‘ Tele law services empowering voiceless ’
#GS2 #Welfare Schemes #E-governance
Context: The recent event to mark the coverage of more than nine lakh beneficiaries of the government’s tele-law scheme through Common Service Centres.
- Common Services Centre (CSC) programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) that serves as the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.
Background of Tele-Law:
- It was launched by the Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in 2017.
- Through this initiative, the Department of Justice has partnered with NALSA and CSC e-Governance Service India Limited for mainstreaming legal aid to the marginalised communities through Common Services Centre (CSC).
- Tele-Law means the use of communications and information technology for the delivery of legal information and advice.
- This e-interaction between lawyers and people would be through the video-conferencing infrastructure available at the CSCs.
- The concept of Tele-Law is to facilitate the delivery of legal advice through a panel of lawyers stationed at the State Legal Services Authorities (SALSA) and CSC.
- The project initiates to connect citizens with lawyers through telephone and video conferencing facilities by the Para-Legal Volunteers stationed at identified 50,000 CSCs.
- It is presently operating in 633 districts (including 115 Aspirational Districts) across 34 States/UTs through a network of 50,000 CSCs.
- Even though the Tele-law programme is technology driven, its success is dependent on the working of field functionaries comprising Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs), Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs), State Coordinators and Panel Lawyers.
How does it work?
- It will help provide access to affordable and quality legal advice across the country including those in the rural areas.
- By improving access to legal advice for women, the facility could also become a source of gender justice and empowerment.
- Tele-law has the potential to foster inclusive justice delivery and strengthening rule of law across the country.
- According to a recent report titled ‘Quality of Legal Representation: An Empirical Analysis of Free Legal Aid Services in India’, the majority of the people who are entitled to the free legal aid system see the service as an option only when they cannot afford a private lawyer.
- This initiative is in line with Sustainable Development Goal-16, which seeks to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.
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