From Our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Feb 7: All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), Cachar district committee, has in a memorandum to the Executive Chairman, Assam State Legal Services Authority, Gauhati High Court, alleged discrimition and lack of transparency in preparing the list of empanelled legal aid lawyers under District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Cachar. Advocate zir Hussain Mazumder, chief convener of AAMSU, argues that Article 39 of the Constitution of India provides free legal services to the poor deserving persons as well as the weaker sections of the society. Every citizen is equal before the eye of law and with that view in end, Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 came into existence.
It is to provide free legal aid to the deserving people who fall under Section 12 of the Act. In order to provide free legal services and equal justice to them, competent and dedicated legal aid lawyers are to be empanelled as per regulation 8 of the tiol Legal Services Authority (LSA) Regulations 2010. The learned advocate submits though the DLSA Cachar received applications from 85 advocates of both the Bar Associations of the district, no transparency was maintained in selecting the legal aid lawyers. He further alleges that the procedure of selecting panel lawyers was also ignored.
As a result, 35 advocates have been selected as legal aid lawyers. Out of them, only 5 are from the minority community which has shocked and surprised the legal fraternity. This has also raised many an eyebrow. The advocate zir Husain Mazumder further argues as per sub regulation (1) of regulation 8, the applications are to be scrutinized and the selection of the panel lawyers made by the Chairman of the DLSA in consultation with the government pleader and the presidents of the Bar Associations. The president of District Bar Association is totally uware of the development.
This has also raised yet another question how can the selection of panel lawyers be treated as valid? There is common perception that discrimitions have arisen in selection of the legal aid lawyers. Advocate Mazumder referring to the regulation 11 of the LSA Regulations 2010 pointed out that the panel is prepared for a period of three years. The earlier panel was approved on April 28, 2016 and due to expire on April 27, 2019. Surprisingly, the then Chairman of DLSA overruled the said regulation and approved the new panel on January 29, 2018. This is in gross violation of LSA Regulation and other relevant rules. Apart from that the memorandum also points out many legal aid clinics under the Authority are not allocated any fincial assistance for a long time which has stood in the way of providing free legal services to all those who need it. It has therefore been impressed upon the Executive Chairman to review the approved list of the legal aid lawyers against the backdrop of the arguments placed. It is the firm belief and conviction of AAMSU that he would initiate necessary corrective measures so that the poor and needy sections of society get justice.