Jammu: Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Patron-in-Chief J&K State Legal Services Authority, Gita Mittal, today launched an ambitious legal outreach programme “Insaf Ki Dastak”.
The programme aims at providing access to justice at the door steps of people living in far-flung and inaccessible areas of the UTs of J&K and Ladakh who face severe hardships in reaching the courts for their legal issues.
The project “Insaaf ki Dastak” (Access to Justice for inaccessible areas) was envisioned by Chief Justice, Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal, Executive Chairman of J&K SLSA to ensure that no person is deprived of their constitutional rights enshrined in Article 39-A of the Constitution of India which provides that the State shall secure that the operation of legal system promotes justice, on the basis of equal opportunity and to ensure that the opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of any disability.
Pertinently, the rules governing the filing of suits, appeals and petition by the persons residing in remote areas were framed and by virtue of Notification no. 1617 dated: 07.03.2019, the High Court of J&K made necessary amendments to J&K General Rules (Civil) of 1978 svt. The High Court in Sch. (Schedule) A Chapter 8 of the J&K General Rules (Civil) of 1978 Svt. has notified certain areas of UTs of J&K and Ladakh as remote areas.
For achieving the target of the Project, the assistance of department of posts and certain government approved agencies providing public services (Common Services Centres) was also sought. The Para Legal Volunteers who form an important area of Legal Services Authorities would bridge the gap between the people living in inaccessible areas with Court and other Legal Services Authorities by facilitating filing of cases as per rules through the CSC’s /Post office located in their area.
In her inaugural address, Chief Justice stated that there are areas in both the UT’s which face severe vagaries of weather. Moreover, due to topography of the region a large number of areas remain cut-off and inaccessible for months together especially during the harsh winters. Resultantly, the inhabitants of these areas are deprived of their legal rights as they are unable to approach the courts for redressal of their grievances, she added. This programme, Chief Justice said, is aimed at to reach out to these people so that they do not remain deprived of the legal rights. She hoped that by better coordination between the courts, the post offices, Common Services Centres and the Legal Services Authorities, the programme shall play a major role in ensuring justice at people’s doorsteps.
For better operationalization of the scheme, the Para Legal Volunteers have been provided preliminary knowledge of laws and schemes provided by the Government especially in drafting petition, pleadings and applications. Besides, the Para Legal Volunteers, the post Masters, their subsidiary staff were also imparted training on how to maintain register of filed cases and applications with details of court fees and exemption if any.
Justice Rajesh Bindal dwelt deep into the concept behind the programme and its purpose to serve the poor and marginalised people and the role of Legal Services Authorities in carrying forward the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey lauded the concept and thought behind the programme and thanked the Chief Justice for floating the idea for such a programme.
On the occasion, MoU was exchanged between JKLSA and LLSA, Department of Posts and Government approved Common Service Centres. A special cover (Specially designed by Department of Posts) was also released.
Chief Justice also released a short film and a theme song on “Insaf Ki Dastak” besides videos showing filing of a case in Common Service Centres at Salamabad Uri and Sub-Post Office NyomaLeh were also released. Messages of eminent personalities of UTs of J&K and Ladakh were also displayed during the function. A Youtube Channel for the High Court was also launched on the occasion and the team involved in production of film and theme song was felicitated on the occasion.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, Executive Chairman Ladakh Legal Services Authority and other Judges of the High Court, D.C. Raina, Advocate General J&K, Achal Sethi Secretary Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs J&K Government, Jawad Ahmed Registrar General, High Court of J&K, Shalender Shora Chief Post Master General J&K, Shahnawaz Rashid, General Manager Common Services Centre e-Governance Agency, Government of India and officers of the High Court Registry attended the event. The function was also live streamed on Youtube.
Registrar General presented the welcome address with a brief outline of the purpose and scope of the programme.
Member Secretary J&K Legal Services Authority and Ladakh Legal Services Authority presented vote of thanks.