Hyderabad: Calling upon lawyers to play a transformative role in the society to enable the country reach its maximum potential, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said institutions imparting law education should bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and practical application.
He also called upon the lawyers to "study the Constitution well" and understand India`s political system, its institutions and processes.
"The shadows of our colonial past continue to play a predominant role in our thinking in relation to the enforcement of rules as well as adjudication of disputes. It is important to gradually rework the underlying principles to make administration of justice more representative and responsive to the citizens.
"Lawyers are in a unique position to play this transformative role, be it through offering of inputs in the framing of legislations, leading cause-oriented litigations and engaging in social advocacy or research," the President observed, addressing the 12th annual convocation of Nalsar University of Law at Shamirpet near here this evening.
"The framers of our Constitution gave us a rich and varied text which speaks about these ideals. They incorporated several provisions in the Constitution to address the social, economic and political problems of the nation.
"Abolition of untouchability, prohibition of hereditary titles and the guarantee of fundamental rights are a few notable examples. Despite our best efforts, some of these social evils continue to survive. It calls for urgent attention of the policy-makers as well as those in the legal profession," Mukherjee said.
He asked the fresh law graduates to "analyse the choices that were made to build the country into what it is today. Recognise that intelligent choices will need to be made for enabling this country reach its maximum potential and participate and contribute in making these choices."
The President noted that many areas in legal education needed to be strengthened further though legal education underwent a paradigm shift in the last two decades.
"There are many areas that require further strengthening. Our educational institutions imparting law education have to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and practical application. They have to ignite inquiry and encourage curiosity," he said.
The study of legal system could not be pursued in
isolation from the wider socio-economic realities, he observed.
"Legal education should, therefore, be seen by students and practitioners much beyond than a means of livelihood. It must encourage them to constantly think about how their actions will affect the common man. Along with proficiency in the traditionally identified skills of legal reasoning, research and writing, students must be encouraged to attach utmost importance to the enduring principles of equality, liberty, fraternity with unflinching support for social justice," Mukherjee noted.
"Even as law students become more adept in interpreting legislative enactments and reading judicial opinions, they must do so within the liberal framework. It is my hope that our leading law schools are encouraging their students to not merely learn the content of laws but to also assess their rationale, the consequences of their implementation and constructive suggestions for their reform.
"In the interest of ensuring quality education, there is usually a push towards standardisation. Yet, there is need for experiments in higher education," the President said.
Mukherjee said whatever branch of law the graduates chose, the bedrock of their success should be erected on the unflinching defence of fundamental rights of all, civil liberties and the realisation of the rights of the marginalised communities.
"Dedicate yourself to the lofty ideals of selfless public service. Attain the highest standards in terms of professional skills and be daring in your fight against injustice irrespective of the financial reward that you receive," he added.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Nalsar Vice-Chancellor Faizan Mustafa and others were present.