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Lawyers are the foot soldiers of our Constitution

It is true that many eminent advocates participated in the Indian independence movement and sacrificed everything for their country.

              

Niraj Krishna

 (Advocate’s Day) 

The honorable Supreme Court had stated in a comment that advocacy is not a means of livelihood but a social work, and advocates should engage in other activities for their livelihood. However, despite the Advocates Act not permitting advocates to undertake other work, it is generally considered a form of social work.

However, over time, the meaning of this profession has undoubtedly changed. Advocacy has started to be pursued for the purpose of earning wealth, and individuals from all walks of life are now entering the field of advocacy. Success in advocacy is now measured by the amount of wealth accumulated because the entire environment revolves around wealth, from legal to social systems. Therefore, advocacy has also become a means of earning wealth.

The legal profession is an extremely respectable and dignified profession worldwide. In India as well, the legal profession has continued to evolve as a profession of dignity and honor in every era. The peculiar mystery of this profession is that studying the same subject in this profession can lead one person to accumulate considerable wealth, while another may end up with nothing. This enigmatic profession is unlike any other. Legal practice advocates complete meritocracy in matters of wealth, meaning the more qualified one is, the wealthier and more successful they become.

In a certain era, advocacy was a royal profession in England. People from respected families used to practice advocacy. The back of a lawyer’s gown had two pockets, signifying that no fee was demanded from the client; the client could contribute to the lawyer’s pocket as per their wish. The dignity of advocates in present-day India has similarly evolved, and although many professions have become market-oriented in the modern capitalist era, the charm of advocacy remains unaffected.

Today, it has developed as a profession, and the number of those integrating into this as a respected profession is quite high. Those who contribute to the prestige of this business. Today, when we celebrate Advocate’s Day, we remember not only Dr. Rajendra Prasad but also all those great advocates who have contributed to the development of modern India and have taken democracy and the legal system to new heights in the country. All this while sacrificing their entire wealth.

It is true that many eminent advocates participated in the Indian independence movement and sacrificed everything for their country. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, C.R. Das, Motilal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, and others were among the advocates, with C.R. Das being the most prominent and Motilal Nehru being the wealthiest advocate. In our Constituent Assembly, there were many brilliant advocates.

However, when the advocates of the country chose Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s birthday as Advocate’s Day, undoubtedly there were some additional specific qualities in him that were not present in other great advocates. The qualities present in Dr. Rajendra Prasad were considered ideal by advocates, or Dr. Rajendra Prasad was accepted as the ideal advocate.

However, the country’s lawyers chose to celebrate Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s birthday as Advocate’s Day, undoubtedly recognizing some additional distinctive qualities in him that were not present in other great lawyers. The qualities inherent in Dr. Rajendra Prasad were either considered ideals by the lawyers for themselves or Dr. Rajendra Prasad himself was accepted as the ideal advocate.

Today is Advocate’s Day. Since today is the birth anniversary of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was an extremely capable lawyer, someone has dedicated this day to him, albeit it is unknown who. Does it matter? What can be said about the emotional terror of this profession? Fear exists even in the minds of government officials. So what if the government is not scared? Those who bear the stigma of disrepute on their bodies from the moment they enter this profession generally remain fearless.

Anyway, ‘पैदा हुआ वकील तो शैतान ने कहा। / लो आज हम भी साहिब-ए-औलाद हो गए।।’ (“Shaitan said when a lawyer is born, /Look, today we have also become gentlemen of progeny.”) This couplet by Hazrat Akbar Allahabadi is quite famous. Mahatma Gandhi was also strongly against the profession of law. It is noteworthy that both were lawyers in the same era; Mahatma was unsuccessful, but he was an elegant lawyer.

Once, even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court announced that most lawyers who enter this profession are not worthy. Bakaul Pradhan said, “The value of lawyers in the marriage market is not equal to that of IAS, doctors, engineers, etc.” It is obvious that you also agree with His Excellency’s statement. We do. However, the other side of the coin is that most judges are not worthy of becoming judges either.

As a profession, the field of law has seen significant development today, and the number of individuals integrating into it as a respectable business is quite substantial. Those who contribute to the prestige of this business. When we celebrate Lawyer’s Day today, we remember not only Dr. Rajendra Prasad but also all the great lawyers who have contributed to the construction of modern India, taking democracy and the justice system to such heights by dedicating their entire being to this cause.”

Lawyering is an extremely honorable and dignified profession worldwide. In India, too, the legal profession has consistently maintained its prestige and respect as a vocation in every era. Lawyers contributed more than any other profession during the struggle for independence, playing a pivotal role in the fight for freedom.

Not only during the independence movement but also when the time came to build a new India after gaining independence, the significance of lawyers persisted. From Mahatma Gandhi to B.R. Ambedkar, individuals have commenced their lives by embracing the legal profession. While these eminent personalities later went on to become presidents and prime ministers, they started their journey as lawyers.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was one of the prominent leaders of the Indian independence struggle, who played a crucial role as the President of the Indian National Congress. He was a key disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and remained steadfast with him throughout the freedom struggle. After the country gained independence, he became the first President of India. He served as the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the Constitution. Dr. Rajendra Prasad made significant contributions to the formulation of the Indian Constitution. He is often respectfully referred to as Rajendra Babu.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was known for his simple and generous nature. During the devastating floods in Bengal and Bihar in 1914, he provided substantial assistance to the affected people. Similarly, when Bihar was grappling with the aftermath of the 1934 earthquake and floods, Dr. Rajendra Prasad personally distributed clothes and medicines to the victims. Gandhi Ji had a profound impact on Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s life. He fully supported Gandhi Ji’s perspective on untouchability and caste issues.

It was due to Gandhi Ji’s influence that Dr. Rajendra Prasad actively participated in the freedom movement. Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival on the national stage deeply influenced Dr. Rajendra Prasad. When Gandhi Ji was on a mission to investigate the conditions in the Champaran district of Bihar, he asked Rajendra Prasad to join the satyagraha with the local volunteers. Gandhi Ji’s dedication, trust, and courage during that mission left a lasting impression on Dr. Rajendra Prasad. His outlook changed significantly after coming into contact with Gandhi Ji. Dr. Rajendra Prasad wholeheartedly engaged in the struggle for independence, actively participating in the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested during the Salt Satyagraha in 1930.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President for the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress. Dr. Rajendra Prasad served as the President of the Indian National Congress from 1934 to 1935. After the departure of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1939, he was also appointed as the President of the Jabalpur session. Dr. Rajendra Prasad made earnest efforts to bridge the gaps between Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose.

In July 1946, when the responsibility of forming the Constitution of India was entrusted to the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was appointed as its President. On November 26, 1949, while passing the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s words were of great significance and touching to the heart, pointing towards the relationship: “If the people who are elected are capable, virtuous, and honest, they will make even a defective constitution supreme. If these qualities are lacking in them, the constitution, no matter how perfect, cannot help the country.

Ultimately, like a machine, the constitution is lifeless. The flow of life in it is controlled and operated by those individuals who govern and operate it. At this time, India needs people who are honest and who prioritize the interests of the country. Destructive tendencies are emerging in our lives due to various elements. There are religious differences, caste differences, linguistic differences, regional differences. For this, there is a need for people with strong character, visionaries, who do not sacrifice the broad interests of the country for small groups and regions and can rise above the prejudices caused by these differences. We can only hope that such people will emerge in abundance in the country.

Through the ideals of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, it is essential to consider the qualities that should be encompassed by an ideal advocate. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was a gentle and determined individual. Once he decided to adhere to Mahatma Gandhi’s principles, he never deviated from Gandhian principles in any situation. His thoughts were never aggressive, and even in serious circumstances, he handled situations with restraint, avoiding involvement in any controversy. However, his name always emerged when it came to the resolution of disputes during the internal politics of the Congress party amidst the freedom struggle.

While advocacy is now considered an excellent profession, it has never been a complete business in the true sense. Advocates have also acknowledged it as a social responsibility. This situation prevailed even before independence and continues today. Advocates still remain dedicated to sacrificing everything for the establishment of democracy and the rule of law.

On the occasion of Advocate’s Day, we demonstrate enthusiasm to further the same spirit, and that is why we celebrate this day while expressing firm commitment to the resolution on the birthday of Dr. Rajendra Prasad. This resolution is outlined in the preamble of our constitution. The preamble commits to providing every citizen with social, economic, and political justice, and advocates strive for the same reason. To give momentum to this cause, we also commemorate the birth anniversary of Rajendra Prasad as Advocate’s Day. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India and the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, was also a lawyer before all these roles.

On the occasion of Advocate’s Day, they demonstrate enthusiasm to advance the same sentiment, which is why we celebrate this day while expressing firm commitment to the resolution outlined in our constitution. The preamble of the constitution manifests a commitment to provide social, economic, and political justice to every citizen. Advocates remain diligent in working towards this commitment, and this dedication is acknowledged by celebrating Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s birthday as Advocate’s Day, aiming to give momentum to this cause.

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