By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 5: Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V. Ramana, on Sunday said the most vulnerable sections of society often fall prey to human rights atrocities from either the state or anti-social elements.

Justice Ramana, the seniormost apex court judge who has been recommended for appointment as the 48th Chief Justice of India, urged young lawyers to educate the poor and the vulnerable about their rights. Young lawyers, he said, should raise their voice against atrocities committed against the poor by the state and criminal elements.

“The most vulnerable are often the victims of human rights atrocities, by either the state or by anti-social elements. As young advocates, you are best placed to strongly oppose the same through legal action. You must be the conscience-bearers of the nation,” Justice Ramana said in his virtual address at the Damodara Sanjivayya National Law University convocation, The Hindu reported.

Drawing a link between sub-standard legal education and pendency, Justice Ramana said the “true duty” of a lawyer is to unite people rather than bring every dispute to court. Lawyers should give proper legal advice and not drag people to court in disputes which could be settled amicably outside courtrooms.

“One of the consequences of the poor quality of legal education in the country is the exploding pendency in the country. There are nearly 3.8 crore cases pending in courts in India despite the large number of advocates in the country … They [lawyers] must keep in mind not only their duty to their clients, but also their duty to the courts, to society and to the law,” Justice Ramana said.

The Supreme Court judge said that with over 1,500 law colleges and schools in the country, law was no longer a rich man’s profession. However, there was also the problem of quality suffering over quantity.

“Please do not take this wrongly, but what proportion of graduates who are fresh out of college are actually ready or prepared for the profession? I would think less than 25% … It is a comment on the large number of sub-standard legal educational institutions in the country which are colleges merely in name. There are many sub-standard colleges in the country, which is a very worrying trend. The judiciary has taken a note of this, and is attempting to correct the same,” Justice Ramana said.

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