• Urges State Government to work for emancipation of women
  • Asks lawyers to ensure social, economic justice reached the poor

    Cuttack: Union Minister of State for Law and Justice K. Venkatpathy on Thursday expressed displeasure at the Orissa Government's record in extending adequate and free legal aid services to the poor and the need in the State.

    "I am disappointed to know that only 2,000 persons have received free legal aid in the State since 2003. In contrast, over 1.35-lakh persons benefited during the same period in Tamil Nadu," the DMK leader said.

    Awareness camp

    Mr. Venkatpathy was the chief guest at a legal awareness camp organised by the Orissa State Legal Services Authority (OSLA) in association with the Campaign for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), an NGO, here on Thursday.

    He suggested that the government confer property rights on women as was done by several states, including Tamil Nadu, for emancipation of women.

    "For the development of the country, women need to be empowered by making them literate, particularly in legal matters," he said. He also asked the OSLA to play a major role in this direction.

    Mr. Venkatpathy called upon lawyers not to shy away from their moral responsibility of helping the poor and the needy get social and economic justice.

    "Lawyers, nowadays, are not inclined to participate in legal awareness camps for fear of losing clients and cases," the Union Minister observed.

    Among others who spoke on the occasion were senior advocate of the Orissa High Court B.B. Ratho and executive vice-president of CLAP Bikash Das.

    An English professor in a city-based college Manjushree Patnaik and State director of People's Watch Namrata Chadha were guests of honour. Member-secretary of OSLA G.B. Patnaik presided over the meeting.

    Poster released

    The Union Minister also released a CLAP publication, Infant's Right to Breastfeeding, and a poster highlighting the rights of women on the occasion.

    He also distributed birth certificates to children of some slum-dwellers of the city under the uniform civil registration programme undertaken by the CLAP.