Providing free legal aid to deprived sections is our duty: CJI, Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam in All India Meet of State Legal Services
Chief Justice of India and Patron-in Chief, National Legal Services Authority Mr. P. Sathasivam re-iterated here today the vision of the Constitution and commitment for providing free legal aid to all. It was expressed that the concept of free legal aid is healthy for the democracy. In providing free legal aid, the need for addressing the persons with socio-economic backwardness has to be taken care off. It was further shared that this annual meet has been organized to discuss the stock of accomplishments made by the different states and develop/prepare future course of action. His Lordship briefly shared the important issued taken up in the last annual meet. His Lordship expressed his happiness in regard to the initiatives being taken by the different authorities in fulfillment of objective of the provisions. Every Stake holders of justice delivery has an important role to play and all have to work together, right from Supreme Court to taluka level authorities/committee in fulfillment of vision of our constitution.
Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam was speaking at the inaugural function of 12th two day All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities organize at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan in Lucknow. Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam accompanied by Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Mr. Justice Dr. Y.V. Chandrachud and other Judges inaugurated the meet by lighting the lamp.
Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam said that in the Lok Adalat, the presiding officers have to play a responsible role in deciding the matters through compromise, as it attains finality and no appeal lies against the final order passed by the court. Equal opportunity in such matters should be given to all the parties during the process of negotiations/discussions. His Lordship expressed his happiness over the success of National Lok adalat organized in Nov. 2013, with disposal of over 71 Lakhs cases. Lok adalats and family Lok adalats should be organized frequently for speedy disposal of cases. The Legal services have to be extended to the marginalized sections of the society. The main agenda has to be, to provide legal aid to those people who cannot reach the law. The Media, Social organization, Para legal volunteers and advocates have to play a proactive role in fulfilling the constitutional vision. The legal Services cannot be a charity but an important rights of people. The State Legal Service authority should organize the legal literacy camps in the areas such as slums, labour colonies and backward areas so that these person are aware of their rights and that the free legal aid is their right. Mass mobilization of people are important in this regard to generation of legal awareness.
Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam shared the importance of legal empowerment for the national development and said that legal empowerment eliminates social evil in the country. His lordship also expressed that the sanctioned strength of the Allahabad High Court is 160, where as the present strength of Judges is 91 only. Due to lack of infrastructure in the State, the constitutional vision of free legal aid and inexpensive justice is difficult. His Lordship expressed that the Judiciary is facing challenge of lack of Infrastructure, accommodation, and lack of staff. With the sufficient infrastructure and support, our goal of easy access to justice can be achieved. His Lordship also shared that the action for increase in the Judges strength in the High Court to the tune of 25 % has been initiated. In the end his Lordship shared the meetings/sessions to be organized in the next two days.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of and special Guest of Honour Mr. Akhilesh Yadav in his address shared the vision of the constitution for providing Social Justice and the role of Legal Services authority in meeting the constitutional obligations. The Concern for the poor, illiterate and other marginalized section of the society in regard to their ignorance and providing free legal aid was emphasized by him. He also expressed happiness over the success of recently organized lok adalat and assured that necessary directions have been issue to all departments to extend all the support in organizing the next National Lok adalat being organized in April 2014. He further shared that our goal should be that the legal assistance/aid should reach the last persons. He welcomed all the dignitaries on the occasion.
Mr. Akhilesh Yadav while expressing his deep pleasure on successful organization of Lok Adalat held last year and said that his government will provide full support to the proposed National Lok Adalat to be organized on April 12, 2014. He said that to supervise organization of Lok Adalat in the state, the Principal Secretary Law has been nominated Nodal Officer while other departments have been directed to nominate nodal officer for the purpose. He said that ensuring justice to last person of the society is a challenge for the system and hope that State Legal Service Authority will ensure effective supervision of the organization of Lok Adalat. He said that positive approach of all of us is needed to meet the target. He assured that all possible help will be provided to the functioning of National Leagal Service Authority and State Legal Service Authority. He said that we need to create awareness about free legal services among the deprived classes. He welcomed the participating other judges of Supreme Court and High Court and other members of judicial services.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.M Lodha, Judge, Supreme Court of India/Executive Chairman, National Legal Services Authority & Guest of Honour, while addressing the audience shared that 1st all India meet was organized in 1998 in Delhi, where the need was felt that these meet should be organized in all parts of the country. It was shared that this meet has been especially organized on 8th March i.e. on the occasion of Women’s day. Uttar Pradesh being the biggest state in terms of population has been chosen for this meet. His Lordship appreciated the efforts in organising this event. His lordship shared the constitutional vision of Justice and expressed that it is our duty to ensure that nobody suffers from injustice. The need and importance of for pre-litigation was emphasized in order to reduce filing of cases in courts. It was also shared that the Lok adalat and mediation is working well, but the pre litigation conciliation has to be taken off. The duty of developing confidence in our of alternative dispute resolution system was also emphasized. The importance of sensitization of stakeholders was also discussed. The adoption of agenda of NALSA by State legal services authority was shared and the need for adoption of the scheme/programme was laid emphasis upon. It was also shared that the awareness generation amongst the marginalized section of the society was is the need of hour for achieving the goal of the legal services. It was also shared that Village level care and support centre has been inaugurated and the objective of establishment of the same in meeting the obligation was emphasized. The need of strengthening the above centre was also emphasized. It was also shared that the Justice should reach door step of a common man. His Lordship shared that one of the objective of legal aid is qualitative legal aid. Every effort should be focused in providing the qualitative legal services.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.K Patnaik, Judge Supreme Court of India/ Chairman Supreme Court Legal Services Committee during his key note address shared the vision contained in the preamble of the constitution and it was shared that Article 39A of the Constitution of India obligates the States to promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and free legal aid to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. His Lordship shared that the eligible people for receiving free legal aid/assistance are not aware of the provisions. Efforts have to be made to ensure that these people are aware of these rights. His Lordship expressed concern over the quality of the Legal services and shared that competent persons have to be encouraged to provide legal services. Such encouragement can be in form of incentives. His Lordship shared the measures that can be adopted to improve the quality of legal services. His Lordship also shared the different alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and expressed concern over the implementation of provisions of Plea bargaining scheme in the Code of criminal Procedure in quick disposal of the criminal matter. The cases where these provisions can be implemented effectively was also shared by his Lordship.
In the Opening address by Hon’ble Dr. Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud , The Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court & Patron-in-Chief, U. P State Legal Services Authority, His Lordship welcomed Hon’ble Chief Justice and other dignitaries. His Lordship highlighted the details of the disposal of cases in the Lok adalat, Legal literacy camps, Settlement of cases, amount of Compensation awarded etc. with the audience. The Institution and disposal of cases in Allahabad High Court and Lucknow bench was also shared by his Lordship. The contribution of Judges of Allahabad High Court was emphasized during his Lordship’s address. His Lordship emphasized the role of stake holders in implementing the rule of law vis-à-vis the objective of legal services, to all. His Lordship expressed concern over the lack of infrastructure in Judiciary. His Lordship also discussed the three themes i.e. Collaboration, Empowerment and participation and shared the importance of the same.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sunil Ambwani, Judge, Allahabad High Court and Executive Member U.P Statel Legal Services Authority welcomed the Hon’ble Dignitaries on the occasion. His Lordship shared the historical evolution of the legal aid movement and lok adalat. His Lordship emphasized the importance of the access of Justice to the needy persons and the constitutional obligations. The achievement of the UP State Legal Service authority was highlighted by his Lordship.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Uma Nath Singh, Senior Judge, High Court, Lucknow Bench, Lucknow & Chairman, High Court Legal Services Sub-committee extended vote of thanks to the dignitaries and shared the importance of Legal services to the marginalized section of the society and need for free legal aid.
During the programme, the manual of Training for trainers and information booklet on Lok adalat was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.
The programme was organized by State Legal Services Authority under the directions/guidance of National Legal Services Authority & was hosted by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The programme was compered by Shri Rajiv Maheshwaram, Dy. Sectretary, State Legal Services Authority.
The above programme was attended by Hon’ble Judges of Allahabad High Court, Senior Judges of all High Courts/ Executive Chairpersons of the State Legal Services Authorities, Members of National Legal Services Authority, the Member Secretaries of State Legal Services Authorities across the country. Apart from above, all the District Judges/Chairpersons, District Legal Services Authorities of Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities, Principal Magistrates of Juvenile Justice Board, Officers of the State, Advocates on the panel, Members of Child Welfare Committees of Districts and para legal volunteers of the state, NGOs, also participated in the said meet.
At 2.00 pm, meeting of the central authority of National legal service authority was organized to discuss the National plan/strategy to be adopted. In the next session, conclave of Hon’ble executive chairpersons of State legal Services Authorities was conducted to take the progress made in the earlier Annual Meet.
Those present at the conference included Chief Secretary Mr. Jawed Usmani, APC Mr. Alok Ranjan, Principal Secretary to CM Mr. Rakesh Garg, Principal Secretary Law Mr. S.K.Pandey, Principal Secretary Home Mr. Anil Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary Appointment Mr. Rajiv Kumar, Principal Secretary Revenue Mr. K.S. Atoria, Director Information Mr. Prabhat Mittal and other senior officers of government and administration.