Column Every opportunity must be made available to children in...

Every opportunity must be made available to children in custody to develop them to the fullest: Justice Lalit

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New Delhi Aug 28(ILNS): Supreme Court judge Justice U.U. Lalit, the Executive Chairman of, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), has drawn special attention towards the education of children housed in Juvenile Justice Homes during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He said, “We must make available to children in conflict with the law every opportunity to develop them to the fullest as the citizens of the country”

He made the observations during the inaugural ceremony of Capacity Building Programme on Pro-active Approach in Legal Assistance: Intervention at early stages, which was organized by the Uttar Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (UPSLSA) under the aegis of NALSA. The Programme was organized at the Judicial Training & Research Institute (JTRI), Lucknow under the guidance of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, the Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court & Executive Chairman, UPSLSA. The said event was attended by judges of the Allahabad High Court, Senior Officials of the Government, Officials from Police and Prison Department, Judicial Officers, Administrative Officers, etc.

During his keynote address, Justice Lalit commended the achievements of the UPSLSA in the recently held National Lok Adalat, wherein around 12.5 Lakh cases were disposed of. He stated that these achievements have culminated through the continuous efforts of legal services authorities from the last 25 years. Apart from the commendation, Justice Lalit highlighted various areas which require immediate attention of all the stakeholders. He stated that due to lack of knowledge and information, only a negligible percentage of eligible beneficiaries avail legal services at pre-arrest stage. He emphasized that installation of informative boards in the Police Stations would spread awareness at any early stage of criminal justice and would help in removal of lack of knowledge and information. With respect to the outreach of Legal Services, His Lordship stated that the collaboration with Postal Department to install informative boards at every Post Office would ensure outreach of the legal services to every nook of the country.

Referring to a Prison visit made by the officials of NALSA, Justice Lalit highlighted the issue of overcrowding of prisons and called upon the stakeholders to ensure that “living conditions in the prison must also be of an order that we can say proudly that our citizens are being taken care of”. He further highlighted that there is still need to make the prisoners aware of their rights and to accord them every opportunity to defend their trials and appeals.

The last area which was flagged by His Lordship was the Permanent Lok Adalats, which are capable to dispose the disputes at an early stage and can be a crucial mechanism to lessen the burden of the judiciary. His Lordship reiterated that every effort must be made to make these Adalats functional and to achieve maximum disposals through them.

During the Programme, Justice Lalit also released informative posters which are going to be installed at Police Stations and Post Offices across the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The welcome note of the ceremony was delivered by Justice Pritinker Diwaker, Judge, Allahabad High Court. Thematic address of the ceremony was delivered by Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, who recalled the areas of concern which were identified during the recently held regional consultation and apprised the steps taken to address such areas.The vote of thanks was delivered by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Senior Judge, Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench).

The training programme will be conducted in two sessions, wherein the participants will be sensitized regarding various topics such as (i) early access to justice at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stage; (ii) legal assistance to persons in custody including children in conflict with law kept in juvenile homes; (iii) conciliation at prelitigation stage; (iv) permanent lokadalats u/s 22(B) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987./ILNS/KR/SNG

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