Poor being bled dry by litigation: Justice Lalit

Justice Lalit formally launches the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System system

August 22, 2022 01:00 am | Updated 09:59 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Supreme Court Judge Justice U.U. Lalit. File.

Supreme Court Judge Justice U.U. Lalit. File. | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

Chief Justice of India-designate, Justice U.U. Lalit, on Sunday said over 70% of the population is below the poverty line but only 12% of them opt for legal aid.

Justice Lalit, who is the Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), said this while formally launching the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System (LADCS) system.

“Public Defender System”

LADCS system is in line with the ‘Public Defender System’. It will have full-time legal aid lawyers in 365 district legal services authorities across the country.

The Supreme Court judge said the legal aid system had increased its reach over the years. In fact, the third Lok Adalat conducted on August 13 across 35 states settled over one crore disputes.

But Justice Lalit said this was no time to be complacent. The poor were still bled dry by litigation, especially in criminal cases, he said.

"Over 70% population is below poverty line but only 12% opt for legal aid. What does the population between 12% to 70% do? They are forced to opt for private lawyers. Litigation is like a bleeding wound- the more you let it bleed, the more the man will suffer," Justice Lalit highlighted.

“Criminal cases take away a person’s liberty and leaves no choice but to fight. The poor have no other option but to hire lawyers, even at the cost of mortgaging or selling their property,”he stated.

"Legal aid needs to give such people confidence," said Justice Lalit.

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