Lawyers obligated to provide free legal aid: Justice S Ravindra Bhat

New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) Lawyers are obligated to provide legal assistance at nominal charges or for free as sharing of knowledge and learning has been valued from time immemorial in Indian society, Supreme Court judge Justice S Ravindra Bhat said on Tuesday.

Justice Bhat said lawyers are also expected to ensure swifter resolution of disputes through alternative mechanisms.

He expressed these views while speaking at an event organised by the Bar Association of India to celebrate its 60 years and commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Apart from him, Justice Indira Banerjee also spoke at the event titled, 'Lawyers of India Day 2019', where the association gave awards to various lawyers, including former finance minister Arun Jaitley and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani who were posthumously honoured for their contribution to the legal field.

Speaking to a gathering of prominent lawyers and top government law officers, Justice Banerjee said: 'There should be a joint endeavour by bar and bench to secure liberty of thought, expression, belief and faith, ensure equality of status and opportunity and to uphold secular values'.

Justice Banerjee further said that the best judgments come when there is absolute cooperation between the bar and the bench and good assistance is provided by lawyers.

On the challenges faced by lawyers, Justice Bhat said advocates have to cope up with the upcoming technology and avoid resistance to change.

'Resistance and reluctance to change is a hinderance in a lawyer's success in view of technological changes,' he said and added that lawyers need to interpret legal issues with an open mind and new outlook.

He said that digital innovation has helped lawyers all over the world to connect and thus, a modern lawyer must be receptive to technological changes.

Lalit Bhasin, President of the Bar Association of India, applauded the Bar members on its 60th anniversary and for their immense role in growth of the profession and maintaining and promoting the rule of law. PTI HMP SKV RDM RDM