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Filter out ``black sheep'' from judiciary: Bharadwaj

MUMBAI, APRIL 3. The Union Law Minister, Dr H R Bharadwaj, today urged that the ``black sheep'' be filtered out from the Bar as a step to improve the judicial system in India.

Inaugurating a day-long conference on equal justice and legal aid at the Y B Chavan Centre in South Mumbai, Dr Bharadwaj said the need of the hour is to prepare the younger generation in modern trends in law and legal aid and cited example of legal aid clinics in the Western world.

He said the government had already embarked on upgradation of judicial infrastructure in a big way. The government was committed to make optimum use of Information Technology as a mode for modernisation of courts.

``An e-village for citizens living in remote villages and grant them the opportunity to access legal aid from their village itself,'' Dr Bharadwaj said.

The Minister stressed that the government's initiative is on legal literacy for all at a national level and informed that training for judges at the highest level has already begun. Lawyers should be well versed in their brief to succeed in their cases.

Computerisation of all the 14,938 district courts will be taken up in phases. The first phase consisting of 700 courts in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai would be taken up at a cost of Rs 20 crore approximately.

Dr Bharadwaj said the government's efforts to minimise burden on courts would never bear results till such time that legal rights and awareness campaign was undertaken.

The national literacy mission aims to address the farthest geographical areas and the most vulnerable population in the first phase. The people need to be told the benefits of legal aid and the Lok Adalat. Otherwise, they would continue to resign to their fates against village exploitation and discrimination, he added.

The Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority, Justice Santosh Hegde, lamented that apprehensions towards lawyers in the country amounted to failure of the legal aid movement.

The law students should be encouraged to enrol themselves with the Authority before starting practice so that they could voluntarily take up cases of the poor, he added.

Mr Justice Hegde advocated legal literacy as a tool for empowerment to remove apprehensions attached to legal institutions and also called for public-private partnership in legal aid like the one in education and health sectors.

- UNI

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