The National Legal Services Authority and Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority organized the 18th All India Legal Services Authorities Meet.

The inauguration ceremony of the meet was attended by Hon'ble Chief Justice of India Justice N. V. Ramana, who is also the Patron-in-Chief of the National Legal Services Authority, Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju, Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Justice U. U. Lalit, who is also the Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority along with other Judges of the Supreme Court and various other dignitaries.

The 18th All India Legal Services Authorities Meet is a 2 day event organized for the launch of new initiatives of NALSA.

Chief Justice N. V. Ramana launched the Legal Aid Case Management Portal and mobile app and E-Prisons Portal and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju launched an Online NALSA mediation platform - the first such ODR platform in the world.

The meet is also being held in order to analyze what the judicial system has done till now to form a bridge between the judicial system and the marginalized people of the society who are not able to access the judicial system and also to analyze and formulate a road map for the next 25 years keeping the centenary year of independence as a goal.

Justice U. U. Lalit addressed the gathering and shared his views on the formation of legal aid and paid homage to Justice P. N. Bhagwati and Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer by referring to them as "Fathers of Legal Aid in the Country".

He also appreciated the work being done by the National Legal Services Authorities and State Legal Services Authorities stating that the services being provided are connected with good legal aid. He appreciated the efforts of Lok Adalat in the tremendous rise in the number of disposal of cases. He also talked about the success of the Legal Aid Defence Counsel System Project.

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also addressed the gathering and pledged that he will always support the decisions and the projects of the judiciary. He also told the gathering about a statement given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meet of Chief Justices and the Chief Ministers of the States, he quoted, "We should have a vision of such a judicial system in the Amrit Kall where justice is accessible, justice is expeditious and justice is for all. Justice is the basis of governance of any country, therefore, justice should be connected to the people and it should be the lingua franca of the common people."

He also spoke about the prison system of the country and requested that ways should be formulated for its betterment. He also stated that in the session beginning on Monday, the Government would be proposing for removal of approximately 71 different obsolete acts stating that only those acts which are important will be kept and which are not important will be removed. He also suggested that the use of local language should be prioritised in the local courts and the High Courts.

Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot while addressing the gathering also impressed upon the use of local languages in the local courts and the High Courts of the states. He also showed concern over the prevailing situation in the country referring to how a campaign was launched against two Supreme Court judges for expressing their views while hearing a matter and how the governments are changing in the states.

Chief Justice N. V. Ramana addressed the gathering and stated that, "In a country like India, legal aid form a core aspect of the administration of Justice. Administration of Justice is not an act which is accomplished wholly within the courtrooms."

He said that, "Only when equal access and participation is ensured in the justice delivery system the faith and trust of all shall be won." He lauded the efforts of the Legal Service Authorities stating that, "Even the world's most advanced democracies do not carry out legal aid at such a massive scale."

He also commended the efforts of the Supreme Court Legal Service Committee for making its services available at the grass root level by adopting modern technology.

He also raised issues facing the criminal justice system. "Challenges are huge in our criminal justice system the process is the punishment from indiscriminate arrest to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to prolonged incarceration of undertrial needs urgent attention, we need a holistic plan of action", he said.

Talking about the prisoners, he stated that a grave issue affecting the criminal justice system is the high percentage of under trial prisoners. He also said that "It is high time to re-evaluate whether intended results are being achieved through schemes already launched and it is high time that we focus on the quality of service provided." He reiterated and shared concern over the pendency of cases and urged the Law Minister to look into the matter of filling of vacancy and improvement of infrastructure.

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