The Ministry of Law and Justice informed Lok Sabha that the government has taken several steps to make affordable, quality and timely justice accessible to the common man. In this regard, it has launched the Citizens’ Tele-Law mobile application which provides access to pre-litigation advice and direct consultation with Commission counsel, free of charge.
The Justice Minister said that the app is available in 6 languages i.e. English, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu on Android and iOS platforms and so far, 1,79,339 councils were activated for the beneficiaries, including the rural population.
The information was provided in response to the following questions posed by MP Ravindhranath:
“a) whether the Tele-Law mobile application launched with the aim of providing/guaranteeing legal information to people and empowering them to access dispute resolution from the respected body has been able to penetrate the rural population and , if so, details of which;
(b) whether there is an alternative to the mobile application such as a regular voice call facility which is currently available to provide this service, as access to smart phones may not be available to the the entire rural population, in particular the elderly and, where applicable, details thereof;
(c) whether the government has taken initiatives to raise public awareness of the benefits and operation of this application”
Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju said the method of direct consultation via apps complements the already existing assisted model of seeking legal advice available at Joint Service Centers (CSCs) at the Panchayat level, which connects beneficiaries one-on-one to panel counsel via telephone and video conferencing facilities, available at these CSCs. He added that Tele-Law currently operates in 669 districts across 36 States/UT covering 75,000 Gram Panchayats.
He said service in CSCs is free for persons authorized under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities (LSA) Act 1987 and for others at Rs.30/- per consultation. Tele-Law has helped advise more than 14.89 lakh beneficiaries till February 28, 2022, it also added.
Further, he replied that awareness of the app has also spread through social media including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Koo. Electronic tutorials and user manuals for the application have been made available on the Tele-Law website.
MP P Ravindhranath also asked for details of enforcement awareness initiatives as well as measures taken by the government to ensure free legal aid under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authority.
Further, the Minister of Justice replied that legal service institutions have been established from the levels of Taluk Court up to the Supreme Court. He replied that during the period of April 2021 to January 2022, 62.21 lakhs of people received free legal services and 133.27 lakhs of cases (pending in court and disputes at the pre-litigation stage ) were settled via LokAdalats/e-LokAdalats. .
Further, he said that legal aid clinics have also been set up in prisons, observation homes, juvenile justice boards which are staffed by volunteer lawyers and paralegals from legal services authorities . To enable equitable access to justice, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has also launched the Legal Services Mobile App on Android and iOS versions to enable easy access to legal aid for ordinary citizens, a- he added.
In addition to the above, he mentioned,
“The government has launched the Nyaya Bandhu (pro bono legal services) program to connect people eligible for free legal aid under Section 12 of the LSA Act 1987 with pro bono lawyers. 3989 pro lawyers bono have been registered under the program and 1552 cases have been registered by the beneficiaries up to February 28, 2022.”
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