RGNUL organizes National Seminar on “Access to Justice: Right to Legal Aid and Legal Services in India”
Centre for Advanced Studies in Criminal Law (CASCL), Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab in association with Punjab Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh organized National Seminar on “Access to Justice: Right to Legal Aid and Legal Services in India.” Justice S.S. Saron, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court and Justice T.P.S. Mann, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court, presided over the inaugural session. The dignitaries were welcomed by Prof (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor, RGNUL.
Prof (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal, in his welcome address, elaborated upon the significance of access to justice. He eulogized the efforts made by Justice S.S. Saron and other eminent jurists in the development of Legal Aid Services at RGNUL. He talked about the crucial role played by Justice S.S. Saron in translating laws into simple, easy and local languages to create awareness about Legal Services among the weaker sections of the society. “These translations,” he said, “were disseminated to schools and colleges for sensitizing the students.” Prof. (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal also apprised the delegates of the various Legal Aid Camps organized by the students and the faculty of RGNUL.
Justice T.P.S. Mann talked about the evolution of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. “Legal Services Committees,” he said, “have been constituted to give free access to justice to the marginalized.” He also informed the seminarians about the organizing Paralegal Clinics in the unorganized sector. “Punjab Legal Services Authority,” he said, “provided social, economic justice as enshrined in the Preamble.” He discussed the role of Legal Aid in providing justice to farmers in crisis, to orphans and to old aged people.
Justice S.S. Saron, in his keynote address, emphasized on the importance of providing legal services to the accused. He also focused on the role of NALSA, which has expanded the ambit of legal services. NALSA has shifted from conventional legal assistance in the courts to assistance to access to justice to the underprivileged. “Legal Services Authority enters into unchartered terrains by pro-actively reaching every strata of society,” he said. Justice Saron remarked that the initiative of NALSA eased the pendency in Indian Judiciary and created ways for amicable, speedy and less procedural disposal of cases. He encouraged the students to participate in various legal activities to contribute to the society.
More than 100 papers were selected for presentation in the technical sessions. Research papers on diverse sub themes – Legal Literacy, Legal Services to Victims of Drug Abuse, Legal Representation and Legal Aid for Undertrials, Legal Services to Women and Juvenile Offenders, Effective Utilization of Technology to advance Legal Aid Services – were presented during the sessions. Web Conference was also organized to facilitate the paper presenters. Earlier, book of selected research papers titled Right to Legal Aid and Legal Services in India was also released.
Prof. (Dr.) G.I.S. Sandhu, Registrar RGNUL, proposed a Vote of Thanks on the occasion. He observed that the deliberations in the technical sessions would enable the seminarians to find answers to the issues and challenges associated with Legal Service Aid.