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Tele-Law Service to Provide Legal Aid in Rural India

Narendra Modi addressing at the event marking introduction of digital filing as a step towards paperless Supreme Court, in New Delhi on May 10, 2017

Narendra Modi addressing at the event marking introduction of digital filing as a step towards paperless Supreme Court, in New Delhi on May 10, 2017

In its effort to make legal aid easily accessible to the marginalized communities and citizens living in rural areas, the Government of India has launched the ‘Tele-Law’ service.

The Ministry of Law and Justice partnered with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), which anchors the Digital India programme, to provide legal aid services through its Common Service Centres (CSC) at the panchayat level, spread across the country.

In the first phase, the ‘Tele-Law’ scheme will be tested as a pilot across 500 CSCs in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to understand the challenges and make necessary corrections to the scheme before it is scaled up and rolled out across the country in a phased manner.

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Under the scheme, a portal called ‘Tele-Law’ will be launched, which will be available across the CSC network. This will connect the citizens to legal service providers with the help of technology enabled platforms.

In an attempt to introduce technology in the justice system, last month the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, uploaded the Integrated Case Management Information System on the Supreme Court website, which marks the introduction of digital filing – a step towards paperless Supreme Court.

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‘Tele-Law’ will enable people to seek legal advice from lawyers through video conferencing available at the CSCs. Additionally, law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and Non-Government Organisations working on legal aid and empowerment can also be connected through the CSCs to strengthen access to justice for the marginalized communities.

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) will provide a panel of lawyers from state capitals, who will be available through video conferencing to provide legal advice and counselling to the applicants, across the 1000 CSCs.

A monitoring and evaluation system is also being designed which will help in assessing the quality of legal advice provided and the ensuing benefit to those accessing it.

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