New Delhi, Feb 16: The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said legal education as an aspect of professional education has assumed considerable significance over time, not only in terms of historical utility of law in society but also in the current context of globalization.
Dr. Singh said the need for trained law personnel in the field of academics, litigation, corporate practice, Government and civil society has increased significantly over the last few years.
“This demand is expected to rise even more rapidly in the years to come. I am happy that the Bar Council is actively working to promote the highest standards in legal education, comparable to the best in the world,” he added in his speech in Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Bar Council of India.
Asserting that the Bar Council of India has enormous responsibilities to discharge, Dr. Singh said: “It has a regulatory function to perform in prescribing standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar.”
“It also sets the standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities and institutions of legal education whose degree in law will serve as qualification for enrolment as an advocate. Its other functions include protecting the rights, privileges and interests of advocates and implementing schemes for their welfare,” he added.
Dr. Singh said the work of the Bar Council of India and that of the State Bar Councils have an implication for the public at large.
“This is because the effectiveness of the Bar Councils in performing their duties and functions is a factor in determining the strength and quality of our justice delivery system. If advocates maintain high standards of professional conduct at all times, it serves the interests of the litigating public. Similarly, a high standard of professional knowledge of legal luminaries serves to improve the quality of judicial decisions,” he added.
Dr. Singh said that lawyers should remember that apart from their duty towards clients, they perform a public duty as officers of the court in furtherance of the cause of justice.
“They should always keep in view the larger objective of advancement of public morality, truth and justice in their wider connotation. It is for this reason that the practice of law has a public utility flavor and an inbuilt element of public service. This exalted status enjoins upon lawyers to scrupulously abide by the Code of Conduct prescribed by the Bar Council,” he added.
Dr. Singh said the Bar Council of India is the premier representative body of professional lawyers in the country.
“It can be legitimately proud of the glorious contribution its members have made to the processes of nation building. I congratulate the Bar Council and its members for their achievements,” he added.
The Prime Minister further said ‘many of the leading figures of our freedom movement were legal luminaries and their contribution to the national cause both before and after independence is now a part of our history and heritage’.
“Mahatma Gandhi, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozshah Mehta, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pt. Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar were all amongst the greatest sons of India who laid the foundation of a modern and progressive India,” said Dr. Singh.
“A large number of members of the Constituent Assembly were also prominent legal luminaries lawyers of their time, including Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, whose contribution to the Constitution will always shine bright,” he added.
The Prime Minister also wished the Bar Council of India and all its members a very bright professional future.
“You have served the country well over the last fifty years and I believe that the best is yet to come,” he said. (ANI)