CJI opens legal service clinics
NEW DELHI : To provide easily accessible legal services to the large population living in rural areas, Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam on Friday launched free clinics in 2,648 villages nationwide.
At a function held at the Supreme Court through videoconference, the CJI, who is the patron-in-chief of the National Legal Services Authority that executes the programme, said: “The village legal services clinics will be manned by para-legal volunteers selected by the Legal Services Authorities and lawyers… The thrust is on assistance in issues relating to below poverty level cards, electoral identity cards and Aadhar cards, gas connections and pension.”
He said volunteers would also attempt to resolve disputes of the people so that they did not go to courts, which had already been overloaded with cases. The lawyer assigned to the clinic would offer people help in accessing justice, drafting applications for benefits of government schemes and filing police complaints.
Justice R.M. Lodha, Supreme Court judge and Executive Chairman, NALSA, said a large section of the population suffered from ignorance and illiteracy, and they were not aware of their legal rights. The aim of legal clinics or legal care centres was to ensure that these people got their legal rights enforced and “no citizen starves of hunger of justice.”
Justice A.K. Patnaik, Supreme Court judge and Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, said the clinics would function as single- window facilities for giving all types of services to the common man.