Kochi (also known as Cochin) is a city in southwest India’s coastal Kerala state. It has been a port since 1341, when a flood carved out its harbor and opened it to Arab, Chinese and European merchants. Sites reflecting those influences include Fort Kochi, a settlement with tiled colonial bungalows and diverse houses of worship. Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, typical of Kochi, have been in use for centuries.
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‘Nyaya Deep’

It is the official newsletter of NALSA is promoting a healthy working relationship between legal services functionaries throughout the country and is proving immensely useful for exchange of views and sharing of ideas. Statistical information in regard to legal aid schemes and programs is also included in this newsletter which is printed on quarterly basis. The editorials written by Hon. Mr. Justice R.C. Lahoti reflect the soul of ‘Nyaya Deep’ and measure the depth of the material included therein. These provide a window to the reader who in one glance through it can appreciate the content and purpose of the articles.

Legal services authority Act

NALSA is laying great deal of emphasis on legal literacy and legal awareness campaign. Almost all the State Legal Services Authorities are identifying suitable and trustworthy NGOs through whom legal literacy campaign may be taken to tribal, backward and far-flung areas in the country. The effort is to publicize legal aid schemes so that the target group, for whom Legal Services Authorities Act has provided for free legal aid, may come to know about the same and approach the concerned legal services functionaries.

NALSA has also called upon State Legal Services Authorities to set up legal aid cells in jails so that the prisoners lodged therein are provided prompt and efficient legal aid to which they are entitled by virtue of section 12 of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Hon. The Chief Justice of India His Lordship Hon. Dr. Justice A.S. Anand, while delivering the inaugural address at the Second Annual meet of the State Legal Services Authorities at Hyderabad, had pointed out that a very large number of undertrial prisoners lodged in jails are involved in petty criminal offences. His Lordship expressed his deep anguish and stated that these poor and under privileged prisoners are languishing in jails for fairly long period in spite of the fact that they are willing to plead guilty and the ultimate sentences which are likely to be passed against them will be far less than the period they are incarcerated as undertrial prisoners. His Lordship suggested that the CJMs/CMMs of the areas in which the District Jails are situated should hold their courts in jails once or twice in a month for disposing of the cases of such undertrial prisoners. In many States, the suggestion has already been implemented and the prisoners involved in petty and minor offences are getting substantial relief. A copy of news item reported in the Hindu daily is attached.

Sensitization of Judicial Officers in regard to legal aid schemes and programs is also high on our agenda. His Lordship Hon. Mr. Justice S.P. Bharucha, Executive Chairman, NALSA while writing from the Desk of the Executive Chairman in Jan.,99 Issue of ‘Nyaya Deep’ had observed that not all judicial officers in the country are duly sensitized to Legal Services Schemes and programs and as such are unable to guide poor litigants in this regard. His Lordship observed that Legal Services Authorities must ensure that Judicial officers are duly sensitized about the work NALSA is doing and its importance for the poor and illiterate.

In the last Chief Justices’ Conference held at New Delhi, a resolution was passed to say that in the service records of the Judicial officers, their interest in legal aid programs should be reflected and all the High Courts should take steps for sensitizing the Judicial officers in regard to legal aid programs and schemes. Once all the judicial officers in the country get properly sensitized in regard to the relevance and importance of legal aid schemes they shall themselves start caring for the poor, backward and weaker sections of the society who are not in a position to engage their own counsel and look after their legal causes.

His Lordship Hon. Mr. Justice S.P. Bharucha, Executive Chairman, NALSA has repeatedly called upon State Legal Services Authorities to continue to hold Lok Adalats on old pattern so that the pace of the disposal of cases through Lok Adalats is not inhibited. Permanent and Continuous Lok Adalats are primarily aimed at settling disputes at pre-litigative stage and more contentious pending matters in District courts in which the parties can be motivated only by repeated sitting to arrive at settlement. Counselling and Conciliation Centers at Districts and Permanent Lok Adalats in Districts can be under same roof and can effectively function in unison. Most significant contribution by Legal Services Authorities to the administration of justice would be to settle legal disputes through Lok Adalats at pre-litigative stage so that the inflow of cases in our already over-burdened courts is reduced to the extent possible.

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