Lawyers and the Bar Council of Delhi must do everything possible to disseminate the values of human dignity and equality as well as ensuring that the rights of women are protected at all times, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

The President’s comments came in the backdrop of the recent spurt in crimes against women. He also urged the Supreme Court to give expeditious attention to a plea seeking enforcement of the Vishakha judgement.

Speaking at the inauguration of the National Seminar on Welfare of Lawyers organised by the Bar Council of Delhi, Mr. Mukherjee said: “Women lawyers can play an important leadership role in this regard. But, it is absolutely essential that an appropriate and conducive environment be ensured for them in the first instance. I gather that a group of lady lawyers in the Supreme Court have moved a petition to seek the enforcement of the Courts own verdict in the Vishakha case on providing a more congenial workplace environment within the Courts for lady lawyers. I am sure the Supreme Court will give expeditious attention to the matter.”

He said the recent incidents of brutal assault and child rape in Delhi have shaken “our society’s collective conscience” and there is an urgent need to introspect at the erosion of values and repeated failure to ensure safety and security of women and children. He said lawyers should drive the fulfilment of democratic values and as a group, they must campaign for positive change in society.

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