Legal aid provided only in 1% of cases, awareness is key: Justice UU Lalit at HTLS
Supreme Court judge, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, said on Saturday that legal services (in the form of aid) is very crucial in litigations but is given in very few cases. He said that legal aid and Lok Adalats have been provided as tools to help eligible candidates across India for speedy resolution of cases.
As chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), Justice Lalit explained how this is being done.
“When I took over, I had meetings with all state legal services authorities’ chairpersons. We found, and these statistics are quite alarming, out of all cases which are pending in courts, just about 1% are under the belt of legal services,” the Supreme Court judge said on Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS).
“That’s a very disturbing situation. If we believe that in this country, large number of population is below the poverty line, if we believe that people are in disadvantaged situation, then the statistics don’t support that. It should be greater than 1%, which the part of the docket of legal aid,” he added.
So why is the situation so alarming? “We found it is due to lack of awareness, complete ignorance about the apparatus which is to their advantage and which they can take resort to at any juncture,” said Justice Lalit.
He then explained how NALSA is working towards solving the issues by launching a six-week-long programme. “A strategy was chalked out to cover over six lakh villages in the country at least thrice during this period. We received help from para-legal volunteers who reached out these sections of the population,” said Justice Lalit.
He further said that over 19 lakh villages were reached in this period, lauding the efforts of the functionaries.
Justice Lalit took over as the executive chairperson of NALSA in June this year. New records were made in disposal of cases in Lok Adalats as the Supreme Court judge infused renewed vigour and use of technological tools to facilitate settlement of cases without overstretched trials.
Justice Lalit is in line to become the Chief Justice of India in August 2022.