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The Second Annual Convocation Address at the West Bengal National University of Judicial Sciences, Kolkata, 23 June 2007.

My Lord the Chief Justice of India and other Learned Judges; Respected Vice-Chancellor; Members of the Faculty; Distinguished Members of the Bar; Dear students; Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is an honour and privilege for me to have been invited to be the Chief Guest at the Annual Convocation of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. I am thankful to the respected Vice-Chancellor for asking me to deliver the Convocation Address.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that the University, which is the brainchild of our former Chief Minister, the revered Shri Jyoti Basu, has earned considerable reputation as one of the premier Institutions of legal education in our country within a short period. I have some personal satisfaction that as a member of the Syndicate of the Calcutta University, I had mooted the proposal for introducing a five year course for the study of law in our University, so that from a rather unsatisfactory system of legal education then prevailing with part-time courses and part-time lecturers, we could have a course of study which would provide quality education in our State ensuring that the students get the best theoretical and practical knowledge of law, which will give them a strong foundation of the `basic legal principles. Now that this Institution has already made its mark in different areas of its course of study, the University and the authorities and the students deserve compliments for their achievements. I would particularly like to convey my deep appreciation of the Journal 'Indian Juridical Review' published by the Student Juridical Association of the University, which is indeed of international standard. The Association and particularly the Student Editors deserve full compliments.

The objects for which the University has been set up are laid down in the related statute creating the University which, inter alia, provides that the same 'shall be to advance and disseminate learning and knowledge of law and legal processes and their role in national development … to develop in the students and research scholars a sense of responsibility to serve society in the field of law by developing skills in regard to advocacy, legal service, legislation, law reforms and the like … and to make law and legal processes efficient instruments of social development'. These are indeed very laudable objectives. It is expected that both the faculty and the students bear them in mind and try to achieve those, for which the Institution has been set up. I would like to emphasize on the importance that has been attached to the use of the knowledge of law in national development and in providing efficient instruments of social progress. I hope and trust that these noble objectives will continue to permeate all the activities of the University.

I heartily congratulate the bright young students who have completed their studies here and are being awarded degrees. It is no doubt, a momentous day in their lives. Getting admission to this prestigious Institution and successfully completing its intensive courses are certainly a matter of pride for the students. As they move out of the portals of this campus tomorrow, they will find a new world of challenges and opportunities. With both practical and theoretical training that they have received, they should be well equipped to make use of their knowledge and training not only for their own career but also for the benefit of the common people and for the overall progress of our country.

To me, the test of success of a prestigious State-funded Institution of learning like this University, providing high level of education, is not only the amount of astronomical salary and perquisites that their students are offered by the multi-national corporations and big corporate houses, but whether and how far are the objectives of the University are being fulfilled by the students as effective players in the country’s pursuit for progress and in resolving the societal problems in the country.

It is expected that the University and its students should be able to contribute meaningfully and substantially for bringing about the needed improvement in our justice delivery system, which is the crying need of our times and that there should be constant evaluation of the role played by them. I hope the brilliant products of this prestigious University will not fail in being pro-active participants in the discharge of their national duty of serving in ample measure the interests of the common people, who need justice through our legal and judicial set-up and are made aware of their rights.

To my mind, the test of a proper Justice Delivery System in a developing country like ours is to ascertain how far the common people are the recipients of the benefits of the system. Every country, specially a developing one, governed by Rule of Law, has to sustain its legal and judicial processes in a manner that the ordinary people can have easy access to the courts and receive justice. It is obvious that Courts of Law have been set up not for Judges nor for the lawyers but for the people who need to seek justice. And to provide a speedy and effective justice delivery system, there has to be a commitment both by the lawyers and judges. We need good lawyers to come into the profession, otherwise mediocrity and lack of commitment will inhibit our legal process. We need not only good legal practitioners but also good judges who are generally selected from the practising lawyers. Therefore, if brilliant and competent students like those who have had the good fortune and opportunity to study in this University, do not actively participate in the Justice Delivery System, as legal practitioners or as Judges, question is bound to be raised as to what role they can play in removing the deficiencies in the system and for national and societal development. I am sure all those who are connected with this reputed Institution of learning will give their serious thoughts to it.

In a recent article, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, one of the greatest jurists the country has produced, has observed as follows: 'If our Republic is to live up to the promises in the Constitution, the judges have an important role to play. The justice system is the principal instrumentality in satisfying the undertakings in the Constitution. Therefore, ‘we, the People of India’ must be ensured the integrity and efficiency, the moral responsibility and reality of easy access to the court as well as early finality of dispute resolution'.

When India attained freedom in 1947, one of the biggest challenges before the framers of the Constitution was to identify a system of governance that could respond effectively to the vast array of diversities of our country as also the myriad socio-economic problems that the people were faced with in those tumultuous days. Our Founding Fathers finally adopted the system of parliamentary democracy, after purposive and elaborate debate, with the conviction that it best suited our ethos and culture and the specificities of our nation.

In laying the institutional foundations, the vision of the Founding Fathers has been substantially realized through a parliamentary polity, a multi-party system, free and fair elections, independent Judiciary, free and vigilant Fourth Estate and an ever watchful citizenry.

This year we are completing six decades of freedom. Recently we observed the 150th Anniversary of one of the most heroic and epoch-making events in our struggle for freedom – our First War of Independence of 1857. These are occasions to remind ourselves of the values that guided our Freedom Movement and of the numerous struggles and sacrifices of millions of our people led by visionary men and women, who, motivated only by the good of our country and not for any self-interest, plunged themselves into the long-drawn struggle and in many cases, made supreme sacrifices. We feel proud that many of those men and women were lawyers and the legal fraternity made signal contribution during the freedom struggle. Indeed, many of the leaders of our freedom movement were leading lawyers, who gave up their successful career for the sake of the country.

Our struggle for Independence was not just a movement to achieve freedom from the bondage of the British Rule. It was as much a crusade to free ourselves from the various social evils and socio-economic iniquities and discriminations, to lift the deprived and the downtrodden from the mire of poverty and to give them a stake in the overall transformation of the country. Now, it is for us to introspect and see to what extent we, specially those who have had the fortune of receiving quality education, have been able to realize the dreams of the Martyrs and the leaders of our Freedom Movement and of the Founding Fathers of our Republic. We should constantly ask ourselves what contribution we have made and can make to realize their dreams of a resurgent India and of an egalitarian society, free from class and caste exploitation and free from the scourges of poverty, illiteracy, lack of development, oppression and exploitation.

India at sixty, no doubt, has a mixed bag of achievements to its credit.  Though the initial years after our Independence were marked by serious tensions and difficulties, we have emerged stronger from those trials and tribulations. But even after all these years since Independence, it is a tragic commentary on the nature of our development that one billion citizens of the country live in different centuries. We have islands of affluence and alongside, we have poverty, backwardness, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of healthcare and basic infrastructure. No doubt, we have made significant achievements in some areas, while many other areas still need focussed attention.  While we succeeded in maintaining national unity and  integrity and in consolidating our democratic institutions in the country, we are still struggling to provide better infrastructure, better living conditions, universal literacy, better health care system, food for all, and employment for all.  The problems of communal divide, corruption, gender inequalities and caste-based differences have stayed on, if not grown with us.  

Though in our economy, we have been able to make rapid strides with our sustained efforts through planned development and we have been witnessing a substantial growth rates for the past few years and are being acknowledged as a significant player in the world economy, yet on the social front, we have not been able to eradicate the various ills that still plague us. A number of progressive legislations have been enacted to usher in the desired social change: comprehensive land reforms, provision for just and humane conditions of work, for protecting women against violence and against the practice of dowry and for increasing participation of women in politics and for effective democratic decentralization. Laws have also been passed by our Parliament for safeguarding vulnerable sections against social discrimination, for widening the opportunities for education, for enhancing and ensuring rural employment and for removing poverty. But without proper implementation, mere enactment of laws does not guarantee the realization of the desired objectives and in this sphere, the greatest role can be played, along with others, by our legal fraternity and I feel it is the duty of progressive lawyers in our country to dedicate themselves to achieve our constitutional goals as enshrined in Parts III and IV of our Constitution.

Most unfortunately and rather alarmingly, issues like intolerance, divisiveness, corruption, confrontations and disrespect for dissent are increasingly vitiating our socio-political system. The cynicism that is creeping into the minds of the people, specially the youth, about the functions of our democratic structure is undoubtedly a matter of grave concern. The greatest challenge of good governance is to bridge the gap between the expectations of the people and the effectiveness of the delivery mechanisms. To my mind, we have to create a culture of commitment to democracy and democratic values such as equality, justice, freedom, concern for others’ well being, secularism, respect for human dignity and rights.

But are we to remain as mute spectators to the aberrations in our system? Who is to redeem the system and make it work for the benefit of the nation as a whole? If our youth, to whom tomorrow belongs and as such have the greatest stake in the system, do not come forward to shoulder the responsibilities as citizens in a democracy, who else will act as the catalyst for positive changes in our society?

The educated youth, like the students here, have to be the crusaders for removing the various ills plaguing our society and to provide leadership to change the system for the better. It is of little use to be just critical of others for the aberrations or non-achievements in the society. The country has great expectations from its youth to bring in the freshness of their approach along with youthful energy and passion to address the imperfections in the institutions of democracy. They have to realize their obligations and have to participate more actively at all levels of political and other institutions.

For a country to be governed by Rule of Law, it is obvious that we have to ensure an ideal justice delivery system, so that speedy and effective justice can be made available to all as has been recently emphasized by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, which cannot be achieved, without the committed participation of our legal fraternity, which must necessarily include the judiciary, increasingly pursuing the same. I believe it is a national duty of all those who are connected with the legal profession as well as those who are called upon to provide justice should consider very seriously whether they are playing any conducive role. The slow movement of the judicial process, the mounting arrears of cases and the lack of easy affordability and accessibility to the legal process have been the bane of our judicial system today and it is imperative to address these issues urgently.

There is a clear perception in our society and as it seems to be that the best legal services are available only to the affluent and due access to the doors of justice is denied to the poor and the socially disadvantaged.    The biggest challenge before the Judicial System in the country today is that of ensuring that everybody has affordable access to justice and an assurance that everyone gets equal treatment before the law. 

The Learned Judges of the Supreme Court and in the other tiers of judiciary have often referred with great concern to the huge pendency of cases in different courts of different jurisdictions, pending for 5 or 10 or even 20 years. According to the learned Chief Justice of India about 2.5 crore cases are pending in different Courts.

The delay in our criminal justice system is particularly of gravest concern and there is a growing feeling among the people that dispensation of justice can be affected or frustrated by people of means and of questionable integrity. Some solutions are sought to be found by setting up Fast Track Courts or by adoption of Alternate disputes redressal machinery but in my humble experience, to these efforts the resistance has come more from within ourselves than otherwise. Very recently, the Learned Chief Justice of India has been pleased to announce that 7000 additional courts were being set up with the appointment of new Judges across the country, as has been reported in the media. These courts which will be in the level of Subordinate Courts, hopefully, when set up will considerably reduce the arrears. However, if I am not misunderstood, it seems to me that there is hardly much concern to ascertain why there are so many arrears and why matters remain pending for so long. One usual explanation is that with an increasing population there is bound to be more and more litigations and that there is lack of infrastructure and on many occasion, there is no co-operation between the Bar and the Benches.

Hardly, we discuss whether the role of Benches and the Bar helps in the proliferation of cases. The test of popularity of a Judge to the Bar and the litigants seems to be how liberal he or she is in admitting cases and giving interim orders. When I started my career in the 1954, a few years after our Constitution came into force we had noticed 'competitive liberalism' among a few Judges to entertain petitions and pass ex parte orders. Petitions were filed in dozens and in many cases, as I had seen, interim orders were passed by some learned Judges without even touching the papers. The respondents were not given prior notice and did not even have the facilities of obtaining copies of the petition. The result was filing of many frivolous petitions and torrential flow of interim orders, merited or otherwise. The procedure was changed later on but hardly there was much improvement so far as admissions were concerned.

I had wondered how many of those petitions really deserved even admission and how many of the cases, specially under Article 226 of the Constitution, would ever be disposed of on merits or even be finally decided and in how many cases, the petitions would be or were allowed after hearing. I feel in this respect that Article 226 of the Constitution of India, which is one of the most important provisions of our Constitution for providing relief to the people, has been greatly overused, if not misused. Courts of law should not be utilized for motivated and speculative litigation. I know the people are more conscious and keen to have their rights protected and there are many instances of malfunctioning, if not misdeeds, on the part of the executive. I sincerely believe and my appeal to all, is to kindly look into this matter to arrive at some workable provision, as otherwise admission of new cases will always outstrip the rate of disposal and arrears will never be done away with. I wonder whether any magic remedy can be suggested to deal with them. I may not be misunderstood for holding the view that mere increase in the number of Judges in the High Courts will only result in more pending cases and inevitably more delay.

In this connection one can usefully refer to a recent book written by Justice S.S. Sodhi, entitled 'the Other Side of Justice' containing his rather tumultuous experience as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, about how our system of justice is misused, if not polluted by various devious means, in which there has been quite an active participation by many lawyers and sadly, even by some Judges, as he has mentioned. I think it is useful to go through the book to ascertain some of the failings in our judicial system and how the learned Chief Justice tried to solve them.

I believe that to reduce the arrears and to prevent further accumulation of matters pending decision, we have to think of viable alternatives. We need lawyers trained and committed to take up programmes of law camps, mobile legal aids, Lok Adalats, and other Alternative Dispute Redressal Machinery for providing quick remedial measures to the people. It is primarily the lawyers who can play a very crucial role in bridging the gap between the Judiciary and the people and in ensuring that justice is administered speedily, justly and more efficiently.

Unfortunately as I have said, resistance to people-oriented reforms comes from within our legal system itself. Often, we have heard of the delay in filling up of vacancies in different High Courts. Subject to correction by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, I understand that at any given point of time not less than one sixth of the sanctioned strength of judges for our High Courts are lying vacant in the country and they are not filled up with the deserving seriousness and speed, as a result of which, it is the common man who suffers.

As I said earlier, we must have good and competent lawyers as well as good and competent Judges. As has been observed by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Krishna Iyer, the Judges should have professional capacity, character, performance and proper social background. To quote him 'In India where communal lunacy and insidious corruption in action are increasing in public life, the selection of the higher judiciary must rule out all such suspicion. The court must be impeccable in integrity, intelligence, and constitutional wisdom. By accident, we have now fine judges. Currently there is much criticism about the higher judiciary on various grounds; that is why special care must be taken in the choice'.

To quote him further, 'as we look around, corruption, ambition, callousness, craze for position, promotion and five-star craving plus graft, nepotism and other vices are infiltrating into the hallowed place of justice, justices and justicing… . The present generation of lawyers and judges, with  a considerable number of splendid exceptions, is moving downhill towards professionally amoral, even immoral mores  … many, most members are pure even now.  The few are no longer few and are enough in numbers and deeds to debunk the credibility and liquidate the sublimity of the judiciary.  The other joint tort-feasor, the dubious lawyer, who is the corrupter, the traitor, the enemy of the Bar, is surfacing in a swelling stream'.

The people’s experience of growing corruption in our justice–delivery system is most unfortunate and an extremely disturbing phenomenon. People's faith in the system can be sustained only if we take effective steps to promote integrity, impartiality and competence in the Judiciary at all levels. Judges should be taken into the higher judiciary only after rigorous and impartial scrutiny. The Supreme Court, as the head of our judicial system, should direct all High Courts to take necessary steps to identify and weed out corrupt elements ruthlessly. Corrupt, incompetent and indifferent people should not find a place in our judicial system.

I am sure everyone will agree that judicial corruption is far more dangerous for the polity than corruption in other organs of the government, which is also condemnable. According to a recent Report by the Transparency International, about 77 per cent of the people  who took part in their survey believed that  there is widespread corruption in the Judiciary.

A former Chief Justice of our country, (Justice S. P. Bharucha) is reported to have conceded that at best only 20 per cent of judicial officials could be corrupt. I heard the other day, one of our distinguished jurists, Shri Fali Nariman stating that at best only 25 per cent of the judges are  corrupt. To me it is not a small figure to be ignored and if one in every four or five judges is corrupt, our judicial system calls for a thorough overhauling.

I consider the un-successful effort to impeach one of the judges of the Supreme Court, who had been found guilty by his peers after due enquiry and after following all the provisions of law and Constitution, because the requisite majority in the Lok Sabha had not supported the Motion for Impeachment (although not a single Member of Lok Sabha had supported the judge’s actions) has had a most unfortunate effect on the efforts to deal with corruption in the judiciary.

Today we need to ensure that all the institutions in our democracy function in a manner  evoking  the respect and admiration of the people and in accordance with  the well-laid out scheme of the Constitution. We must recognize as an eminent jurist said ‘in a democracy the rule of Law is not to be equated with the rule of lawyers and the supremacy of the Constitution is not to be  mistaken for the supremacy of the judges.’ 

The views expressed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, are worth recalling and I quote 'We want good Judges and good lawyers if a fine justice system is to be the solace of the multitude of actual and potential litigants…. The lawyer of yesterday is elevated to be the judge of today and spirals up by seniority or otherwise to the summit. If lawyers are polluted and judges contaminated, the institution collapses'.

The rising expectations of the people, if not adequately fulfilled, can undermine our democratic system itself. All these call for a paradigm shift on the part of our judicial system to work for speedy delivery of quality justice.

While agreeing that part of the problem faced by our judicial machinery is systemic, we also have to be frank enough to admit that some notions have crept into the system at different levels out of a certain perceived role of the Judiciary in a parliamentary democratic set-up, which have substantially enhanced the work-load. In my humble view, it is essential for all organs of the State and institutions, including the Judiciary, to have a clear and unambiguous role-perception; otherwise there is a serious risk of entering into arenas, which are otherwise clearly assigned to the other branches of the government. Hon’ble Justice Srikrishna, as a learned Judge of the Supreme Court, has noted in a lecture to the students of a Law College that, and I quote: 'In the name of judicial activism, modern day Judges in India have abandoned the traditional role of a neutral referee and have increasingly resorted to tipping the scales of justice in the name of distributive justice. The legitimacy of such actions needs critical appraisement at the hands of the legal fraternity.' He further, if I may say so, correctly points out that 'Political questions which were meant to be out-of-bounds for the courts have often been thrown into the laps of Judges. Instead of throwing them back, the courts have, with great enthusiasm, essayed into adjudication of such questions, often with unsatisfactory results.'

Of late such judicial interventions are not limited to matters of executive action, but even issues of policy and matters which are otherwise in the exclusive jurisdiction of the other organs of the State are now included in its purview. We must recognize as Hon’ble Justice Srikrishna, stressed, and I quote: 'the answers to many socio-economic and political problems lie with Parliament and in a polling booth and not in a courtroom,' and that misplaced activism 'strains the institutional resources of the court. It also diverts the time, talent and energy of Judges into channels that they are neither required to navigate, nor equipped to, for lack of competence, skill or resources.' Unquote. One cannot disagree with the views expressed by yet another eminent jurist that: 'The judiciary’s task does not include an amorphous supervision of the government.' Judicial activism not only results in the marginalization of the legislative and the executive branches of the government but also in unwittingly increasing the burden on the ‘already creaking’ judicial branch itself.

Now-a-days, there are umpteen instances where judiciary has intervened in matters entirely within the domain of the executive, including policy decisions. As the former learned Chief Justice Verma has pointed out in his Dr. K. L. Dubey Lecture:

'….Judiciary has intervened to question a ‘mysterious car’ racing down the Tughlaq Road in Delhi, allotment of a particular bungalow to a Judge, specific bungalows for the Judge’s pool, monkeys capering colonies to stray cattle on the streets, cleaning public conveniences, and levying congestion charges at peak hours at airports with heavy traffic, etc., under the threat of use of contempt power to enforce compliance of its orders. Misuse of the contempt power to force railway authorities to give reservation in a train is an extreme instance.'

Recently, a media correspondent has compiled a list of issues and matters in which the Courts have apparently, if not clearly, strayed into executive domain or in matters of policy. He has noted that the orders passed by one High Court alone in recent times dealt with subjects ranging from age and other criteria for nursery admissions, unauthorized schools, criteria for free seats in schools, supply of drinking water in schools, number of free beds in hospitals on public land, use and misuse of ambulances, requirements for establishing a world class burns ward in the hospital, the kind of air the people breath, begging in public, the use of sub-ways, the nature of buses we board, the legality of constructions in the city, identifying the buildings to be demolished, the size of speed-breakers on roads, auto-rickshaw over-charging, growing frequency of road accidents and enhancing of road fines. And I am sure, there are umpteen such instances in the records of other High Courts as well. Recently, I read in the papers that one High Court has been pleased to decide how far away the hawkers near a Monument will stand while selling ‘golgappas’!

In fact, while dealing with what are known as ‘Public Interest Litigation’, the Judiciary often gets involved in the constitutionally defined domains of jurisdiction of the other organs of the government and in the process the contours of separation of powers, clearly provided in our Constitution and essential for the smooth functioning of the system get blurred, and the constitutional balance comes under strain.

Our Constitution contemplates 'judicial review' by the judiciary and not 'judicial activism' which is of recent coinage and extends, as one finds, much beyond review. According to the former learned Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma 'Judicial Activism is appropriate when it is in the domain of legitimate ‘Judicial review’. It should be neither judicial ad-hocism nor judicial tyranny.' Justice Srikrishna’s warning of the inherent dangers of intrusions into the domains of the other branches of the government merits serious attention, and I quote: 'The legislative and the executive wings of the body politic, which possess the core competence and specialization in dealing with complex socio-economic problems, are getting progressively marginalized. The judicial organ of the State, the least equipped to deal with socio-politico-economic issues, has occupied the center stage, and has got bogged down in more and more of such cases. Sheer expediency or the urge for immediate justice in an abstract sense is hardly a justification for taking on problems with myriad fine details that the court is ill-equipped to handle'. And all this has resulted in further proliferation of cases. And in the process we have also now a new breed of self-appointed 'benefactors' of the society who have specialized in filing PILs primarily to get publicity and for other obvious benefits.

To my mind, therefore, it would augur well for our system and serve the cause of effective and speedy justice delivery process in the country, if the principles of separation of powers as enshrined in our Constitution are duly kept in mind. No doubt, our Judiciary has been playing its important constitutional role in preserving, protecting and promoting Fundamental Rights of the citizens, in many cases checking administrative lapses and curbing executive excesses. This is as it should be. But we should all endeavour to function in harmony with each other rather than in conflict.

I have dealt with the subject in some detail in my Dr. K.N. Katju Memorial Lecture on ‘Separation of Powers Under the Constitution and Judicial Activism’ at New Delhi on 26 April, 2007, to which reference may be made, if any one considers it worthwhile.

As we all know, the Constitution of India has promised every citizen justice – political, social and economic – and in order to fulfil this promise to our millions of poor, illiterate citizens spread over thousands of villages in our country, the legal fraternity does hold a great responsibility. Our judicial system must feel accountable to the people. The legal community must also not forget that the administration of justice derives its strength only from the confidence of the people in the system. The loss of that confidence can lead to instability and threaten the very edifice of democracy. If both the Bar and the Bench join together in restoring and consolidating the faith of the people in the system that we have put in place in the last six decades, they will be doing a great service to the strengthening of our legal edifice, and facilitating the Rule of Law and good governance in the country, thus striving to meet the expectations of the society.

We must ask ourselves how many ordinary citizens of the country, who are oppressed and subjected to various forms of discrimination and denial of rights, particularly women who are victims of torture and exploitation, can have access to the courts, specially the highest court of our country, if he or she needs to approach the courts or contest effectively proceedings initiated against them? How many dismissed employees, how many victimized teachers, how many senior citizens, how many disadvantaged people staying in far flung areas of the country, who would need to seek justice can approach the Apex Court of our country? The geographical distance, prohibitive cost of litigation, inordinately long time taken for disposal of matters, discourage or otherwise make it impossible for ordinary litigants to approach the Court. The situation should disturb the nation’s conscience.

As the eminent jurist late M.C. Chagla stated : 'If sections of the society are deprived of the benefits of law and are treated as second class citizens, or if the law does not protect the liberty of the individual, then it would be meaningless to say that the rule of law prevails'.

I must confess that I am a strong votary of setting up Circuit Benches of our Apex Court at least in the three other metropolitan cities and of suitable number of Benches of the State High Courts at appropriate places in the States concerned. But some sections systematically resist such proposals. The reason cited for opposing such pro-people reforms is that such Benches would affect the integrity and unitary character of the Court and would lead to unsettled jurisdiction. To my mind, these reasons are unconvincing and seen from the angle of the magnitude of the problems and of arrears, the advantages to the people would far outweigh the perceived difficulties.

My young friends, those who have been privileged to receive higher education in one of the very prestigious institutions of this country, must always keep in mind the urges and aspirations, and the demands and dreams of our common people. We require young lawyers with strong democratic commitment and determination to come together and strive for the development of the country. 

Before I conclude, I once again congratulate all those who have successfully completed their courses of study and have received their degrees at this Convocation. You all know that learning is a lifelong process, which does not end with the acquisition of any degree. Law is a noble profession and is also a jealous task mistress. To be successful one must work hard and with dedication. There is no short-cut to success in the legal profession, as my Father late N.C. Chatterjee warned me when I started my career as a lawyer.

As you step out of the sheltered portals of your institution, I am sure that you will strive to realize not only your own dreams and aspirations in the years to come, but will also help many others to realize their dreams as well. I hope, you will make productive use of the quality education you have received here for the furtherance of our democratic ideals, for the larger national causes, and to help realize the unfinished agenda before the nation.

 Once again, I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to the respected Vice-Chancellor of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences for giving me this opportunity of being with you.  I am sure, the University will continue to produce highly qualified, fully committed, responsible, disciplined, and socially sensitive students of law who will be invaluable assets of our country.  I wish you all the best.

Thank you.



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