Supreme Court advocates reaching out to poor with free aid

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Advocates associated with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC) have been going an extra mile to clear the backlog of over 1,000 cases while providing free legal aid to the poor. Over the last six months, lawyers have been reaching out to litigants, visiting their homes to collect case documents and filing them in a time-bound manner to secure justice for the applicants at the earliest.

This turnaround in the functioning of SCLSC came in May this year when the authority launched a new initiative called “SAHYOG” to accelerate filing of petitions on behalf of applicants.

Twenty-five young lawyers were selected from the SCLSC panel to tackle the mounting arrears. The cases were reassigned to them with an assurance that the task would be completed in a timebound manner. To start with, the authority listed out 1,188 cases, of which 776 were criminal and 412 civil. The oldest four cases pertained to 2005.

SAHYOG has received support from the Supreme Court on judicial side. Judges are hearing appeals even though they are being filed much after the limitation period fixed to approach the top court. In one case, the court had condoned the delay of over 3,000 days in approaching it.

Advocate Dushyant Parashar, who took up a 93-year-old woman’s case under SAHYOG, lauded the effort undertaken by SCLSC. Parashar’s client wanted the court to direct the illegal occupants, who were evicted on the orders of Allahabad High Court, to compensate her.

“The case assigned to me was pending with the SCLSC for almost two years. I personally went to her Ghaziabad residence and got the relevant documents required for filing the case, which was decided on the first day of hearing on May 27. Although the court did not rule in her favour, was satisfied with the endeavor made. Thankfully SAHYOG was able to provide justice to her in her lifetime as she died months later after her case was decided,” Parashar said.

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