The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu today said that lawyers have to play the role of change agents or social engineers to address the socio-economic under-currents and conflicts.Addressing the gathering after presenting Tenth Law Teachers Day Awards at a function organized by Society of Indian Law Firms & Menon Institute of Legal Advocacy Training (SILF-MILT), he asked legal practitioners to continuously update their knowledge to capture the subtle nuances of laws and regulations. He said that they have to address a variety of new crimes triggered by the technological advancements and liberalization. The Attorney General of India, Shri K.K. Venugopal, the former Attorney General of India, Shri Mukul Rohatgi, the Member, Law Commission of India, Prof. S. Sivakumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.Urging lawyers to play a much larger role than the conventional roles assigned to them, the Vice President asked them to make people aware of their rights and duties as well as remedies which are available to them. In today’s world, lawyers will have to undertake several roles in society and have to discharge several jobs directly or indirectly connected with law, he added.
Pointing out that new types of cases like anti-dumping and intellectual property violations need holistic knowledge of economics of pricing and market conditions, among others, he said that legal education has to be alive to these problems to address the changing roles of a legal practitioner.Emphasizing the need to reform and impart quality legal education, the Vice President called for sharpening the competence of legal professionals, ensuring an enabling situation for research and creating legal awareness in the common man. He said that legal education has to instill the significance and relevance of fellow feeling, societal and democratic values in students, apart from ensuring a deep understanding of the Indian culture and ethos.Observing that every citizen must have the basic understanding of law to carry out routine and ordinary things in life, the Vice President called for change in the quality, content and complexion of legal education.The Vice President said “I believe that there can be a sort of corporate social responsibility that the legal fraternity can exercise. I am aware of a large segment of lawyers, who are socially committed despite their busy schedules in the courts and other avenues.
Can their services be enlisted for giving legal aid to the needy people, who cannot afford to pay huge fees for availing of quality legal services?”, he asked.Referring to the scant attention paid to Law of Torts in India, he said it protects people who become victims of negligence by another party. In many developed countries like the US, it is an important branch of law. “All of us are aware of how pharmaceutical and tobacco companies have to part with huge damages if negligence is proved in the court of law. May be the time has come for us to invoke such liabilities in the Indian context as well to protect the genuine interests of consumers”, the Vice President said. The Vice President gave away one SILF-MILT Best Teacher Award, one SILF-MILT Legal Education Innovation Award, one SILF-MILT Institutional Excellence Award 2018, two SILF-MILT Best Law Student Awards 2018 and five SILF-MILT South Asia Legal Education Excellence Awards 2018.