New Delhi: Legal services in the country have been growing at a steady annual rate of 8.2 percent from 2005-06 to 2011-12 and the profession consists of nearly 1.2 million registered advocates, the Economic Survey today said.
"Legal services in the country have been growing at a steady annual rate of 8.2 percent from 2005-06 to 2011-12... Every year approximately 60,000 to 70,000 law graduates join the legal profession. India is ranked 45th with a score of 4.5 in terms of judicial independence by the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13," said the Survey.
As regards efficiency in the legal framework in settling disputes, India has improved its position from 64th rank in 2011-12 to 59th in 2012-13 with a score of 3.8, it added.
India is regarded as one of the best Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) destinations on account of the low cost of legal professionals (which is 50-80 percent more cost competitive than USA and UK), geographical advantage (Indian Time Zone allows it to offer legal services round the clock), language proficiency, and the legal system which is inspired by those of USA and UK.
This is also because the LPO industry in the country can make use of advanced means of communication technology, and legal support in the form of research document reviews, drafting of documents, making applications for patents and various paralegal and administrative services, it added.
Through the free legal services available in country, more than 7.82 lakh persons have benefited during April 1 to October 31, 2012. Of this, more than 23,000 belong to the Scheduled Caste and about 20,000 persons are Scheduled Tribes. More than 37,000 women and 5,900 children have also benefited through these free services, it said.
In addition, more than 54,000 Lok Adalats have settled 17.3 lakh cases during the same period. Under the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA), through the Paralegal Volunteers Project 73,555 PLVs have been trained in the country and have started functioning.
These volunteers impart legal awareness to various target groups, thus bridging the gap between common people and legal service institutions, the Survey said.