Ministry of Law and Justice Current Affairs

Fact Box: Tele-Law Initiative

The Ministry of Law and Justice has launched the ‘Tele-Law’ initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to provide legal aid services to the marginalized communities and citizens living in rural areas through the Common Service Centres (CSC) at the panchayat level, spread across the country.

Salient Highlights

‘Tele Law initiative would help people to seek legal advice from lawyers with the help of video conferencing facility available at the Common Service Centres (CSC). Apart from the lawyers, law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-Government Organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also be connected through the CSCs.

In the initial phase, the initiative will be tested as a pilot project across 500 Common Service Centres (CSC) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In this phase, challenges to the initiative would be identified and necessary corrections would be made and would eventually be rolled out across the country in a phased manner.

A new portal called ‘Tele Law’ will be made available across the CSC network to connect the citizens to legal service providers with the help of technology-enabled platforms. The initiative would strengthen access to justice for the marginalized communities.

The government will also put in place a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the quality of the legal advice delivered to the people.

Under the initiative, a Para Legal Volunteer (PLV), would be employed in each CSC. The volunteer would serve as the first point of contact for the marginalized communities in the rural areas who will help them understand the legal issues, explain the advice given by lawyers and assist in further action as per the advice of the lawyer.

Around 1000 women Para Legal Volunteers will also be trained under this initiative to provide legal aid services through the CSCs. This is expected to promote women entrepreneurship and empowerment.

Further, the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) will also provide a panel of lawyers who will provide advice from the state capitals to the applicants in the CSCs through video conferencing.

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Law Ministry clears Kambala Bill

The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has cleared the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill 2017, and thus legalising kambala. The bill will now be sent to the President for getting his assent.

Background

In November 2016, the Karnataka high court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty. The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.

Following protests by people and kambala organisers, Karnataka Assembly had passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 on February 13, 2017 to allow kambala, the traditional buffalo race and bullock-cart racing.
In April 2017, the Union Home Ministry asked the state government to modify or omit the phrasesubject to such other conditions as may be prescribed” in the sub-section 2 of section 3 of the Bill as this phrase would make it possible for the state government to include more sports involving animals through government notifications in the future. The state government made the modifications and sent it back to the union government.

Kambala

Kambala is the traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala. The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two seprate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer. In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing is non-competitive and buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields. Besides, there is also ritualistic approach as some agriculturists race their buffaloes as a means to thank the god for protecting their animals from disease. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.

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