More than 40 per cent of Indians are deprived of basic rights: SC judge


Agartala: “Over 40 per cent out of 1.25 billion Indians are acutely deprived of certain basic rights and opportunities,” said Justice Thakur, who is also the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

Delivering his speech at a symposium here on Saturday night, the apex court judge said: “Over 40 percent of Indians are living below the poverty line. They also are surviving with lack of literacy, lack of basic opportunities and scopes besides economic deficiencies.”

He said the NALSA and State Legal Services Authorities were working to provide various legal services and conducting awareness programme for the benefit of the people, especially those who are deprived, tribal and scheduled caste.

“As a rule, judges are governing the justices and legal matters, but a father also must do justice to his children, a husband or a wife must do justices to each other, a parliamentarian or a legislator must do justice to the people of their constituencies and a minister should do justice to all his subjects,” he said.

“All of our target must be to support neglected people of our society. Injustice cannot be tolerated in our system,” Justice Thakur said. Adding to that he said, “Poverty should not be an impediment in providing justice to the weaker section of society”.

NALSA’s executive chairman said it was a challenge to make disadvantage and illiterate people aware of their rights in a country where legal literacy percentage was much below the expected level.

“There is a commitment to ensure that poor people have equal access to justice. We have been devising our own ways to reach out to them. In this mission, students are our ambassadors,” Justice Thakur said.

Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, Deepak Gupta had mentioned earlier that according to a survey conducted by a Guwahati-based NGO, over 86 percent of  the tribal population were not at all aware about the legal aid services.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, State Legal Services Authority’s executive chairman and Tripura High Court Judge Utpalendu Bikash Saha  were among others who spoke at the symposium, organised to spread the legal knowledge among the students, youths and others.

The NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.