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Mobilise grassroots justice system: judge

By Our Staff Correspondent



N. Santosh Hegde, Supreme Court judge, addressing the inaugural function of a workshop in Mangalore on Sunday. The Chief Justice, High Court of Karnataka, N.K. Sodhi, and the district administrative judge, Gururajan, are seen.

MANGALORE, DEC. 12. The workshop on Karnataka Panchayat Raj and Municipal Laws opened here on Sunday with a call to mobilise grassroots justice system through the Legal Services Authority for ensuring speedy justice and reducing the pressure on the judiciary.

This call was given by the Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority and Supreme Court Judge, N. Santosh Hegde, who inaugurated the workshop organised under the auspices of the Dakshina Kannada Legal Services Authority, Mangalore Bar Association and Lions Club District 324-D5.

Mr. Santosh Hegde said the idea of creating a constitutional body such as the Legal Services Authority was to give executive powers those at the grassroots so that disputes involving land, marital affairs and property could be settled locally. He said the representatives of the panchayat and civic bodies should not feel burdened about the new responsibility, as it was meant to empower them under the Legal Services Authority for dispensing justice.

He said the spread of legal awareness among the elected representatives was one of the functions of the authority right form the national level to the gram panchayat level. He said alternative dispute resolution mechanism such as reconciliation, mediation and arbitration should be used to deliver speedy justice to the people instead of asking them to approach the judiciary directly, Mr. Santosh Hegde said.

Largest system

The Chief Justice of the High Court of the Karnataka, N.K. Sodhi, who presided over the inauguration function, said the Indian legal system was one of the largest in the world. Quoting a media report, Mr. Sodhi said over 3,500 statutes were fit to be struck down and many more recast in accordance with the changing needs. He asked the elected representatives to involve themselves at the local level justice dispensing mechanism.

A judge of the High Court and Chairman of the State Legal Aid Authority, P. Vishwanath Shetty, said legal awareness and education were important for the elected representatives at all levels lest they became puppets at the hands of the bureaucracy and become a party to red tapism and corruption.

The administrative judge of Dakshina Kannada, Gururajan, said he was happy to note that Dakshina Kannada had only 3,897 cases pending in various courts. He also appreciated the Bar Association for holding 76 Lok Adalats in the district and 65 legal aid camps and solving 1,076 cases this year.

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