The state government, through its legal services arm, has ensured that the disadvantaged sections of society have access to law
By India Legal Team
Despite judiciary in India doing a commendable job in dispensing justice, there are innumerable instances where the poor and the deprived sections of society are unable to get justice as they have no access to courts. This is where the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh has made a mark in keeping with its socialist ideology. It has taken the arms of the law to the common man, the have-nots to
Justice for all
And therein lies the role of the UP State Legal Services Authority (UPSLSA). Its mission: No person should be deprived of justice because of economic or any other disadvantage. It has made its presence felt at the district (District Legal Service Authorities) and block level (Block Level Legal Service Committees), too.
This penetration is crucial considering that the state is the fourth largest in India, in terms of area. These together offer legal counseling and help to the poor, women, children, and SC/ST candidates.
Disposing of cases with the help of Lok Adalats is a major thrust area of these authorities. That the verdicts given by Lok Adalats enjoy the same legal sanctity as that of court orders makes the work easier and faster. The Adalats adjudicate on all cases, barring some criminal cases. UPSLSA, under the National Lok Adalat, has cleared 2.1 crore cases between June and December 2014, which includes civil, matrimony, labour, petty criminal issues, revenue, bank recovery and other sundry categories. The total settlement amount in these cases was more than `256 crore.
Toning up manpower and infrastructure to deal with the avalanche of cases is mandatory. In keeping with this objective, necessary legislations have been introduced, additional courts have been set up and numerous posts have been created. UPSLSA created 247 temporary technical posts (81 posts for system officers and 166 posts for system assistants). The state government is creating family courts, corruption-related courts, civil judge (junior division), rural courts and special judicial magistrate courts.
The data on augmentation of infrastructure and manpower is no less inspiring. A decision was taken to have one fast-track court in each district from September 2014. As many as 12 rural courts had already been announced by February 2014. The post of “Additional Civil judge” (senior division)/Chief Judicial Magistrate was created in Bansganj Tehsil of Gorakhpur district in March 2014 while the post of Civil Judge (Senior Division) in Sadabad Tehsil, Hathras district, was set up in November 2014.
The post of Additional Chief Justice of family court was created in Meerut in March 2014. Hapur was declared a Session Division in December 2014, and last but not the least, remuneration of all sweepers in courts across the state was increased from `2,000 to `6,000, so that they remain motivated enough to keep the court premises clean.
In keeping with the need of the times and to streamline processes, MBA degree holders have been appointed as court managers. Laptops and broadband connection have been provided to all judicial officials to equip them with the latest technology.
Money no constraint
The Akhilesh government has painstakingly allocated budgetary sanction towards its goal of justice for all, especially the poor and the needy. As per the state budget 2014-2015, `370 crore was earmarked for the Lucknow bench of the Uttar Pradesh High Court for a new building coming up in Gomti Nagar. Another `100 crore was allotted for residential buildings for legal officers. The state government reserved `30 crore for land acquisition needed for judicial buildings in newly-created districts, and `68 crore was apportioned for evening courts to be set up till March 31, 2015 in case of delayed justice.
Lok Adalat is a major thrust area in UP. UPSLSA, under the National Lok Adalat, has cleared 2.1 crore cases between June and December 2014.
The state has maximum number of litigation cases and it’s important to decide cases on priority basis and at the same time ensure there are no baseless litigations while appropriate documents are submitted in the preliminary stages.
UPSLSA is indeed leaving nothing to chance to ensure that the state government’s goal of justice to the weak and needy is dispensed quickly, and efficiently.