Improve the quality of legal aid services

Updated on Sep 18, 2022 08:11 PM IST

Over the years, authorities have sought to remedy this by introducing schemes tailor-made for vulnerable groups. If the CJI’s encouragement can push more lawyers into helping the needy, it’ll only help improve the health of the justice system in the country

Research has shown that a key fix for India’s overstretched legal system is the lack of access to quality lawyers, especially for marginalised communities and poor people — who form the bulk of people behind bars (Getty Images/iStockphoto) PREMIUM
Research has shown that a key fix for India’s overstretched legal system is the lack of access to quality lawyers, especially for marginalised communities and poor people — who form the bulk of people behind bars (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
ByHT Editorial

Legal aid work is neglected in India and young law graduates have a duty to devote their time and energy as much as possible to providing legal aid services and instill a sense of compassion, Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit said on Saturday. In a lecture in Odisha, the CJI admitted that legal aid work was still a neglected field and exhorted young people to think of legal aid when they consider professional commitments.

Research has shown that a key fix for India’s overstretched legal system is the lack of access to quality lawyers, especially for marginalised communities and poor people — who form the bulk of people behind bars. Almost 80% of the population is potentially eligible for obtaining services under the Legal Services Act 1987. India has a robust instituti-onal framework of legal aid bodies. This has the National Legal Services Authority at the helm, 37 state legal services authorities, 673 district legal services authorities, 2,351 taluka legal services committees, 39 high court legal services committees, and the Supreme Court legal services panel for oversight. However, the difficulty lies in ascertaining the quality of legal aid. Inadequate monitoring frameworks mean that many lawyers don’t visit their clients, or neglect to represent them if the clients are not influential. Over the years, authorities have sought to remedy this by introducing schemes tailor-made for vulnerable groups. If the CJI’s encouragement can push more lawyers into helping the needy, it’ll only help improve the health of the justice system in the country.

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