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Odisha: Be a voice for the voiceless, says Prez at NLU Foundation Day

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Cuttack: President Ram Nath Kovind, while delivering the 3rd Foundation Day Lecture of the National Law University (NLU) in Odisha’s Cuttack, today advised the lawyers of the nation to be a voice for the voiceless and bring justice to the most deprived.

The first citizen of the country, who reached Odisha today on his maiden visit to the state, said that an advocate is a law officer of the court. He or she has not only a responsibility to the client, but also a duty to assist the court in delivery of justice. Our legal system has a reputation for being expensive and for being prone to delays. The use and abuse of the instrument of adjournments is often done by advocates who see adjournment as a tactic to slow down proceedings, rather than a response to a genuine emergency. This adds to the cost of obtaining justice for the litigant. It would be a travesty of our republican ethic if a poor person did not get the same access to the law as a rich person, the President said.

Kovind said that these are issues for the emerging generation of lawyers to ponder and to rectify. The opportunities and rewards of this profession – both intellectual and financial – are enormous. And this is welcome. But a good legal professional is not just somebody with a mind – he or she is also somebody with a heart, he said.

The President was happy to learn that the National Law University, Odisha is equipping its students in new fields and introducing them to new possibilities. Using the GIAN programme, this University has offered courses in international e-commerce law and in corporate governance in India. These have involved guest faculty from the United States and Singapore.

He was glad to note the curriculum of the University is socially relevant. From July this year, a distance education and online course on Child Rights – developed with the support of UNICEF – will be introduced. He commended this effort. He stated that for all its advances, at its root the legal profession has a simple aspiration – for the lawyer to be a voice for the voiceless and to bring justice to the most deprived. To secure the universal and inalienable rights of every child is an aspiration that makes the legal profession just so meaningful.