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Law Minister appeals to state legal authorities to release maximum undertrial prisoners by August 15

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Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has appealed to the State Legal Services Authorities in the country to intensify their efforts to release maximum undertrial prisoners by August 15, 2022, on the anniversary of the 75th year of Independence.

He appealed to them to further intensify their efforts to provide legal counsel/aid to undertrial prisoners so that the maximum number of undertrial prisoners are released on or before August 15, 2022, while celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Law Minister said.

Speaking at the 18th All India Legal Services Authorities Meet at Jaipur on Saturday, the Law Minister expressed concern about over 5 crore pending cases and a large number of undertrial prisoners. In this Azadi Ka Amrit Kal, 3.5 lakh prisoners are undertrials in India, he said.

In every district, there is a review committee under the leadership of the District Judges, Rijiju said.

In his address, the Law Minister urged High Court justices to take a proactive role to impress upon the District Judges. Release as many as possible because, the Central government has decided to give a special remission to prisoners and guidelines have been framed. He also urged the undertrial review committees to act more proactively and help maximum people, Rijiju said.

The Minister also made a push for use of regional languages at High Courts and trial courts. In Supreme Court, arguments and judgments are in English. There is need to give primacy for regional languages in High Courts and trial courts.

There could be lawyers, who are knowledgeable in law, but cannot present their arguments in English. If local languages are permitted in Courts, we can solve many problems. If a lawyer can’t speak English, then he should have the freedom to speak in his mother tongue. It should not be that only those who speak English get more fees, more cases, and more respect, he said

Expressing concern over the exorbitant lawyer’s fees obstructing the access to justice for the common man, he said people who are wealthy and resourceful get good lawyers.

In the Supreme Court, many lawyers are unaffordable for the common man. If lawyers charge Rs 10-15 lakh per hearing, how can a common man afford their expertise? Courts can’t be only for privileged, the Law Minister said.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Supreme Court judge Justice U.U. Lalit, and Chief Justices of the High Courts were present at the meet.

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