IILS Legal Services Committee

Ever since the establishment of IILS Legal Services Committee it has achieved sizable bays within the region of North Bengal. The basic principle behind establishing such committee is to create awareness, make alternative dispute resolution system accessible to the society at large thereby to enhance accessible justice. In the words of Justice P.N. Bhagwati:

“the poor and the illiterate should be able to approach the Courts and their ignorance and poverty should not be an impediment in the way of their obtaining Justice from the Courts.” 

IILS Legal Services Committee also realizes that the major drawback of legal aid movement in India is the lack of legal awareness. People are unaware of their rights and protection that is available under the law and it is only the law that serves as an instrument of social change. Constitutional commitment for legal aid can only be cherished if the guardians of law, shouldering the responsibility come forward to care for its vulnerable society.

Rule of law is supreme in our democratic society, thus it is essential to ensure that even the poorest among the poor, weakest amongst the weak  in our country does not suffer injustice arising out of any mordant action on the part of the State or be it any private matter or even the matters concerning deprivation of government benefits. There is a need to take a step forward to ensure capacity building for legal aid campaign.

IILS Legal Services Committee and Legal Aid:

India being a developing country where poverty and inequality is a major problem, an effective means of providing justice to the aggrieved apart from the courts has become the need of the society. Legal Aid Clinic is an effective mechanism towards attainment of the ideals of “Social, Economic and Political Justice” which has been enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India. The antecedent behind establishing a Legal Aid Clinic within the college campus was to render justice to those who have suffered injustice and to spread extensive awareness amongst the students and people in large, through organizing legal aid clinics in rural areas, awareness camps etc.

The Legal Aid Centre has been running successfully under the guidance of the faculty members and the active participation of the students to provide free legal aid to the people as enshrined under Article 39 A of the Indian Constitution. The centre has been carrying on its assignments under Section 4(k) of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987.

IILS Legal Services Committee took its first step to provide free legal aid by undertaking a project for adopting a village for rendering legal aid through Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism System under the Champasari Gram Panchayat.

This project was undertaken by the students and faculties of the Indian Institute of Legal Studies. It is a region with diversified population. It is indeed of immense importance to render assistance to the people of this area as it is too remote from the town and people cannot avail the court facilities easily because the Court having jurisdiction over this region is situated at a far distance. In view of the increasing crime rate in that area owing to the absence of such prompt legal assistance, it was felt that Champasari Gram Panchayat would be the appropriate area to be rendered free legal aid and be declared as free litigation village.

Legal Services Authorities Act is an act to constitute legal services authorities to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice which will not be denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities and to organise Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity.

The groups of students are headed by one Assistant Professor of Law of Indian Institute of Legal Studies. The students are responsible for collecting primary data and secondary data of the locality. The students headed by teachers visit each and every house located within that jurisdiction every Saturday and Sunday. They  maintain a register and their problems are identified. After making proper verification and scrutinizing each and every individual case, the respective parties are requested to visit the Institute during weekdays and with the active help of the local advocates, para lawyers the problem are resolved amicably by and between the parties. If the matter is not settled amicably, then the matter is referred before the Court of Law having jurisdiction for such determination and adjudication with the help of the nominated lawyers. The Institute takes utmost care and provides all endeavor to dispose off the matter at the earliest possible way by giving free legal counseling.

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