Asserting that empowering the backward and downtrodden sections of society is part of good governance, Chief Justice T S Thakur on Saturday said tribal people should get the benefits of government schemes. The CJI was addressing a workshop on ‘Protection and Enforcement of Tribal Rights’, organised by State Legal Services Authority at the campus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur.
Chief objective of the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) is to end discrimination between rich and poor, to make backward, weaker and uneducated people aware of their rights and provide them necessary legal aid for ensuring justice, he said.
“For this, NALSA has laid seven rules, which include protection and enforcement of rights of tribals and provision of legal services to workers of unorganised sectors, children, mentally ill people, addicts, victims of trafficking and commercial sex exploitation,” Thakur said.
The CJI said tribal people are dwelling right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and constitute nearly 33 per cent population of Chhattisgarh.
“There are various rules including Schedule 5 and 6 of Constitution along with a number of schemes of Central and state governments for protection and enforcement of rights of tribal people.
“Objective of this workshop is to ensure that tribal people should get the benefits of these rules and schemes and any loopholes in this regard should be eliminated. Empowering backward, weak and poor people is part of good governance,” he added.
The CJI said, “the way Chhattisgarh government is recruiting local people on posts of Grade-III and Grade-IV category, appointment of para-legal volunteers and panel lawyers (under NALSA) should also be done from among tribals so that they may create awareness among their communities regarding their rights in a better way.”
Hailing the development of the state, the CJI said that people from other states look at Chhattisgarh as a poor and backward state, “but when you actually visit here and see the smooth roads, tall buildings and national institutions taking shape here, (it) will convince you that the state is marching ahead on the path of progress at an accelerated pace.”
Supreme Court Judge Abhay Manohar Sapre, Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Deepak Gupta, State Legal Service Authority chairman Preetinkar Diwakar and other dignitaries were present in the function.
Later, the CJI and Chief Minister Raman Singh laid the foundation stone of the nation’s first commercial court building in Naya Raipur.
The first commercial court, inaugurated in Naya Raipur by Supreme Court judge Madan B Lokur and Singh on July 2, is currently functioning in the building of Chhattisgarh State Planning Commission.
Speaking at the workshop, the Chief Minister, in an apparent reference to Maoists, said, “the destroyers of schools, hospitals and bridges and their supporters can never be the well-wishers of tribal people.
“Bastar is undergoing transformation. I am glad to inform that state government’s efforts in the field of education has resulted in children of Bastar making it to institutions of national repute such as IIT, IIM, NIT.”
He said Chhattisgarh is the first state to provide Right to Food Security and skill development to its people.
Acknowledging that rules laid by NALSA will play an important role in development of the country, Singh said, “It’s a matter of great pride for Chhattisgarh that the CJI is here to deliberate on such an important subject.
“The seven rules of NALSA not only protect the rights of people belonging to weaker and backward sections of society but also ensure implementation of state governments’ schemes.”