Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Legal fraternity must be vanguard of women rights battle: President


New Delhi: Voicing concern over "repeated failure" to ensure safety and security of women and children, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said that there is a need for resetting the moral compass and the legal fraternity must be the vanguard of the battle for women's rights.

"Recent incidents of brutal assault and child rape in Delhi have shaken our society's collective conscience. They highlight the urgency with which we need to introspect at the erosion of values and our repeated failure to ensure safety and security of our women and children. There is need for us in India to reset our moral compass," Mukherjee said.

The President was speaking at the first convocation held at National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) where Justice Dalveer Bhandari, currently a judge in the International Court of Justice, was conferred with the degree of LLD (Honoris Causa).

Mukherjee, who awarded gold medals to 22 meritorious law students of the varsity, said, "the legal fraternity, especially students of law, must be the vanguard of the battle for women's security, rights and welfare" and that "we must collectively ensure the dignity and respect for women".

He also said that instead of merely talking about social issues of corruption, sexual violence, gender discrimination, etc, people should work towards addressing these concerns.

"Many of us often ask of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves. People furious about corruption still remain willing to bribe to expedite their own work. While demanding strict laws against sexual violence and gender discrimination publicly, there are those who continue to perpetuate the same gender discrimination.

"If you are asked to pay a bribe, have the courage to refuse. If you are asked to support violence, corruption or oppression, have the courage to say no," Mukherjee further said, adding that, "Be the change you want to see in the world - is a wisdom that came from Mahatma Gandhi and I appeal to you to assimilate this principle into your daily life".

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