New Delhi: Asking the Bar Association to stand up for what is right and against what is wrong, Chief Justice NV Ramana on Friday (November 26) urged the lawyers to protect the judiciary from “motivated and targeted attacks”. Speaking at the Constitution Day celebration organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), CJI Ramana said that the most important feature of the Indian Constitution is the fact that it provides a framework for debate.
Stating that the lawyers and judges are part of one large family, the CJI said, “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.”
November 26 is celebrated as Constitution Day since it was on this day in 1949 that the Constituent Assembly of India formally adopted the Constitution, which subsequently came into effect on January 26, 1950. The CJI, in his speech, said, “It was 72 years ago today that the text which has come to define us, as a people and a nation, was adopted. I pay my humble respects to all the freedom fighters and members of the Constituent Assembly who have enabled all of us to stand here today. I am happy to be a part of the legal community, which has given so much to the freedom struggle and played such an integral role in the drafting of the Constitution.”
He asked the lawyers on Constitution Day to 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.None can forget the contributions of lawyers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar Patel and Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, whose dedication and sacrifices for the cause of the people are legendary, the CJI said.
CJI Ramana added, “All of us here are successors of that glorious legacy. While celebrating this day and paying homage to our freedom fighters and the framers of our Constitution, I think it is also important for all of us to celebrate the citizenry of independent India. It is their actions over the past 12 decades- the litigants, lawyers, judges, legislators, businesspersons, workers and many more that have breathed life into what might otherwise have been just another bare document.”
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, the CJI said.”This is a result of the dialogue that took place both inside and outside the Courtroom, resulting in novel and unique interpretations,” he said. Saying that the most important feature of the Indian Constitution is the fact that it provides a framework for debate, he emphasized that it is through such debate and discussion that the nation ultimately progresses, evolves, and achieves higher levels of welfare for the people.
“You are following in the footsteps of the great men and women who created the vision document of this nation and are also direct participants in the redefining of that vision. 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 that they play in society. The history, present, and future of this nation lie on your shoulders. This is a heavy, if not the heaviest, a burden to bear,” CJI Ramana said.
“This profession is called a noble profession for a reason. It demands expertise, experience, and commitment, like any other profession. But in addition to the above, it also requires integrity, knowledge of social issues, social responsibility, and civic virtue. You must be leaders and mentors in society. Take an active role in lending your hand to those in need,” the CJI said. The CJI ended his speech with a quote from Dr BR Ambedkar- “Men are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation, as much as a plant needs water. Otherwise, both will wither and die.”