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With ‘Sabka Vikas’, there must be ‘Sabka Nyay’, says PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expanded his government’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ motto to include ‘Sabka Nyay’, assuring free legal aid for the vulnerable sections of the society.

I believe in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and with that there must be ‘Sabka Nyay,” Modi said, urging that the spread of legal awareness should be merged with awareness about judicial institutions.

“Along with legal awareness, there must be institutional awareness. People must know systems that are in place.”

Addressing the legal fraternity on Legal Services Day, Modi said people were unaware of services rendered by the judiciary and legal in promoting legal literacy and securing the rights of the most disadvantaged sections of the society.

He admitted that he himself was not aware of this dimension of judiciary until now.

Appreciating the more than 8.5 crore cases settled by Lok Adalats since the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was constituted on December 5, 1995, Modi said they should be part of research projects for students in the national law universities so that they understand their functioning during the course of their education.

He said students should do research on Lok Adalats in different areas and submit their project reports with suggestions.

Pointing out that no institution can remain in a situation of status quo, Modi said everything must change as status quoist situation was fraught with stagnation.

He gave the instance of the successful implementation ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yogna’ where 40 percent people were brought within the fold of country’s banking system by opening their accounts with zero balance.

Recalling the contribution of the NALSA in spreading legal awareness, Justice T.S. Thakur, who will succeed Chief Justice H.L. Dattu as Chief Justice of India on December 3, said: “No system, no society, no polity can survive if you don’t ensure justice to poor.

“It (justice to poor) is upholding the constitutional mandate.”

Justice T.S. Thakur said the settlement of cases through Lok Adalats was not just a win-win situation for parties to the dispute, it also reduced the burden of many cases as matters settled before Lok Adalats cannot be challenged.

He dwelt on the seven areas on which the NALSA will now focus involving women and child trafficking, drug abuse, securing the rights of unorganised workers and mentally sick, effective implementation of poverty alleviation schemes and child friendly legal services.

Justice Anil R. Dave, chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), pointed to the ever increasing burden of pending litigations in courts, saying one of the reasons was less number of judges.

While in the US, there are 104 judges for every 10 lakh population and 75 judges for 10 lakh people in Canada, Justice Dave said that in India, it was just 15 judges for that many people.

“That is one of the reasons for our arrears,” he said.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said every lawyer’s contribution to free legal aid must be counted before designating him as a senior lawyer and subsequently considering him for appointment as a judge.

In his message, Chief Justice Dattu said: “A robust and effective legal system, that fearless upholds the rule, of law is one of the foundational pillars of democracy.”

“It is of equal importance that the legal system itself is democratised, which would ensure that every citizen of our country has equal access to the legal system – equally swift, equally effective and equally impartial.”

Pointing to the “diversity and complexity” of the society, Chief Justice Dattu said that while great strides have been made in breaking down area old barriers but many sections of our society continue to be vulnerable to abuse and exploration in various forms.

“It is essential that these vulnerable sections be provided equal and effective access to Justice” and the same is the mandate of the Article 39A of the constitution, he said.

(IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)