The Madurai District Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) has set up free legal aid clinics at the Collectorate and the offices of Commissioner of Police and Superintendent of Police with an aim to take free legal services at the doorstep of public litigants.
The legal aid clinics were opened by Principal District and Sessions Judge B. Gokuldas on Wednesday. The clinics would be manned by a panel of advocates who would be paid by the Madurai Legal Services Authority. But the litigant public would get their legal services free of cost, Mr. Gokuldas said. People who come to the offices of the CoP and the SP could get the help of the advocates to resolve disputes with their neighbours, family problems and marital disputes, among other issues.
“Not only the litigant public, but also the staff members of these offices can get legal services to establish their civil rights,” Mr. Gokuldas said.
The clinic will be open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Though the alternative dispute redressal system could reduce the burden on the courts, Mr. Gokuldas said that it would be of much service to the people.
Under such a system, the legal services authority would provide advocates free legal services at the court. People who have annual income of less than Rs. 1 lakh were eligible to avail the services.
However, the income ceiling was not applicable to people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes, children, women, physically challenged people and those who were accused in criminal cases.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Saravanaperumal, secretary of Madurai District Legal Services Authority Jacintha Martin, Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur and Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan were among those who were present.
By setting up legal aid clinics in the offices of the Superintendent of Police and the Commissioner of Police, the MDLSA has set a new record. According to Ms. Martin, it is the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu. “The Triuchi Collectorate has a legal aid clinic. Whereas, it is the first time in the State that the SP and CoP offices will have these clinics,” she said.
On an average, 25 people seek the aid of the MDLSA every day.