NALSA Current Affairs

NALSA has launched Web Application for Legal Services to Prisoners

NALSA has launched a web application for free Legal Services to Prisoners at the conference held at Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. The Conference saw the participation of Member Secretaries and administrative officers of 18 State Legal Services Authorities. The Legal Services Management System has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Salient Facts

The State Legal Services Authorities and District Legal Services Authorities will feed into the web application the data for each individual prison inmate in the jails within their jurisdiction. The feeds will have details regarding the representation of prisoners through a counsel in the court.

The software will also help in generating reports showing the total number of inmates, the number of inmates unrepresented, the number of inmates represented by legal services lawyers and the number of inmates represented by private lawyers. All these information can be generated State wise, District wise and also with respect to each jail. The software is also capable of generating information with regard to prisoners eligible for bail under Section 436-A Cr.P.C.

Significance

The web application will help in making the legal services system more transparent. It would be useful for all the concerned authorities to monitor the grant of legal aid to the prisoners in order to make sure that all prisoners are represented right from their first day in the court.

NALSA

NALSA provides for free legal aid inter-alia to all persons in custody. It has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. It provides services of free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal. Its aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities. NALSA also identifies specific categories of marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for implementation of legal service programmes. It also organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

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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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