Citizens now have free access to Tele-Law service: Kiren Rijiju

Citizens now have free access to Tele-Law service: Kiren Rijiju

Tele-law will be free for citizens starting this year, announced Shri Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Law and Justice today at the 18th All India Legal Services Meet. Using the tele/video-conferencing infrastructure at Common Service Centers (CSCs) spread across 1 lakh Gram Panchayats, Tele-Law mainstreams legal aid to the marginalized seeking legal help. Tele-Law Mobile Application (Android and iOS) was also launched in 2021 and is currently available in 22 languages. In just five years, Tele-Law has reached 20 lakhs people with legal services thanks to the digital revolution.

Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice, and National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Integrated Delivery of Legal Services. The Union Minister said the MoU symbolized our joint commitment to advance Justice for All and establish the Rule of Law as the most unifying factor among citizens. In the MoU, NALSA would provide 700 lawyers in each district exclusively for Tele-Law. Empanelled lawyers will now also act as referral lawyers and help strengthen pre-litigation mechanisms for dispute avoidance and dispute resolution. The association will help reach 1 crore beneficiaries in no time, says Shri Kiren Rijiju.

In his speech, Shri Kiren Rijiju called for the release of undertrials to decongest jails. Through its SLSAs and DLSAs, NALSA already provides free legal aid/legal counsel to undertrials through Under Trial Review Committees (UTRCs). UTRCs held 21,148 meetings last year, releasing 31,605 undertrial inmates.

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In coordination with the Under Trial Review Committee, the Minister appealed to the State Legal Services Authorities to provide legal counsel/aid to under-trial prisoners so that as many as possible are released. He further appealed to the High Courts to ensure during this period regular meetings of UTRC headed by the concerned District Judge so that the maximum number of undertrial prisoners languishing in our jails are recommended for release before 15th August 2022. He said that the release of undertrial prisoners may be seen in the context that as part of the celebration of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” the Government of India has already decided to grant Special Remission to prisoners for which the guidelines have already been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In his concluding remarks, Shri Kiren Rijiju said that access to justice has been recognized as an integral part of our legal framework prescribed under the Constitution of India. And to achieve, realize this vision and build on the work accomplished so far, there needs to be greater collaboration between legal services authorities and various departments and agencies of the government.

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OV Digital Desk