TRAINED legal experts will provide rural India with better legal aid via video conferencing technology as part of a government “Tele-Law” pilot.
The scheme will be implemented at 500 Common Service Centres (CSC) in rural villages in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in its first phase with the ultimate goal of scaling up to 1,000, as part of the Access to Justice Project to Marginalized Persons started in 2008.
An army of paralegal volunteers (PLVs) will be trained to act as citizens’ first point of contact who can provide them with basic legal guidance. But they will also be able to connect users with lawyers in state capitals through video conferencing for more complicated queries.
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“Tele-Law will fulfil our commitment to ensure access to justice and empowerment of the poor. The Common Services Centers and paralegal volunteers will offer easy legal advice to litigants in rural India, making them digitally and financially inclusive,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law & Justice Minister, who is also the Electronics and Information Technology Minister, said in a press release.
The National Legal Services Authority will put forward a panel of lawyers in the capitals who will be available to speak to citizens. In addition, it will also be possible for them to connect with law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and NGOs that provide legal aid.
The PLVs will be available ten days every month and on top of connecting users with lawyers, they will also keep track of the progress of the applicants’ cases.