It is the responsibility of every government to ensure that its legislative agenda has, at its core, a genuine concern for the well being of the common man, reflecting their hopes and aspirations, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said.

Speaking at a national convention on ‘Law, Justice and the Common Man,' organised by the legal cell of the Congress, she said all the laws were little words on paper if they were not enforced. She called upon the lawyers, practitioners and interpreters of the law, to ensure that society was made aware of its rights and duties.

“Inclusive growth is the cornerstone of our economic policy, and one of the essential underpinnings of this endeavour is a legal infrastructure which ensures that every citizen derives full benefit from the process of economic growth,” she said.

Reiterating the United Progressive Alliance government's commitment to the passage of the right to food security law, Ms. Gandhi said this would mark yet another achievement in the continuing battle against chronic starvation and malnutrition.

Spelling out the laws that empower the common man, Ms. Gandhi said the government had got the Women's Reservation Bill through the Rajya Sabha, and it now awaited the approval of the Lok Sabha.

“In a farsighted move, one that will benefit both the present and future generations, Parliament is also debating legislation that will give our citizens the right to safe and healthy environment through the agency of a National Green Tribunal.”

Ms. Gandhi said the success of the right to information and right to work brought about far-reaching changes felt across the country. For the first time, citizens had the power to hold their elected representatives and their civil servants accountable.

The right to free and compulsory elementary education would become a reality on April 1.

The Gram Nyalayala Act would help to deliver speedy, effective and affordable justice at the doorsteps of the people and to reduce the pendency of cases, and the Centre would provide Rs.1,400 crore to the States for setting up these courts.

Union Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily called for creation of a national databank on lawyers belonging to the Congress.

The government prepared a blue print for a litigation policy, and a new scheme that will help to reduce the number of under-trials by one-third by July 2010, he said.

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