Chandigarh: Exhorting the legal profession to reclaim the hallowed ground that it once occupied, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday called on the legal fraternity to provide a helping hand to the poor and needy.

Addressing the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana here, he said the Indian Bar had played a crucial part in the independence of the country, in formulating the Constitution and thereafter in providing leadership for steering the fledgling Republic.

Observing that advocates played a vital part in the administration of justice and had a huge responsibility towards society, he said "the need for introspection is imperative and it should lead to an ethical renewal in actual practice."

Ansari said that it was essential for the profession to help expedite the dispensation of justice.

"The overwhelming majority of our founding fathers were lawyers including the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, our First President Babu Rajendra Prasad, the First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution Dr Ambedkar.

"The role of lawyers in the initial years of our independence was critical in emphasising the Rule of Law in the governance of the country. As intellectuals and civil society activists, advocates were role models in society helping the marginalised and the downtrodden," he said.

On the occasion, Union Minister for Law and Justice Salman Khurshid said that a pilot project was soon going to be launched in certain districts for providing retainership to young lawyers and support them during their initial, difficult years.

This would, then be extended to the entire country, he said.

"We should endeavour to find new solutions for addressing the delay in justice," he said.

Also, Punjab Governor Shivraj V Patil emphasised the need for using modern day technology in the process of law and suggested that there could be video recording of eyewitnesses and evidences provided in court.

Lawyers should think about ways to protect the rights of citizens, the Governor said, adding that the role of democracy would fade without justice.

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal noted that rampant commercialisation of the field was becoming a point of concern.

Observing that a large majority of the Parliamentarians were lawyers, Bansal said that lawyers were playing a very important role in the country.


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