Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launches Probono Services, Legal Aid Schemes, Nyaya Mitra

Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad today inaugurated three welfare initiatives of the Department of Justice. The services launched are ‘Pro-bono legal services’, ‘Tele-law service’ and Nyaya Mitra.

Through the Pro bono legal services, lawyers who want to provide legal services free of cost can register themselves on a web-based platform launched by the DoJ. Litigants from marginalised sections of society, women, children, senior citizens, persons with low income and others can apply for pro bono legal representation.

The Law Minister also called for the legal fraternity to be more proactive in providing pro bono services, and highlighted the importance of giving recognition to those who do so. He went on to say,

“Providing credible transparent legal aid should be one of the criteria for designation as Senior Advocates.”

Another initiative launched today is Tele-law service, which aims to connect marginalised communities with lawyers through video conferencing facilities, to be set up at Common Service Centres (CSCs). The advice will be provided by a panel of lawyers at the State Legal Services Authority. The project also aims to employ around one thousand women paralegal volunteers. It will be launched in around 1800 panchayats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, the North-Eastern states and Jammu & Kashmir.

The Nyaya Mitra project aims to reduce pendency in lower courts, with a special focus on cases which are more than ten years old. The project will put a retired judicial officer, or an executive officer with judicial experience in charge of assisting those suffering as result of judicial delays.

The functions of this ‘Nyaya Mitra’ would be to identify case solder than ten years through the National Judicial Data Grid, connect litigants to the District Legal Services Authority, CSCs and “other government agencies and civil society organisations”, refer litigants to Lok Adalats, and help in framing prison reforms.

The project will be launched in 227 districts of the northern and eastern parts of the country, including the North-East, J&K, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal.

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