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The observation was made during the release of the "Handbook of Formats: Ensuring Effective Legal Services" prepared as part of NALSA’s commitment to improve the quality of legal services by strengthening documentation.
NALSA Chairman Justice NV Ramana on Thursday released the ‘Handbook of Formats: Ensuring Effective Legal Services’ in a webinar that also saw him commend the work undertaken by the Legal Service Authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Handbook was released in the presence of the Executive Chairpersons of State Legal Services Authorities, Chairpersons of High Court Legal Services Committees and Member Secretaries of all State Legal Services Authorities, Chairpersons and Secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities.
In his keynote address, Justice Ramana highlighted the troubles faced by the legal system, especially during this pandemic. He pointed out that while Supreme Court and High Courts are functioning through video conferencing, trial courts are still not working. But now "we have to work with constraints", Justice Ramana added.
Commending the work put in by the Legal Services authorities in this scenario, Justice Ramana said,
The pandemic and consequent lockdown have given rise to a number of issues, the Judge pointed out. Cases of domestic violence and child abuse have gone up and at a time like this when the victims cannot reach the Courts, the importance of a One Stop Centre is magnified, the NALSA Chairman underscored.
Another area of focus in which the State Legal Authorities have had a huge role to play was to assist High Powered Committees of various States in undertaking efforts to reduce overcrowding in prisons to prevent spread of the contagion.
While all the legal aid work is carried out, it is also important to document these efforts and to chart out a uniform format for the same.
The Handbook released by Justice Ramana on June 4 is a crucial step in standardizing and bringing uniformity in the use of formats, it was noted in the keynote address.
Justice Ramana also highlighted the tough future we have before us owing to the pandemic and the plethora of issues that will be faced by the Legal Services and the system. He concluded by urging everyone to stay committed in the challenging times.
The welcome address was delivered by the Member Secretary of NALSA Ashok Kumar Jain and a brief overview of the handbook was provided by Madhurima Dhanuka, Programme Head, Prison Reforms at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
The Handbook is prepared by NALSA in collaboration with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and is seen as a step towards NALSA’s commitment to improving the quality of legal services by strengthening documentation and reporting by Legal Services Institutions across the country.
This handbook will enable NALSA to analyse trends and patterns emerging from the data documented through the standardized format and will help in the identification of issues at the micro level.