National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has decided to embark upon a new mission this year to hold camps in remote areas to spread awareness and provide justice at doorstep.
Supreme Court judge and NALSA executive chairman Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Authority would not limit itself to legal aid and holding Lok Adalats in cities and would reach out to villages to provide all benefits to the people under various laws. Access to justice is not confined to court-based legal services. It extends to making people aware about their entitlements under various laws and welfare schemes and programmes and strengthening their access to the same. Legal service does not mean just legal aid and it means to get people the benefits they are entitled to. NALSA is on new march. In court proceeding, we provide justice to one out of two litigants but we can provide justice to many by holding such camps. NALSA and its officials would bring representatives of the government in the camps to ensure that benefits reached to poor and weaker sections of society. Three legal camps would be organised in each state in the first three months of the financial year. Authority had already organised camp in Assam for the benefits of labourers working in tea gardens. NALSA acts as a bridge and bring the recipient and government together and ensure that the poor people get their due.
In most of the camps, it has been observed that only creating of awareness is focused on. There is a need to affect a paradigm shift from awareness to empowerment. For this to happen, a new model of holding legal services camp is required which would not only make people aware about their entitlements and procedural aspects relating to the same but also connect them to the welfare schemes. Delivery-based model for holding camp is required. Besised, NALSA would set up legal literacy club in five government schools in each district and students would be provided legal literature in vernacular language to spread awareness.
By- Nikita Goel, Convenor, Student Reporter Committee, INBA