to the most marginalised of the society.
Emphasising the role of lawyers, the President said there was an urgent need to review the judicial system taking into account current shortcomings, future needs and the changing times.
“Historically, the focus of judicial reform has been the judiciary. The lawyer -- a basic pillar of the judicial system -- has often been ignored. Legal education and continuing professional development must create a socially sensitive lawyer of conscience, for whom justice delayed is not a commercial opportunity but a blemish on one’s professional persona and a failure of the system of which one is an integral part.”
“The ideal Indian lawyer must not only have excellent legal skills, but also embody social responsibility and strong professional ethics. The efficacy of the rule of law depends to a large extent on the integrity of lawyers who are the link between the citizen and the system of justice,” Mukherjee said.
The President was in Guwahati to inaugurate a two-day closing ceremony of the golden jubilee celebration of the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim as well as two national seminars.
“The first generation of judicial reforms in our country established the National Law Schools and have demonstrated that India can have institutions that impart affordable but world class legal education. The second generation of reforms should now focus on continuing legal education of lawyers, judges, judicial officers, bureaucrats and academics,” the President said.
President Mukherjee expressed serious concern at rising crimes against children, especially criminal offences. Quoting statistics, the President said, “Number of minors raped has been rising in the last six year and it reached 8,541 in 2012.”
Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court AM Sapre, in his speech, highlighted the role of bar councils and lawyers in ensuring that justice prevails above all other considerations.