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SC judge stresses need for effective legal aid to the poor

Justice Ramana, who took over as executive chairman of NALSA recently, highlighted this in a video conference with the executive chairmen and member-secretaries of all State Legal Services Authorities on Monday.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 18, 2019 4:02:12 am
SC judge stresses need for effective legal aid to the poor Justice Ramana took over as executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) recently. (File)

Justice N V Ramana of Supreme Court has stressed the need to provide effective legal aid to the needy —right from the stage they are summoned to a police station — and for training advocates enrolled under the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in law relating to pre-arrest, arrest and remand so that they can effectively represent clients.

Justice Ramana, who took over as executive chairman of NALSA recently, highlighted this in a video conference with the executive chairmen and member-secretaries of all State Legal Services Authorities on Monday.

The session was held primarily to discuss priority areas and identify sectors that require strengthening. Sources said the discussions concentrated on core areas for better coordination and implementation of plans and ideas.

“Ways and means to focus more on providing competent legal aid in courts to needy and eligible people, conduct more well-structured training programmes for panel lawyers, making monitoring and mentoring committees at the district level effective and rigorously implementing NALSA guidelines on the subject were discussed,” a source said.

The meeting also took up the implementation of “Legal Aid Defence Counsel System” to make legal aid more professional and responsive. Seventeen districts have been selected for initially implementing the system, which will engage lawyers on full-time basis.

Legal Aid Defence Counsel System was adopted at the NALSA all-India meet in Nagpur, wherein it was proposed that lawyers will be exclusively engaged on a full-time basis to conduct legal aid cases in sessions courts.

Underlining the need for this, Justice Ramana, who is also the second most senior judge of the SC, had said that one of the biggest problems in the way of successful legal aid was the lack of continuity, focus and accountability. The new system is aimed at increasing this by assigning cases from the beginning to advocates whose sole attention will be on legal aid cases, and whose performance will therefore be more effectively reviewed.

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