Union Law & Justice Minister Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda has called for appropriate and effective legal services to be reached to poor, to ensure equality before law as we are a welfare state. Addressing an orientation workshop cum launching function organized by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in collaboration with the Delhi State Legal Authority (DLSA) in New Delhi , he said the legal services programme must be region specific to consider all local factors. The Minister said that Legal Aid Services is one of the essential functions of a Welfare State for a simple reason that in a welfare state people should have equal access to justice irrespective of the constraints as well as differences in socio-economic backgrounds. He said continuous evaluation and revision of ongoing programmes is also necessary to remove major hurdles in accessing justice and there is a need for incorporation of specific legal services provision in these schemes. He said it should be assessed to see as to how many cases are those involving a requirement of legal aid among 26 crore cases that in pendency.
In his key note address Shri T.S. Thakur, Judge, Supreme Court of India emphasized the need to create awareness about the Legal Aid Services Programmes especially in the younger generation. He said to ensure the mission of NALSA “Access of Justice to all “, we will have to approach people for this purpose. He said, NALSA through its state level bodies makes recommendations for revamping and proper implementation of schemes.
The other speakers on the occasion were Judge of the Supreme Court Shri Anil R.Dave, Justice Ms. G.Rohini, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and Judge of Delhi High Court Shri B.D.Ahmad.
On this occasion, the following seven (07) new and revised schemes were also launched. These are to be implemented by the Legal Services Institutions at the National, State, District and Taluk Levels
1. NALSA (Victims of trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation) Scheme, 2015
2. NALSA (Legal Services to the Workers in the Unorganised Sector) Scheme, 2015
3. NALSA (Child Friendly Legal Services to Children and their Protection) Scheme, 2015
4. NALSA (Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disabled Persons) Scheme, 2015
5. NALSA (Effective Implementation of Poverty Alleviation Schemes) Scheme,2015
6. NALSA (Protection and Enforcement of Tribal Rights) Scheme, 2015
7. NALSA (Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and Eradication of Drug Menace) Scheme, 2015.
The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has created Legal Services Institutions at the National, State, District and Taluk Levels to provide Legal Services to the marginalized sections of the society in order to ensure that they are able to avail their rights and entitlements. Apart from providing court related services, the Legal Services Institutions are also mandated to undertake awareness programmes and preventive and strategic legal aid programmes. NALSA being the Central Authority is required to advice on framing of effective and meaningful schemes for making Legal Services accessible under the Act. The Minister further added that for this purpose the present actualization workshop has been convened in collaboration with the Delhi State Legal services Authority, in which after the presentations by Judges, the Secretaries of the concerned Departments will give an overview of the Government policies, scheme and facilities for the target groups. In the open house discussions in each session, further suggestions for effective implementation of the schemes will be invited from the participants.