Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 27
When a 36-year-old housewife was turned out of her house late at night by her drunkard husband, there was no one she could turn to for help. Apprehensive about approaching the police and unable to go to her paternal home in Gurgaon around midnight, she waited in the fields till dawn before contacting her lawyer. But things are all set to change for her and others with the launch of Punjab’s first 24X7 legal aid clinic at Bathinda.
The clinic, inaugurated this morning by Justice Lisa Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, aims at providing to the residents free access to justice, preventing denial of legal aid, and ensuring proper and timely representation.
The project has been undertaken under the guidance of Punjab State Legal Services Authority’s patron-in-chief and High Court Chief Justice, Justice Ravi Shanker Jha, with active involvement and cooperation of authority’s executive chairman and HC judge Justice Ajay Tewari.
Justice Gill said legal aid would be given to women, children, victims of human trafficking, mentally challenged, industrial workers, undertrials, victims of natural disasters and ethnic violence, along with the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It would also be provided to people with less than Rs 3 lakh annual income.
Elaborating, Bathinda District and Sessions Judge Kamaljit Lamba said the District Legal Services Authority, under the guidance of Punjab Legal Services Authority and in coordination with the District Bar Association, would set up a help desk at the Alternate Disputes Redressal (ADR) Centre.
“The facility would be absolutely free of cost. The experts would provide competent, preventive and protective legal aid and help in settlement of disputes, including ones at pre-litigative stage. Seminars and workshops would also be organised for better legal aid,” Judge Lamba said.
From pre-arrest to remand, help at all stages
Justice Lisa Gill, who is also the administrative judge of the Bathinda Sessions Division, said the clinic would provide legal aid and advice round the clock at all stages, including pre-litigative, pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-remand stage and even remand stage.
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