New Delhi: Aiming at extension of legal aid to marginalised, poor and vulnerable communities, the law ministry on Thursday launched three initiatives—pro bono legal services, a tele law service and ‘Nyaya Mitra’ scheme.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said using technology for providing access to justice is in tandem with the Digital India initiative, the primary focus being transparency, good governance and digital delivery of services.
“These initiatives will serve as a tool to give the poor, rural, marginalised communities a voice and ensure that everybody has equal access to justice.” Prasad said.
Pro bono legal services is a web-based initiative which can be accessed through the website www.doj.gov.in using which litigants from marginalised communities who cannot afford legal services can apply for legal aid and advice from pro bono lawyers.
The idea behind this online initiative is to promote the concept of legal aid in an institutionalized manner and ensure that those lawyers who volunteer for such services are duly recognized.
The second initiative, tele law’, aims to facilitate legal advice for marginalized communities through an expert panel of lawyers stationed at State Legal Services Centres (SLCA). It would help to connect lawyers with clients by video conferencing through the common service centres (CSCs) which would be operated by para-legal volunteers. The project would be launched across 1,800 panchayats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the problem of pendency of cases at various courts, the ‘Nyaya Mitra’ scheme aims to reduce pendency of cases across selected districts, with a special focus on those pending for more than 10 years.
This scheme would play a pivotal role in assisting litigants who are suffering due to delay in investigation or trial, by actively identifying such cases through the National Judicial Data Grid, providing legal advice and connecting litigants to government agencies and civil society organizations. This initiative would be launched in 227 districts—27 districts in the north east and J&K and 200 in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal.