CHENNAI: Chief Minister M K Stalin urged law students to use their legal knowledge and argumentative capabilities for securing justice for the oppressed population, referring to a quotation by DMK founder C N Annadurai who said ‘Law is a darkroom and the lawyers’ argument was the light that is not accessible to the poor.’
Such a situation should not arise for the underprivileged and the students, once they become lawyers, should fight for protecting the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, Stalin said while speaking at an event organized to commemorate the silver jubilee of the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University on Monday.
Right to equality, freedom of speech, freedom to write, freedom of expression, right to congregate, right to work, right to practice the religion of choice, right to education, right to hold property and right to redress were all part of the fundamental rights and lawyers should protect them for the people, he said.
Urging the students to become lawyers who would not just win the case for their clients but help justice prevail, he said upholding social justice was also equally important to protecting justice through law.
Wishing the best for the law university that had completed 25 years and showing extraordinary growth – from 40 students to 4,500 students pursuing 11 PG courses and 5 UG courses and having over 250 research scholars – the Chief Minister related various incidents in its history with which DMK governments of the past had been associated with.
The first exclusive university for legal studies in South Asia was launched in 1997 by Karunanidhi during his tenure as Chief Minister, who also gave the name of Ambedkar to the university making Tamil Nadu the first State in the country to give Ambedkar’s name to a law university.
In 1989 when the Madras Law College celebrated its centenary year, it was Karunanidhi who renamed the college as Dr Ambedkar Law College, Stalin said, recalling the incident that led to Poompozhil, the building in Greenways Road become the initial home of the law university.
‘Poompozhil’ was actually identified and earmarked by the authorities as the Chief Minister’s official residence when Karunanidhi was in power and they found his home in Gopalapuram located in a crammed street in which even four cars could not be parked, Stalin said.
That was the time when the search for a premises to house the new law university was launched, prompting Karunanidhi to allocate ‘Poompozhil’ for the law university and he continued to live in Gopalapuram.
Then again the 15 acres in Perungudi for the expansion of the law university in 2008 and another 2 acres in Tambaram area for promoting legal studies were allotted for the university only during Karunanidhi’s tenure.
Another incident that Stalin narrated related to the naming of a university in Marathwada, Maharashtra, after Ambedkar. When Karunanidhi had recommended the naming of the Marathwada University after Ambedkar, protests broke out since a section of people in Maharashtra was opposed to the idea.
So, as Chief Minister, Karunanidhi called upon the people to send telegrams demanding the naming of the university after Ambedkar and crores of telegrams were sent to the then Governor P C Alexander and Chief Minister Sharad Pawar. Soon Karunanidhi received a reply from Maharashtra with an assurance that the university would be named after Ambedkar as per his wishes.