Lawyers should ensure that they are upright in their professional life and serve the cause of humanity, retired Supreme Court judge Justice AM Khanwilkar said on Saturday.
Legal education, the judge said, is a tool for positive social change and presents endless opportunities.
"In professional life we must endure to become upright, honorable, and hard working citizens serving the cause of humanity.. Not only humane and compassionate, but always remember when the time gets tough, the tough get going. I have come to realise that our journey in the legal profession is a pilgrimage," he stated.
The judge was speaking at a farewell ceremony hosted for him by Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities Foundation (CAN Foundation) at the Air Force Auditorium in New Delhi's Subroto Park.
He said that the study of law is a daunting task but legal profession is recognised as prestigious and it provides many avenues.
"From being a practitioner of law, to a member of judicial service to an academician, opportunities are endless," he said.
The advent of technological has played a crucial role in making our lives easier, he added.
In his address, the judge also said called for the need to recognise the diverse character of our society and celebrate it.
"I feel lucky to be born in this country. It is very important to recognise the diverse character of our society. The vastness of the country, coupled with the diversity of thought, expression, form of worship, language, terrain, ethnicity, and opportunities, truly making it a melting pot of civilisations. We need to learn to celebrate the diversity. Only then we can contribute in the right direction," he stated.
The event was also attended by Justices BR Gavai, AS Oka and Vikram Nath.
Justice BR Gavai discussed at length Justice Khanwilkar's early life and career, riddled with challenges, despite which he went on to build an enviable career.
"His story will inspire thousands of lawyers residing in remote areas.. His journey shows that if a person does hard work and is sincere, nothing can stop him from reaching the top."
Justice Oka shed light on his long acquaintance with Justice Khanwilkar and the professional relationship they shared in the early years of their career, dating back to 1983.
The judge remembered Justice Khanwilkar's merit and popularity as an advocate owing to his accessibility, ability to handle tough judges and more.
Justice Oka went on to note that his biggest contribution to the Bombay Bar as a High Court judge was that he trained junior lawyers.
"Whenever a junior lawyer was not prepared, he used to adjourn the matter. He never showed this leniency to senior members. But he ensured that young members raised their standards," Justice Oka reminisced.
[Read live coverage of the event here]