The suggestions made by N.R. Madhava Menon (“Serving the justice needs of the poor,” Dec. 3) are laudable. The poor in India are often denied timely justice and are woefully unaware of their rights, lack of education being the prime cause.
The need of the hour is to introduce an effective mechanism to redress their grievances. A special judicial cadre on the lines of rural health workers/doctors can be created by the Law Ministry or the Supreme Court and posted at block level across the country. The posting of government legal aid officers in rural areas will also free the poor from the clutches of khap panchayats. These legal aid officers must be well trained in the customs, culture and languages of those they are to serve. Of course there will be challenges, but once a system is put in place it will work.
Col. Ranbir Singh Jakher (retd.),
It is worth recollecting what eminent jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer said in his article in The Hindu, “Some inconvenient truths,” (Dec.14, 2007): “After 60 years of Independence, the Indian justice system still remains ‘untouchable’ and ‘non-approachable’ to the vast have-not humanity of the country.” The establishment of an alternative model of legal service delivery to rural and tribal communities has become imperative. The existing judicial system uses language that even a literate person cannot understand. One can only imagine the plight of the poor. Our law schools need to evolve a shortened law course to deal with the simple and ordinary cases of rural and tribal communities.