New Delhi: Asserting that there are newer challenges that the legal fraternity faces as the Indian economy expands and integrates with the global economy, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday said our legal luminaries today require a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of an interdependent and global economy.
"We live in rapidly changing times. As the Indian economy expands and integrates with the global economy, there are newer challenges that India`s legal fraternity faces. Our legal luminaries today require a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of an interdependent and global economy," said Dr Singh in his speech in Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Bar Council of India.
"The emergence of a multilateral legal and judicial architecture, having a bearing on the domestic laws of the country and vice versa, necessitates an in-depth understanding of the principles of public and private international laws," he added.
Dr Singh said there are new types of cases that lawyers have to deal with in the area of conflict resolution.
"There is an increase in the number of cases that relate to Intellectual Property Rights and enforcement of international commercial agreements. Cases relating to our obligations and commitments made in international agreements and conventions, such as the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements, have now started reaching courts of law and Arbitral Tribunals," said Dr Singh.
"I would urge all members of the Bar to equip themselves with the expertise necessary to handle all these new types of cases in emerging areas," he added.
Stating that Article 39A of our Constitution directs the State to secure that the operation of the legal system in our country promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity and, in particular, to provide free legal aid so that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen because of economic or other disabilities, Dr. Singh said: "The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was enacted as a part of our efforts towards fulfilling these obligations. Legal Services Authorities have been established at the National, State and District and Taluka levels under the Act to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of our society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes."
"The National Legal Services Authority has formulated a number of schemes to provide "access to justice" to the marginalized people. These include schemes for free legal aid to under-trial prisoners and for supporting the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. I would urge members of the legal fraternity at various levels to become active participants and facilitators in the implementation of these schemes intended to empower the disadvantaged," he added.
The Prime Minister further said it is of critical importance that the Bench and the Bar work together in ensuring the rule of law in our country and in furthering our Constitutional objectives.
"Unless this happens, we cannot succeed substantially in providing speedy and affordable justice to millions of our country men, especially those who belong to the poor and weaker sections of our society. There are many challenges to be overcome and many bottlenecks to be removed before this objective of ours becomes a reality. An obvious area of concern is the large number of cases pending in courts especially in trial courts," said Dr Singh.
"I would urge the whole of the legal fraternity to pool their knowledge, wisdom and experience to find ways and means to tackle this problem," he added.
Dr Singh further said that he is fully aware of the responsibilities of the government in working with the judiciary and other stakeholders to build a strong and effective justice delivery system in our country.
"I reaffirm our Government`s commitment to take all necessary action in this direction, and also to work for the welfare of the legal fraternity," he added.