UPSC 2017 IAS Exam: Important PIB Articles – April 20

Legal Aid and Empowerment initiatives launched 
  • With the launch of three key legal aid and empowerment initiatives of the Department of Justice – ‘Pro bono legal services’, ‘Tele law service’ and ‘Nyaya Mitra scheme’, country’s legal system would be digitally transformed, as digital inclusion holds the key to the country’s march towards Digital India
  • These three initiatives launched today are aimed at fulfilling the department’s core mandate of enhancing ‘access to justice’ for the poor and vulnerable communities, including making accessible quality and effective legal aid for them

Pro bono legal Services

  • It is a web based platform, through which interested lawyers can register themselves to volunteer pro bono services for the underprivileged litigants, who are unable to afford it
  • The Department of Justice has launched the online application for this initiative on its website gov.in
  • Through this online portal, litigants from marginalised communities (including members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, women, children, senior citizens, persons with low income and persons with disabilities) can also apply for legal aid and advice from the pro bono lawyers

Tele Law: Mainstreaming Legal Aid through Common Service Centre (CSC)

  • Through this the Department of Justice and NALSA (National Legal Service Authority) are partnering with CSC- e- Governance Service Limited for mainstreaming legal aid to the marginalized communities through the Common Service Centers (CSCs)
  • It is aimed at facilitating delivery of legal advice through an expert panel of lawyers – stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA)
  • The project would connect lawyers with clients through video conferencing facilities at CSCs, operated by para legal volunteers. For this purpose, this initiative would also play a pivotal role in empowering 1000 women para legal volunteers
  • The project would be launched across 1800 panchayats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, North Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir

District Facilitation Centre to reduce pendency: Engagement of Nyaya Mitra

  • This is aimed at reducing pendency of cases across selected districts, with special focus on those pending for more than 10 years
  • The project would be functionalized through a retired judicial or executive officer (with legal experience) designated as the ‘Nyaya Mitra’
  • It would be operated out of District Facilitation Centres, housed in CSCs
  • Nyaya Mitra’s responsibilities include among others
    • Identify the cases where there is a delay in investigations or trial through Judicial Data Grid
    • Provide assistance to litigants in such cases
    • He/she shall also refer the marginalized applicants to Lok Adalats for dispute resolution and render assistance towards prison reforms within the district, in coordination with the district judiciary and other stakeholders
  • This initiative would be launched in 227 districts including 27 districts from North East and Jammu & Kashmir and 200 districts from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal etc. and would be operated out of CSCs.