19 June 2017

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'Tele-Law' initiative launched for legal assistance in rural areas


In wake of providing legal aid easily accessible in rural areas, Government of India has introduced a portal called ‘Tele-Law’ initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It will be operational through Common Service Centres (CSC) at panchayat level, spread across the country. Through Tele Law initiative, citizens in rural areas would have access to legal advice from lawyers with help of video conferencing facility available at Common Service Centres (CSC). Access to justice for marginalized communities would be strengthened as law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-Government Organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also be connected through the CSCs. In its initial phase, ‘Tele-Law’ scheme will be tested across 500 Common service Centres (CSC) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in order to understand challenges and make necessary corrections to scheme before it is rolled out across country in a phased manner.

A panel of lawyers from State capitals, will also be provided by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), for legal advice and counselling to Applicants via video conferencing. Further, there will also be an evaluation system for assessing quality of legal advice provided. Minister for Electronics, IT, Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that, “Tele-Law will fulfill our commitment to ensure access to justice and empowerment to the poor. CSCs and Para Legal Volunteers will offer easy legal advice to litigants in rural India making them digitally and financially inclusive.”

Under the scheme, a Para Legal Volunteer (PLV) will be engaged by Common Service Centre (CSC) as first point of contact for rural citizens and will help them in understanding legal issues, explain the advice given by lawyers and assist them in further action required in cases as per advice of lawyer. Women PLVs will be encouraged and trained under the Scheme. A trained PLV will be available in a CSC for ten days in a month to help applicant connect with a lawyer via. video conferencing facility at CSC and to keep a track on progress of Applicants’ cases and their grievances and maintain a record.

‘Tele-Law’ initiative is in continuation to Access to Justice Project for Marginalized Persons which is implemented by Department of Justice and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). Access to Justice Project partnered with CSC-E-governance Services India Limited is prevalent to spread legal literacy through common service centres in Jharkhand (10 CSCs in 3 districts) and 500 CSCs across 11 districts in Rajasthan. Initiative by Government is a positive step towards empowering and promoting women entrepreneurship.

Tags : Justice Access Rural areas

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