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Four-phase Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign reaches more than 100 crore citizens: NALSA

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Marking the completion of almost seven-week long Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign, the National Legal Services Authority organized a valedictory ceremony of the said Campaign at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India & Patron-in-Chief, NALSA Shri Justice N.V. Ramana presided as the Chief Guest of the event, wherein Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Union Minister for Women & Child Development and Hon’ble Mr. Justice U.U. Lalit, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Executive Chairman, NALSA were the guests of honor. The ceremony witnessed the august presence of Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairperson, SCLSC and Shri K.K. Venugopal, Attorney General of India.

The abovesaid Campaign was flagged off on 02nd October, 2021 by Hon’ble the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind. It had been organized as a part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to ensure that no person especially poor and marginalized remains unaware of its rights and entitlements even after 75 years of Independence. The target of the Campaign was that the legal services authorities reach each and every village of the country at least three times during the entire Campaign Period and carry out numerous legal awareness and outreach programmes in four phases to take their activities upto the grassroot level. The authorities were also tasked toconduct door to door visits as well as to deploy mobile vans in order to maximize the awareness and outreach amongst the public.

Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign

It is a matter of pride that the Legal Services Authorities under the aegis of NALSA, had achieved all the given targets within a very short span and they organized several other activities in addition to the given tasks. During the said Campaign, the Legal Services Authorities reached almost every citizen of the country and made them aware about their rights and entitlements. A tentative consolidated figure of all the four phases show that more than 100 crore persons were made aware or interacted or benefitted during these four phases. Apart from awareness programmes, capacity building programs, legal services camps, bike rallies, essay writing competitions, quizzes, painting competitions, moot court competitions, short film making competition, among various activities were organized to attract the attention of youngsters as well as law students, who play a significant role in spreading awareness and outreach. A large number of mobile vans were also deployed to reach the far-flung areas of the country, which are not easily accessible.

Chief Justice of India Shri NV Ramana and Patron-In-Chief National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
Chief Justice of India Shri NV Ramana and Patron-In-Chief National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

Also Read: People who are suffering do not look for well-dressed lawyers, all they want is relief, says CJI NV Ramana

It is a matter of pride that the Legal Services Authorities under the aegis of NALSA, had achieved all the given targets within a very short span and they organized several other activities in addition to the given tasks. During the said Campaign, the Legal Services Authorities reached almost every citizen of the country and made them aware about their rights and entitlements. A tentative consolidated figure of all the four phases show that more than 100 crore persons were made aware or interacted or benefitted during these four phases. Apart from awareness programmes, capacity building programs, legal services camps, bike rallies, essay writing competitions, quizzes, painting competitions, moot court competitions, short film making competition, among various activities were organized to attract the attention of youngsters as well as law students, who play a significant role in spreading awareness and outreach. A large number of mobile vans were also deployed to reach the far-flung areas of the country, which are not easily accessible.

During the Keynote Address, Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India congratulated all the Legal Services Authorities for their hard work, which have culminated into historical figures. His Lordship stated that NALSA has an important role of play in view of the poverty and other ills plaguing millions in the country, thereby, affecting their right to have legal representation. His Lordship remembered Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and stated that, “Independent India inherited a very fragmented society and as Pandit Nehru said ‘calling a starved man free was nothing but to mock him’. People’s aspiration for dignified life is often met with challenges.”

Supreme Court Judge, Justice UU Lalit and Executive Chairman National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
Supreme Court Judge, Justice UU Lalit and Executive Chairman National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

In His Introductory Speech, Hon’ble Mr. Justice U.U. Lalit apprised the public that the Legal Services Authorities covered all the villages of the country more than thrice during the Campaign. He appreciated the efforts of Panel lawyers, Para Legal Volunteers, functionaries of Legal Services Authorities, Law Students, etc., who made the Campaign a huge success. He stated that there will be a significant rise in the number of legal aid seekers and stressed upon the need to enhance the quality of legal aid to build a trust towards the Legal Services Authorities. He called upon the Senior Advocates and other established lawyers to take up 2-3 legal aid cases per month so that the quality legal services can be afforded to poor and marginalized.

Also Read: National Legal Services Authority holds awareness camps across Maharashtra upto November 14 under pan-India legal awareness and outreach campaign

Smriti Zubin Irani Minister of Women and Child Development of India
Smriti Zubin Irani Minister of Women and Child Development of India

During her address, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani commended the historical success of the Campaign and stated that this is a message to the nation that, “Free Legal Aid is not a charity rather it is a matter of right”. She emphasized that justice should also reach all the children, who do not have a say in the courtrooms. She extended her Ministry’s support to NALSA for its future endeavors and promised that collaborative efforts will be made by the Ministry of Women & Child Development and NALSA to work towards the welfare of women and children. A pre-recorded video of Shri Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Union Minister for Law & Justice was also played, wherein he congratulated NALSA and expressed great satisfaction regarding the impact of the Campaign.

Supreme Court Judge Justice AM Khanwilkar
Supreme Court Judge Justice AM Khanwilkar

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Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar presented the vote of thanks of the event and thanked all the functionaries, workforce, stakeholders and every other person, who made contribution in achieving these monumental results of the Campaign. 

Shri K.K. Venugopal praised the leadership of Chief Justice of India, Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and stated that Campaign is one of its kind and such a magnanimous Campaign was made possible with the efforts of all the Hon’ble Judges, who are sitting at the helm of the affairs.

Justice UU Lalit and Executive Chairman National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
Justice UU Lalit and Executive Chairman National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

For the first time in any official function, the bouquet and mementoes to the guests on the dais were presented by the children which included specially abled children.  

On the occasion of Children’s Day, NALSA launched a scheme named “Legal Services for Differently Abled Children Scheme”, 2021 for facilitating access to differently abled children and to extend to them the benefits of the welfare measures in order to assist them in attaining their full potential. 

Also Read: SC directs states and Union Territories to provide details of children living on footpaths

A special mention is due to all the especially abled children, who gave exceptional performances during the event. These children displayed that the disabilities cannot restrict any child from achieving his or her maximum potential.

In the programme, two teams of 23 speciallyabled children came all the way from Tripura and performed in two events. Out of these nine visually impaired children (boys and girls) performed a chorus song and 14 mentally challenged childrenfrom Sabalamban Rehabilitation Centre for Special need children, Tripura performed a group dance. 13 children with physical disability also performed a group dance on “Vande Mataram”. The audience including dignitaries at dais gave standing ovation to these scintillating performances by specially abled children on Children’s Day. Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India & Patron in Chief, NALSA announced a special prize of ₹ 11,000/- to every child who performed in the function.  

The event was attended by Hon’ble Patron-in-Chiefs and Executive Chairpersons of all the State Legal Services Authorities as well as Chairpersons of all the High Court Legal Services Committees and witnessed the presence of NALSA Central Authority Members, Chairperson and Members of Bar Council of India, SCBA President, Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), Other Dignitaries, Advocates, law students and law faculties.

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