Senior advocates in Supreme Court and High Courts should earmark a certain part of their time to provide pro bono services to people from weaker sections, said President Ram Nath Kovind today.
He was speaking at the launch of the Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan.
Complimenting NALSA for launching this awareness drive on Gandhi Jayanti, the President said that Mahatma Gandhi is a symbol of service to humanity, including services to help the downtrodden get justice.
More than 125 years ago, Gandhiji had set certain examples which are relevant to the entire legal fraternity even today. He quoted Gandhiji and said, “The best legal talent must be available to the poorest at reasonable rates”.
The President said that this advice of Bapu should be followed by the legal fraternity, specially designated senior advocates in Supreme Court and High Courts. Such advocates should earmark a certain part of their time to provide pro bono (free) services to people from the
He commended NALSA for its vision to promote an inclusive legal system to ensure fair and meaningful justice to marginalized and disadvantaged sections. He was happy to note that NALSA is working towards the Constitutional objective of providing equal and barrier-free access to justice.
The President said that “Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms such as mediations, conciliations, and Lok Adalats remind us of our ancient values of peace and justice.”
In modern India too, since Independence, “we began moving forward from an era of the judicial aristocracy to the direction of judicial democracy,” he said,
NALSA has been playing an important role in this journey since its system became operational 25 years ago. He noted that during the previous two years, more than 1,11,00000 pending and pre-litigation cases have been disposed of by Lok Adalats.
He said that such disposal by Lok Adalats reduces the burden on the judicial system. He congratulated Chief Justice of India Justice N V Ramana and Justice U U Lalit for infusing new energy in the system of Lok Adalat and thereby helping dispense speedy justice for the
Noting that students from law colleges were attending the programme, the President said that on the young shoulders of such students rests the responsibility of shaping the India of future. Law colleges should adopt villages for providing legal services, he said.