ANDHRA PRADESH

First permanent Lok Adalat opened for tribals

PADERU JULY 3. The Lok Adalat is bringing back the old Indian legal system in a different way, observed the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, B.K. Kirpal.

The British system of dispensation of justice which replaced the Indian system some 200 years ago had some good points, but basically, the two parties fought each other in this system though each one was aware who was right. The party with weak case would try to prolong the case. This was the main reason for the huge backlog of cases in Indian courts, Justice Kirpal said while addressing a meeting of Girijans after inaugurating a permanent Lok Adalat for them at the Sub-Collector's Office here on Wednesday.

He said that it was the first permanent Lok Adalat to be established after the latest amendments to the Legal Services Authority Act came into effect on July 1.

It is probably for the first time that a Chief Justice has visited an interior tribal area and inaugurated a permanent Lok Adalat for them. On Tuesday, the Chief Justice addressed a legal literacy meet at Araku, also in the agency area. ``Now the position is changing and an effort is being made to indigenise the legal dispensation system'', he said referring to the Lok Adalats. Like in the ancient system in which the panchayats and the village elders would decide cases and resolve disputes which had no appeal and no need to pay a fee to the advocates, the Lok Adalat system reintroduction of the same old system, the Chief Justice felt.

He explained the functioning of the Lok Adalat to the tribals (through a translator) and appealed to the Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA) to appoint persons who could understand their problems, their culture and traditions, on the panel of the Lok Adalat.

The Executive Chairman of the APSLSA, Motilal B. Naik, said Andhra Pradesh was the first in providing free legal advice and solving cases and also on creating awareness about the rights of the people. He told the tribals that they could approach the Lok Adalat and need not go anywhere with their problems. The aggrieved Girijans could also address their grievances directly to the APSLSA in Hyderabad, he added.

The Minister for Tribal Welfare and the local MLA, M. Manikumari, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, D.V. Subba Rao, and the Collector, Sunil Sharma, spoke.

The Member Secretary of APSLSA, Y.V. Ramakrishna, Project Officer of the ITDA (Paderu), N. Srikanth, DIG of Police, Prabhakara Reddy, also participated. The in-charge Principal District Judge, M. Bhaskar, was also present.

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