CJI suggests 24-hour legal aid helpline, clinics
CJI P Sathasivam has suggested opening of 24-hour legal aid helplines and clinics to provide timely advice to victims of heinous crimes, like rape.
New Delhi: Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam has suggested opening of 24-hour legal aid helplines and clinics to provide timely advice to victims of heinous crimes, like rape.
"Special measures can be undertaken to ensure legal aid and assistance to victims of rape and other heinous crimes. One of them can be opening of a 24-hour legal aid helpline and legal aid clinic to render timely legal advice," he said.
The CJI made the suggestion while speaking on the occasion of National Legal Services Day on November 9, also the 18th anniversary of the coming in force of the Legal Services Authorities Act.
Justice Sathasivam gave a number of other suggestions for improving the quality of service provided by legal service authorities across the country and said that "legal aid services are not grants but social entitlements of the people".
The other steps suggested by him included performance reviews of the lawyers who volunteer as legal aid counsel, providing adequate incentives to encourage young and bright lawyers, organising frequent legal aid camps in remote and rural areas, spreading of legal literacy and awareness with missionary zeal and weekly visits to prisons to provide legal assistance to undertrials and convicts.
Providing timely legal aid to juveniles and children in conflict with law was also suggested by the CJI who termed the recent escape of a number of juveniles from a reformation home in Delhi as "unfortunate".
He said that he had written to chief justices of all high courts to appoint a separate panel to regularly visit reformation homes and other such institutions, like old-age homes, to ascertain the position of their inhabitants.
Justice Sathasivam also suggested that a condition be imposed that any lawyer prior to being conferred status of senior advocate must have attended a few cases as a legal aid counsel.