Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana today asked lawyers to assist judges and protect the judicial institution from “motivated and targeted attacks” besides lending a helping hand to those in need for becoming worthy of the confidence reposed in them by the citizens.
“I want to tell all of you that you must assist judges and the institution. We are all ultimately part of one large family. Protect the institution from motivated and targeted attacks. Do not shy away from standing up for what is right, and against what is wrong,” the CJI said in his address during the Constitution Day celebration organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
Chief Justice Ramana stressed the importance of “debate and discussion” and said that the Constitution is richer and a more complex document today in comparison to when it was adopted because of the dialogue which took place inside and outside the courtroom.
“The Constitution of today, built upon the foundations laid by the framers, is a richer and more complex document than what it was when it was adopted in 1949. This is a result of the dialogue that took place both inside and outside the Courtroom, resulting in novel and unique interpretations,” he said.
The CJI said, “Perhaps, the most important feature of the Indian Constitution is the fact that it provides a framework for debate. It is through such debate and discussion that the nation ultimately progresses, evolves, and achieves higher levels of welfare for the people. The most direct and visible players in this process are, of course, the lawyers and judges of this country.”
He recalled the contributions of legendry lawyers – Mahatma Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar Patel, and Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer – in India’s freedom struggle and the making of the Constitution and asked lawyers to “take an active role in lending your hand to those in need. Take up cases pro bono whenever possible. Be worthy of the confidence reposed in you by the public.”
“As people with intimate knowledge of the Constitution and the laws, it is also your responsibility to educate the rest of the citizenry about the role they play in society. The history, present, and the future of this nation lie on your shoulders,” the CJI told lawyers.
The legal profession is called a noble profession for a reason and it demands “expertise, experience, and commitment”, like any other profession, he said, adding that it also requires “integrity, knowledge of social issues, social responsibility, and civic virtue. You must be leaders and mentors in society.”
Everybody should take a pledge to propagate the ideas that form the basis of the Constitution: freedom, equality, and justice in all of its facets for all people, he further said.
The Constituent Assembly of India had adopted the Constitution on November 26, 1949 and it came into effect on January 26, 1950.