This article was written by Vrinda Chauhan Aligarh Muslim University
Society is interwoven with the relations and troubles are an inevitable part of it. In the country like India a concept called “Welfarism” is adopted.There are public servants who come to the people’s rescue when people need them. Conceptually they are made for the public welfare. But because of the inequalities and income differentiation and certain societal prejudices many cannot avail their services. In this situation what one should do?
According to the Black’s Law Dictionary:
‘Free or inexpensive advice, assistance, or representation concerning the law. Given to those cannot afford it, based on jurisdictional criteria. Often, the situation to be contested needs a 50-50 percent chance of succeeding in the court to be considered for legal aid. Legal aid is not allowed where (1) the party requesting the aid has alternative funding options available to it, (2) the case is routed to small claims court, (3) corporate matters exist, or (4) concerned with administration of trusts, inheritance and wills, and/or land ownership.’
Legal aid is essential to guaranteeing equal access to justice for all, as provided for by Article 6.3 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding criminal law cases. Especially for citizens who do not have sufficient financial means, the provision of legal aid to clients by governments will increase the likelihood, within court proceedings, of being assisted by legal professionals for free (or at a lower cost) or of receiving financial aid.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India, provides for equal justice and free legal aid:
“The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.”
This Article emphasises that free legal service is an inalienable element of ‘reasonable, fair and just’ procedure, for without it a person suffering from economic or other disabilities would be deprived of the opportunity for securing justice
In the civil side, Order XXXIII. R.18 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 provided that the state and central governments may make supplementary provisions as it thinks fit for providing free legal services to those who have been permitted to sue as an indigent person.
Supreme Court in State of Haryana v. Darshana Devi observed: “the poor shall not be priced out of the justice market by insistence on court-fee.
In Suk Das v. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh , Justice P.N. Bhagwati, emphasized the need of the creating the legal awareness to the poor as they do not know the their rights more particularly right to free legal aid and further observed that in India most of the people are living in rural areas are illiterates and are not aware of the rights conferred upon them by law.
Furthermore Legal aid includes:
- Legal Education
- Legal advice
- Legal awareness
- Pre-litigation settlement
Help each other to goodness and helpfulness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Heed Allah. Allah is severe in retribution. (Qur’an 5: 2)WHAT IS INDIVIDUAL SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY( ISR)?
INDIVIDUAL SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ( ISR) is all about an individual becoming responsible in his or her actions that have affect on communities outside his or her immediate circle.
Do you think your responsibility is delimited to–
Committing acts of charity or Working for the communities where you have material interest? If so then think again…
These only form part of ISR, which is a broader concept that can be manifested through action as below:
1. Philanthropic behaviour of an individual.
2. The campaigner, volunteer and activist instinct in the individual that picks-up and supports issues affecting the society.
3. The above two coupled with an individual being ethical (integrity, honesty) in his/her outward dealings.
WHAT SHOULD BE THE LAWYER’S STAND?
The Advocates and the legal fraternity are an essential part of the society. One must understand that we are not just living in this society but also should contribute something to it. That there is something called “humanity” and every individual is bound by that feeling. As our acts determine the future of the society in which we thrive therefore we should make every attempt to make it more ethically justice-oriented which can be done by the legal fraternity.
Lawyers are the social engineers
They are the link between the citizens and the system of justice. Therefore they have greater responsibility towards the society as a whole and they should endeavor to provide each and every facility to citizenry with full justice.
LAWYERS @DISTRICT COURTS: THEIR MISSED DUTY
In the district courts usually the premises of the court rooms are ugly. Each and every corner of it is sputtered and still the process of law goes on. This isn’t healthy and requires to be fitted in the appropriate condition. Now here who are to be blamed? The lawyers or the presiding officer? Who but the public and the case-parties will only think that it’s the legal persons to be blamed? The lawyers and officers will think that the government is to be blamed. Here comes the Individual Social Responsibility.
The Lawyers and the officers can do their best that wherever they find inappropriate infrastructure they need to and ought to demand from the government for the facility. Juxtapose the people in the court be made aware to be in ideal code of behaviour while in the premises of the Court. This is the actual Legal Aid firstly to train the people to be in ideal code of behaviour and then put forth their issues. But everything cannot go smooth of course there is something called ‘languidness’ ‘recklessness’.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND ISR
now the amendment of the Company Law i.e. Indian Company Act, 2013 has a provision called – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This is in conformance with the Individual Social Responsibility. It aims that every corporation must function according to the strict laws of the environment and fulfilling all the fundamental duties.
HOW TO LIFT UP INDIVIDUAL SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?
Having understood the individual social responsibility and made up your mind to embibe the ISR to your core now the real action must come into the picture. But how to actually lift it up and perform ISR? Here are few tips that should help you click an idea.
The law professionals ought to provide the legal aid as is constitutionally enshrined responsibility. It is the most delightful work as because of legal person help the unreached people and come to their rescue and so they find solace in the aid given. This is how the social responsibility is fulfilled. There are many persons who handle the cases pro-bono, understanding the plights and conditions of the needy and indigent persons.
RESPECTING THE RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS
Respecting their RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS: establishing legal clinics in the remotest areas where generally the public is deprived of their rights.Motivating people to come up and discuss their issues.
FOR A BUDDING LAWYER
For a budding lawyer here’s a tip: Doing a survey of accused in the jails. Many accused are reeling under the absence of assistance whereas many are caught in the web of fake cases. Aid and fight to end such cases and relieve them of their struggle.
Khatri v. State of Bihar, the court held that the state is constitutionally bound to provide such aid not only at the stage of trial but also when they are first produced before the magistrate or remanded from time to time and that such a right cannot be denied on the ground of financial constraints or administrative inability or that the accused did not ask for it. Magistrates and Sessions Judges must inform the accused of such rights
EDUCATION FOR NASCENTS
As the advocates of law each legal professional must arrange the legal aid camps and educate the people and reach out to them in distress.
- The students of law should from the very beginning be taught as to how to understand and render the possible legal aid as professionals and on the top of that on the humanitarian grounds
- Because of rampant corruption and the delayed justice in the Indian Machinery of Justice, the citizens have lost faith in the law. They are least concerned that which law is working how? And what is to be implemented where? Here is the duty of legal professionals to train the citizenry by making aware of their rights and duties. Then invoking in them the confidence in the machinery. The professional of legal field should understand with the broad perspective as to how the legal machinery is made effective and far-reaching..
Think about fulfilling your social responsibility before you earn big bucks!
‘To revolutionize the world one must revolutionize the way he acts.’
 AIR (1972) SC 885.
 AIR (1986) SC 991.
 AIR(1981) SC 262