The Union Law Ministry has launched a scheme to train young advocates practising in Magistrate and Munsif courts. The objective of the programme is to motivate them to continue their practice at grass-roots level.

According to a statement by the Ministry, the initiative is in sync with the Supreme Court directive in the State of Maharashtra vs Manubhai Pragaji Vashi case (1995).

Advocates in actual practice in Magistrate or Munsif courts, below the age of 30, are eligible to apply to the Selection Committee. The selected candidates will have to give an undertaking that they are willing to make their services available for the legal aid programme.

The Selection Committee consists of a High Court Judge to be nominated by the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Additional/Assistant Solicitor-General to that High Court, the Chairman, State Bar Council, and the Advocate-General of the State.

The selected candidates will be imparted professional training for two months. The training will have two components — one-month training in a National Law School and a month-long training under a senior/leading advocate of the place where the candidate has been practising.

Training will be given by a National Law School/University nominated by the Central government. During the training, candidates will be provided free lodging and boarding facility.

To administer the scheme, a National Committee has been constituted. The National Law University, Delhi, in consultation with the Central government, will fix the maximum number of candidates to be selected in a year for each State and Union Territory and empanel a senior advocate/leading advocate under whom the candidates will be placed for training.

At present, 180 advocates have been selected by the Selection Committees of 18 States. Four batches will be trained in the first phase, and the training will be held from June 27 to July 23.

Named the Rajiv Gandhi Adhivakta Prashikshan Yojna (Rajiv Gandhi Advocate's Training Scheme), it envisages selection of 10 young practising advocates from each State every year for being imparted professional training. In the 12th Five-Year Plan, the scheme will be revised for training 50 candidates from each State.

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