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President lauds Biju Patnaik, urges lawyers to honour ethics

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President of India Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday dedicated the Anand Bhawan Museum and Learning Centre – a memorial to the late Chief Minister Biju Patnaik – to the people of Odisha in the presence of  the Governor of Odisha, Dr SC Jamir and Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik and other dignitaries in Cuttack.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Biju Patnaik has a special place in the hearts of people. “He earned affection and respect of all regions and political parties. His legacy is beyond party affiliation. Not only Odisha, but the whole country is proud of him”, Kovind said.

The President appreciated Naveen Patnaik and his family for handing over the Anand Bhawan campus to the state government. He expressed hope that visitors to this museum will be able to know more about the multi-dimensional personality of the late Biju Patnaik and get acquainted with a glorious chapter in the history of Odisha and India.

He opined that all round development of Odisha is necessary for inclusive growth of the country. Odisha is rich in forest and mineral resources. The state can reach new heights with optimal and balanced use of these resources. Odisha also has a lot of potential in the tourism sector, which could increase employment and strengthen economic growth.

Later in the day, the President delivered the 3rd Foundation Day Lecture of the National Law University Odisha.

Addressing the gathering, the President said that the modernisation of the legal profession has kept pace with the rise in opportunities for law graduates and young lawyers. While litigation in the courtroom remains at the core of legal practice, a law graduate today finds many avenues open to him or her that were simply not available to previous generations.

The President said that as our economy has grown, the legal profession too has expanded. Commercial and business law have become more important, complex and intellectually stimulating. Trade and commerce, international agreements and even the craft of diplomacy increasingly turn to lawyers and legal minds for negotiations and skilled drafting of texts. Arbitration and the globalisation of legal services have also linked today’s lawyers with the rest of our planet.

He said that an advocate is a law officer of the court. He or she has 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. 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 added.

The President was glad to note that 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.

The President commenced his visit to Cuttack by paying tributes at the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

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