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17th All India meet of State Legal Services Authorities (17th - 18th Aug 2018) at Nagpur

The Hindu

 Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi spoke at conclusion of 17th all-India meet of State legal services authorities.

The event was held in Nagpur on Sunday.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi spoke at conclusion of 17th all-India meet of State legal services authorities.

Justice must reach the remotest corners of the country and to the last person, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said on Sunday at the conclusion of 17th all-India meet of State legal services authorities in Nagpur.

Chief Justice Gogoi also stressed upon requirement of legal education in schools beyond rudimentary awareness. He outlined that the legal services authorities must now move from awareness to engagement.

Addressing the conference, he called for engagement of students and tapping their potential as ambassadors of the mission of access to justice.

The annual conclave, which is held primarily to deliberate upon key issues in legal aid services in India, was inaugurated on Saturday by Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Supreme Court judge, Justice S.A. Bobde, summed up the two-day proceedings as a launchpad for next phase of reforms in the State legal service authorities across the nation.

Justice Bobde highlighted the introduction of Legal Aid Defence Counsel System on pilot basis in selected States from each zone.

He added that the system would not only aid in assured availability of legal aid to people, but would also ensure representation of cases of the poor and marginalised by seasoned lawyers, enhanced accountability and responsiveness to the client.

The conclave deliberated on the need to focus on the quality of legal aid being delivered and identified the role of panel layers. It decided that there would be focus on engagement criteria of panel lawyers along with their sensitisation, periodic review of their performance among others to ensure the most dedicated and deserving professionals are on board.

The conference is an annual feature where State Legal Authorities congregate and discuss modalities, challenges and deliberate on important issues. The conference was attended by all 36 State Legal Service Authority representatives.

 

Times of India

Use mobile tech, vernacular scripts to take justice to the poor: CJI

National Legal Services Authority and Maharashtra State Legal Service Authority of jointly conduct the 17th al...Read More

Nagpur: “Right to legal aid means right to quality legal aid,’’ said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday in Nagpur and suggested the leveraging of technology as a tool to achieve it.

“Let us use technology to provide legal aid through mobile apps, specially through vernacular language,’’ he said in a suggestion that could have a far-reaching impact on speeding up access to justice for all. He observed that the “constitutional mandate’’ is to “deliver justice at the doorstep” but said whether it has been achieved “requires introspection.’’

Addressing a gathering on the closing day of the 17th All India meet of State Legal Services Authorities, and before laying the foundation stone for a new campus at Waranga for the Maharashtra National Law University in Nagpur, he suggested ways for the state to expedite legal aid to the underprivileged.

“There should be a rigorous selection process for empanelment of lawyers,’’ he said, adding that a “transparent and rigorous process” and timely payment of panel lawyers with “enhanced training” will be the way ahead.

Justice Sharad Bobde, who is next in line to be Chief Justice of India, also underlined key areas to target for ensuring legal aid does percolate to the neediest. Empaneled lawyers need to be sensitized periodically, he said.

The “legal aid movement is a specialized movement’’ and it needs bigger ideas and best practices, said Justice Bobde, while highlighting a pilot project for the introduction of the Legal Aid Defence Counsel System which some states have begun to ensure availability of legal aid with seasoned lawyers. The system has been successfully adopted in several countries and its acceptance in India is a positive step, he said.

Significantly, members at the session decided to constitute a committee to evolve a scheme that would ensure that prisoners who are unrepresented and even those represented by legal aid are made aware of the status of their case and guided for appeals to higher forums.

Underscoring his point, the CJI said Article 39 of the Constitution mandates that a state must ensure that an opportunity to justice is not denied to the poor. The state, stipulates Article 39, shall ensure that justice is promoted on basis of “equal opportunity and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid.’’

He emphasized on an individual’s right to a fair trial and that such a constitutional right is “not a matter of a state largesse” but is “an inherent right to quality justice.’’

Like Justice Bobde, he too felt that technology and access to justice need to be interlinked. “Technological innovation must be embraced at all levels,’’ said the CJI adding it would ensure “timely’’ access to justice for the needy. It can be used to “map areas of marginalised sections of society having similar legal issues,’’ he noted.

Bombay high court Chief Justice Pradeep Nandarajog, speaking earlier, said the judiciary “rededicates’’ itself to ensuring access of justice to all.

TheHitavada

Introspect whether justice is delivered to underprivileged or not: CJI Gogoi

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi addressing the gathering of legal

luminaries during valedictory function of All India meet of State Legal Services Authorities on Sunday. Justice Akil Kureshi, Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Justice Bhushan Gavai, Justice Sharad Bobde, Justice N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, Justice S C Dharmadhikari look on.

Principal Correspondent:

Justice Ranjan Gogoi enlightens gathering on the access to justice at valedictory function of All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities

“Justice is delivered at doorsteps of those who seek it. It is a constitutional promise. In fact, it is a constitutional mandate. Whether we are substantially achieving it is a matter that needs introspection. An awareness of much more needed to be done and the complete realisation of the promise of access to justice assumes importance,” stated Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Chief Justice of India and Patron-in-Chief of National Legal Services Authorities (NALSA). Justice Gogoi was addressing the gathering of legal luminaries of the country at the valedictory function of the two-day All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities on Saturday, organised at Hotel Radisson Blu, for the first time by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). He explained the importance of access to justice, and said, “The underlined theme of the access to justice is to promote an all inclusive legal system and empowering the vulnerable and disadvantaged people who often exist on the margins of the society by securing to deal life’s fundamentals through dignified living.”

Senior Supreme Court judge and Executive Chairman of NALSA Justice Sharad Bobde was in the chair while Supreme Court Justices N V Ramana, and Chairman of Supreme Court Legal Services Committee; Judge of Supreme Court Justice Bhushan R Gavai, Bombay High Court Chief and Patron-in-Chief, Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority Pradeep Nandrajog; Supreme Court Judge Justice Surya Kant; Judge, High Court of Bombay and Executive Chairman of Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority Justice S C Dharmadhikari; Judge, Bombay High Court and Chairman of High Court Legal Services Committee Justice Akil Kureshi were seated on the dais. Justice Gogoi reminded audience what Justice P N Bhagwati as a chairperson of legal aid committee had said, ‘The legal aid means providing an arrangement in the society so that the machinery of the administration of justice becomes easily accessible. And is not out of reach to those who have to resort to it for enforcement of the rights given to them by law.

The poor and the illiterate should be able to approach the courts and their ignorance and poverty should not become barrier in getting them justice from the courts. Legal aid should be available to the poor and illiterate who don’t have access to courts.’ “Access to justice as basic principle of rule of law necessitates provision of fare, effective, non-discriminatory and accountable legal services that promotes justice without consideration of religion, caste, creed, race, sex, or any other similar exterior’s condition. Post-independence, various committees including Justice N H Bhagwati committee in 1945, Justice Traverse Harris Committee 1950, the first Law Commission 1958 have constituted to look into the matter of provisioning of legal aid.

A common recommendation was there that say legal representation should be made available at state expenses at a discretion of court after ascertaining various factors including means of the petitioners, criticality of the matter etc.,” said Justice Gogoi “Some unidentified topics have been listed for the discussion during the meet are indeed pertinent for expanding reach of legal services. It is heartening to know NALSA and State Legal Services Authorities have fast built up the path to reach the people away from justice. But we must take into account that legal literacy, awareness of one’s rights and means of securing rights are the powerful instrument for bringing social and economic progress. Absence of legal awareness is the route cause of deception, exploitation and deprivation of rights and benefits of the masses,” commented Justice Gogoi. Talking about legal literacy, legal education, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) stated, “Legal literacy and legal awareness go hand in hand. Legal aid movement can not achieve its goal as long as people are not aware of their basic rights. Greater awareness translates into greater and broadens access. Legal education is limited to universities, training, future lawyers. Education of legal issues should be included in school and college curriculum. It should go beyond rudimentary awareness. Movement of enriching legal knowledge should be driven by youngsters.

NALSA and state legal services authorities must focus their energy in imparting legal literacy into young minds. Students and young people have potential of becoming ambassadors of legal justice.” “Good number is not important but quality is. Right to legal aid means right to quality legal aid. Quality training should be provided to the members, lawyers and for that SLSAs should join hands with state judicial academies, national law universities and other universities. Respective high courts must take a lead and ensure the quality enhancement in legal education,” appealed Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Justice Akil Kureshi also spoke on the occasion. Adv Radhika Bajaj and Adv Ila Sudame compered while Alok Agarwal, Member Secretary of NALSA proposed a vote of thanks. 

Justice Sharad Bobde

‘Focus on enhancing quality of justice delivered through LSA’ “Not having collective understanding that lack of awareness and proper communication channels regarding legal aid services has been the hindrance in the total process of legal aid services. But there is a vigour among those who are in the process of providing services which is reflected in the meeting, as everybody came up with so many initiatives, ideas for best practices. This is the factor I would appreciate.

The meeting ended on a successful note,” said Justice Sharad Bobde, Supreme Court Judge. “Public Defender system is likely to have transformative impact. It would not only help in improving accessibility, monitoring of cases, it would ensure professional management of the cases. This would be instrumental in improving the quality of legal aid services,” pointed out Justice Bobde. “Most of the states are proactive is a good thing. Secondly, legal aid to prisoners is an important facet. The decision to constitute a committee to evolve a scheme that would ensure the legal aid reaching to the people unaware of their legal rights is one of the good outcomes of the meeting. We have decided to focus on enhancing the quality of justice delivered by rationalising administrative structure. We have also resolved to effectively implement the guidelines to ensure the efficacy. We have rightly identified the essence of legal aid delivery,” stated Justice Sharad Bobde.

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog

‘Political sovereignty should be converted into legal sovereignty’ “The 17th NALSA conference ably triggered by the speeches of Justice Sharad Bobde and Law Minister that set the tone for rethinking and revaluation of what has been achieved in the field of dispensation of justice in the last seven decades. I remember the words of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who said, ‘We are going to plant a seed in the soil of the country which for ages has been feudal. He said that the future generation would have to nurture this seed with its blood and sweat. And before you think sometime the seed germinates and blossoms into a tree that would provide fruit, shade.

The theme set by Justice Bobde regarding the areas of legal aid services we need to carry forward. The values discussed in the session are evolved in granting legal aid to marginalised section of the society. We probably require the public defender system to achieve the goal. We should be able to convert political sovereignty into legal sovereignty,” said Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.

 

LatestLaws

Justice Bobde calls for greater focus on Pre-litigation Mediation

LatestlawsThe 17th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities began today at Nagpur, the event will conclude on 18th August. The annual conclave witnessed participation of Executive Chairpersons from various State Legal Services Authorities, High Court Legal Service Committees, Member Secretaries, SLSAs and Secretaries, High Court Legal Services Committees from across the country.

The conclave is an annual feature and is held primarily to deliberate upon key issues, assess the progress of various initiatives and programs and identify focus areas requiring strengthening. 

The meet was inaugurated by Hon'ble Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad. Expressing strong commitment of the government towards ensuring access to justice, one of key standpoints of good governance, he shared the vision of the government in making India a global hub of arbitration.  He commended the legal aid movement successfully led by NALSA over the years and making access to justice a reality.

Hon'ble Minister reiterated the fact that Digital India is at the fulcrum of successful implementation of schemes and must be leveraged for the success of legal aid programmes as well. Power of social media must be recognized for reaching out to the people and spreading awareness, he emphasised.

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.A. Bobde, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Executive Chairman, NALSA addressing the august gathering, spoke at length on the new model of legal aid on the lines of Public Defender system being introduced in the legal aid system in the country. He apprised the gathering about NALSA’s initiative in this regard and quoted, ‘The protocol spells out a framework for providing legal assistance at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stages. It is hoped that it will result in avoiding unnecessary arrests.’ Highlighting the impressive success with three fold increase in legal aid delivery since 2016, he added that there has been a huge focus on encouraging mediation and called for greater focus on pre-litigation mediation. He appreciated the initiative of instituting degree and diploma courses on mediation by National Law Schools in Maharashtra. 

Adding yet another important dimension to the future of legal aid in the country, Justice N.V.Ramana, stressed on the need developing strategies for enhancing the quality of legal aid extended. He stressed upon adoption of innovative and creative approach to strategize justice delivery for greater efficiency and impact. He further called for the need to translate laws and bare acts in regional languages to ensure better reach and access.

Enhancing the quality of legal aid was one of the focus areas of NALSA in 2019. Working session – 1 deliberated upon the various aspects related to quality legal aid including the framework to make front offices capable as working as one stop centres for legal aid seekers. A significant decision was taken up in respect of introduction of Legal Aid Counsel system on the lines of Public Defender System to create institutional capacity, improved accessibility, timely and effective representation and monitoring of legal aid cases.

Many important decisions and resolutions were adopted to provide effective and meaningful legal services in respect of legal aid to prisoners, victim compensation scheme and increasing efficacy of alternative dispute resolution systems such a Lok Adalats and mediation.

 

NDTV

Absence Of Legal Awareness Root Cause Of Rights Deprivation: Ranjan Gogoi
Ranjan Gogoi observed that "awareness" about ones rights and the means of securing them are the "powerful instruments" to bring social and economic progress.

Absence Of Legal Awareness Root Cause Of Rights Deprivation: Ranjan GogoiChief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said the absence of legal awareness was the "root cause" of "deception, exploitation and deprivation" of the rights and benefits of the masses.

He also observed that "awareness" about ones rights and the means of securing them are the "powerful instruments" to bring social and economic progress.

Addressing the valedictory function of the 17th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) in Nagpur, the CJI said legal services must be constituted to "achieve distributed justice, effective implementation of welfare benefits and elimination of social and structural discrimination against the poor".

In his speech, he also underlined the importance of "legal literacy","technology and acccess" and the "impact and accountability" for delivering the quality legal services.

Justice Gogoi also said the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and State Legal Services Authorities are the "crucial vehicles" for discharging the Constitutional mandate of justice to all on the basis of equal opportunities.

"These bodies have to ensure through their methods that justice reaches the remotest corners of the country and the last person," said the CJI.

Emphasising the need for "legal literacy", Justice Gogoi said, "awareness of ones rights and means of securing those rights are powerful instruments for bringing about social and economic progress. Absence of legal awareness is a root cause of deception, exploitation and deprivation of rights and benefits of the masses. Legal literacy and legal awareness go hand in hand".

Justice Gogoi said the "legal aid movement" cannot achieve its goal until people are aware about their legal rights so as their basic rights.
He said "greater awareness" translates into better and broader access.

The CJI observed that contemporary legal education is limited to universities training future lawyers and that it should go beyond awareness.

"Though education on legal topics is in school and college curriculum. It should go beyond awareness. What instead required is movement from near awareness to engagement," the CJI said.

Justice Gogoi further underlined the need to implement legal knowledge for the overall good.

"Efforts must be made to secure concerted engagement of young minds in understanding and utilising that knowledge for the benefit of the society. Not only law colleges but the students of schools and colleges must be included in the outreach programme. Students and young persons have the potential to become the ambassadors of justice," said Justice Gogoi.

He also emphasised the need to focus on "Technology and Access" and the need for customised legal services as per the needs of the people.

"Technology and innovation should be embraced in all aspects of functions on the professionally-managed rendering of legal services at all the levels. It should ensure (delivery of) timely and effective legal services to the needy," said the CJI.

"Let us use technology to provide greater information about legal aid through mobile apps, provide vital information to those seeking legal aid about status of their cases and applications," he said.

The CJI also underlined the importance of "impact and accountability", saying in fact there is no better "mirage" than statistics.

"Right to legal aid means the right to quality legal aid. Commitment to quality must be there in the whole organisation," he said.

To ensure quality, the CJI suggested a rigorous selection process for empanelment of lawyers.

"If need be there selection be made on the lines of the process followed for the selection of public prosecutors. This would go all the way in addressing the complaints of lack of quality," the CJI said.

"This step, to a large extent, (can) also be achieved in addressing the concerns of adequate economic incentives. Currently, it is often told to us that good lawyers keep away because of untimely payment of honorarium," said the CJI.

He added: "Building committed cadres selected through transparent and rigorous process to form away persuasive argument and to enhance and ensure timely payment of honorarium. Regular training should be provided to building capacity among panel lawyers and para-legals".

"To provide quality training, the state legal services authorities must partner with state judicial academies or national law universities and other universities to evolve a comprehensive, innovative and pragmatic training programme," said the CJI.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi that "the first step to achieve justice is to make injustice visible", the CJI said, "Pursuit of justice must involve elimination of injustice, and it is unjust that anyone is denied the opportunity of pursuing their right owing to poverty".

 

LiveLaw 

Call For Pre-litigation Mediation Had Become Louder In The Recent Years: Justice Bobde At NALSA Meet

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the meet in which various dignitaries viz. Executive Chairpersons from State Legal Services Authorities, High Court Legal Service Committees, Member Secretaries and Secretaries, High Court Legal Services Committees participated.The 17th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities began in Nagpur yesterday, under the aegis of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), and will conclude today, i.e., August 18. It is an annual meet, designed to contemplate and work upon present-day issues in the legal sector and also to review the progress of existing programs.

NALSA was founded in 1995 with the objective to provide free legal services to eligible candidates and organize Lok Adalats for speedy resolution of cases. This year, the organization focused on enhancing the quality of legal aid.

In his address, the Law Minister commended NALSA for standing up to scare access to justice and fulfilling its objective by ensuring legal aid delivery. He suggested that the country had been remodeled by the success of Digital India Campaign and NALSA should also take advantage of the contemporary technological developments and reach out to people by way of social media. He also spoke about the significance of alternative dispute redressal mechanisms and insisted on making India a global hub for arbitration.

Executive Chairman of NALSA and sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice S.A. Bobde also spoke about alternative dispute redressal mechanisms and mentioned that the call for pre-litigation mediation had only become louder in the recent years. He appreciated National Law Schools in Maharashtra for instituting courses on mediation in line with this recent surge. He also apprised the gathering with NALSA's initiative to provide legal aid, aligned with Public Defender system. 'The protocol spells out a framework for providing legal assistance at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stages. It is hoped that it will result in avoiding unnecessary arrests', he said.

Sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V.Ramana also addressed the gathering. He stressed upon enhancing the quality of legal aid provided to linguistic groups by translating all laws and bare acts into regional languages. He said that it was important to adopt an innovative approach towards justice delivery mechanism in order to upgrade its efficiency.

Day 1 of the meet focused upon the means to enhance quality of legal aid delivery. Discussions were held with a view to make front offices capable of working as one stop centres and instituting Public Defender Systems to monitor legal aid cases. Resolutions were passed to undertake effective measures in respect of legal aid to prisoners and victim compensation. Discussions were also held on techniques to increase the effectiveness of Lok Adalats and mediation. The meeting is set to conclude today, post day 2 discussions.

 

Justice For All Must Ensure That Justice Reaches The Remotest Corners Of The Country: CJI Gogoi At NALSA Meet

The 17th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs), under the aegis of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), convened today at Nagpur. The conclave was attended by representatives from all 36 State Legal Service Authority and it facilitated the assimilation of ideas and best practices.

It was put forth during the meet that NALSA had utilised all its funds in the past three years and disposed off over 24 lakh cases in both pre-litigation and litigation stages. It provided legal aid to over 14 lakh people since last year and conducted over 1.7 lakh legal awareness programs.

Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said that the agenda of the meet revolved around importing innovation, technology and public defenders system amongst others, in the services delivery mechanism and the same would earmark the agendas for the next meet. He also said that the exercise of introspection and reformulation of methods of delivering legal aid was a significant process which would serve the country in a longer run.

Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi also addressed the gathering where he appreciated the idea of contemplating a futuristic approach in the legal aid delivery mechanism. He emphasized that legal education must be imparted in schools apart from spreading rudimentary awareness to ensure broader access to justice. 'NALSA and SLSAs are crucial vehicle for discharging a constitutional mandate - justice for all and must ensure that justice reaches the remotest corners of the country and to the last person', he said.

He went on to highlight the significance of "leveraging technology for better and timely access" to justice. He suggested the development of an App in regional languages for better access across the country. However, he said, the emphasis must not be laid on the quantity of legal services but rather, on its quality.

"Quality of legal services must be a focus rather than just quantity and batted for a rigorous selection process and better terms of service and incentives for panel lawyers", he said. He also advised the legal services authorities to break the wall beyond awareness campaigns and engage students to act as representatives in "the mission of access to justice".
Executive Chairman of NALSA and sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice S.A. Bobde, presided over the meet and recapitulated the discussions held over two days. He said the meet was a stepping stone in bringing about a revolutionary change in the approach of SLSAs. He stated that implementation of Legal Aid Defence Counsel System in selected states from each zone would facilitate availability of legal aid for the poor and marginalized by seasoned lawyers.

The members agreed that proper documentation of activities was vital to ensure enhanced sensitivity, accountability and responsiveness to the clients. Representatives from the states also discussed the challenges faced by them and best practices adopted in imparting legal services. The need for pre camp activities, chalking out vulnerabilities, post camp feedback, effective use of Para Legal Volunteers and coordination with NGOs and government departments was also acknowledged by the members.

Lastly, Justice Bobde suggested the determination of the frequency of camps held and a number of people benefiting therein to incentivise legal service authorities and stimulate a competitive spirit among them.

 

PTI

Absence of legal awareness root cause of rights' deprivation:


Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said the absence of legal awareness was the "root cause" of "deception, exploitation and deprivation" of the rights and benefits of the masses.

He also observed that "awareness" about ones' rights and the means of securing them are the "powerful instruments" to bring social and economic progress.Addressing the valedictory function of the 17th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) in Nagpur, the CJI said legal services must be constituted to "achieve distributed justice, effective implementation of welfare benefits and elimination of social and structural discrimination against the poor".

In his speech, he also underlined the importance of"legal literacy","technology and acccess" and the "impact and accountability" for delivering the quality legal services.

Justice Gogoi also said the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and State Legal Services Authorities are the "crucial vehicles" for discharging the Constitutional mandate of justice to all on the basis of equal opportunities.

"These bodies have to ensure through their methods that justice reaches the remotest corners of the country and the last person," said the CJI.

Emphasising the need for "legal literacy", Justice Gogoi said, "awareness of ones' rights and means of securing those rights are powerful instruments for bringing about social and economic progress. Absence of legal awareness is a root cause of deception, exploitation and deprivation of rights and benefits of the masses. Legal literacy and legal awarenessgo hand in hand".

Justice Gogoi said the "legal aid movement" cannot achieve its goal until people are aware about their legal rights so as their basic rights.

He said "greater awareness" translates into better and broader access.

The CJI observed that contemporary legal education is limited to universities training future lawyers and that it should go beyond awareness.

"Though education on legal topics is in school and college curriculum. It should go beyond awareness. What instead required is movement from near awareness to engagement," the CJI said.

Justice Gogoi further underlined the need to implement legal knowledge for the overall good.

"Efforts must be made to secure concerted engagement of young minds in understanding and utilising that knowledge for the benefit of the society. Not only law colleges but the students of schools and colleges must be included in the outreach programme. Students and young persons have the potential to become the ambassadors of justice," said Justice Gogoi.

He also emphasised the need to focus on 'Technology and Access' and the need for customised legal services as per the needs of the people.

"Technology and innovation should be embraced in all aspects of functions on the professionally-managed rendering of legal services at all the levels. It should ensure (delivery of) timely and effective legal services to the needy," said the CJI.

"Let us use technology to provide greater information about legal aid through mobile apps, provide vital information to those seeking legal aid about status of their cases and applications," he said.

The CJI also underlined the importance of "impact and accountability", saying in fact there is no better "mirage" than statistics.

"Right to legal aid means the right to quality legal aid. Commitment to quality must be there in the whole organisation," he said.

To ensure quality, the CJI suggested a rigorous selection process for empanelment of lawyers.

"If need be there selection be made on the lines of the process followed for the selection of public prosecutors. This would go all the way in addressing the complaints of lack of quality," the CJI said.

"This step, to a large extent, (can) also be achieved in addressing the concerns of adequate economic incentives. Currently, it is often told to us that good lawyers keep away because of untimely payment of honorarium," said the CJI.

He added: "Building committed cadres selected through transparent and rigorous process to form away persuasive argument and to enhance and ensure timely payment of honorarium. Regular training should be provided to building capacity among panel lawyers and para-legals".

"To provide quality training, the state legal services authorities must partner with state judicial academies or national law universities and other universities to evolve a comprehensive, innovative and pragmatic training programme," said the CJI.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi that "the first step to achieve justice is to make injustice visible", the CJI said, "Pursuit of justice must involve elimination of injustice, and it is unjust that anyone is denied the opportunity of pursuing their right owing to poverty".