Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana on Sunday said a constitutional republic shall thrive only when its citizens are aware of what their Constitution envisages.
He emphasized that every individual must be made aware of their rights and duties, and that it should be the endeavour of the law graduates to explain to the people the constitutional provisions in simpler terms.
Addressing the fifth convocation of Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) Raipur at a hotel here, he also termed law as an instrument of social change and said law school education must turn graduates into social engineers.
"This generation of youngsters is taking the world by revolution. Be it the climate crisis or violation of human rights, they are a united force across the world. Truly, the technological revolution has made each one of us global citizens," the CJI said, adding that it was time for all of them to join the revolution.
Underlining the role of youth in achieving social transformation through the rule of law and the Constitution, he said, "The sad reality is that the supreme document which defines the aspirations of modern independent India is confined to the knowledge of law students, legal practitioners, and a very small segment of the Indian population."
"The Constitution is meant for every citizen. Every individual must be made aware of their rights and duties. We have a collective duty to promote constitutional culture and raise awareness. It should be your endeavour to explain the constitutional provisions in simpler terms and assimilate its ethos into the minds of the people," he said.
"A constitutional republic shall only thrive when its citizens are aware of what their Constitution envisages," he added.
Describing the law profession as "immensely challenging, intellectually stimulating and incredibly satisfying", the CJI said, "The legal profession has not completely emerged out of old days, but the importance of pedigree, family history and hereditary legal practice is slowly fading out."
Youngsters, who are first generation lawyers, are shining and are reaching greater heights in the profession through their sheer hard work and commitment, he added.
"...A lawyer is not a mere representative before the court. Simply knowing a statute will not help you in the long run. Your clients may expect you to be aware about different facets of business, society or even sports. A lawyer needs to be an all rounder, a leader and a change-maker. Remember that new ways of thinking may invite criticism. But do not allow such criticism to bother you," CJI Ramana added.
Law school education must turn graduates into social engineers, because the law is an instrument of social change, he said.
"The most vulnerable are often the victims of human rights violations, either by the State or by anti-social elements. As young advocates, you are best placed to strongly oppose the same through legal action. Society needs your able assistance in the dispensation of inexpensive justice to the needy," he said.
Citing that legal aid services in India are the largest in the world, the CJI said, "We need young talented minds to steer the movement in the right direction."
"I urge you all to take up as many pro-bono cases as possible…In your chase for material wealth, do not forget the power of change that lies within you. You must have a vision of the world you want to live in. But a vision is not enough. You must create it by standing up and fighting for it," he added.
Meanwhile, the CJI also congratulated Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel saying that he has heard that the Chhattisgarh government was taking ample care of the infrastructural and budgetary needs of the judicial community in the state.
He hoped that this trend continues and Chhattisgarh emerges as one of the role models in providing best infrastructure to the judiciary.
CM Baghel was the guest of honour, while Supreme Court judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer presided over the programme. Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami was also present.
An HNLU public relations officer said, 60 students from the BA LLB (Hons) (batch of 2015-2020), 147 from the BA LLB (Hons) (2016-2021), 49 from the LLM (2019–2020) and 61 students from the LLM (2020-2021) were awarded degrees, while four students were conferred PhD.
(With PTI inputs)