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The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has taken up an ambitious project of training nearly 1 lakh paralegals across the country. This weekend, Justices Altamas Kabir and Sathasivam would be travelling to Chandigarh to inaugurate the “train the trainers” programme. The programme will train 3 trainers from each State, on basics of constitutional law and other legislations.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Member Secretary U Sarath Chandran said, “This two day training programme has been devised so that the trainers are deployed in each state to train nearly 20,000 volunteers already enrolled for this programme”. “Our motto is Justice for all and to ensure that our motto reaches remote villages and difficult terrains, we have devised district level training programmes where lawyers or volunteers would visit villages on a designated day to look hear the grievances and advice them suitably” added Sarath Chandran.
The 20,000 volunteers belong to the National Service Corps and are paid an honorarium of Rs. 2,000 ($ 44) per month. NALSA is planning to reimburse any expense that may be incurred by these volunteers. “there are around 620 districts in India and our action plan is to reach all districts and villages even in the union territory to have legal volunteers” said Sarath Chandran. Each district has four trainers who will train the volunteers on a host of legislations ranging from Negotiable Instruments Act to violence against women.
“As per our action plan we are calling all law schools and law colleges to volunteer through the legal aid clinics in each State and out action plan encompasses mass reach out strategies”. “Our ambition is like we have a medical aid unit in each village, we need to have a legal aid clinic in each village so that even an Indian in the most remote part can exercise his fundamental rights and remedies available to him” says Sarath Chandran.
As per the 2001 census, there were nearly 638,000 villages in India. A massive volunteer reach-out is necessary, if NALSA plans to reach out to these villages.
A copy of the Project of Para-Legal Volunteers programme is available here