The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, serves as the foundation for Legal Services Institutions (LSIs) across the nation, including NALSA at the national level, SLSAs at the state level, and DLSAs at the district level. Recognizing the pivotal role these institutions play in facilitating access to justice, the National Legal Services Day is celebrated annually on 9th November. In alignment with this ethos, Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) executed the project "AAROH: Vidhik Sewa ke Badhte Kadam," an initiative to amplify legal awareness and ensure the realization of legal rights.
Scope of the Project:
This year, DSLSA endeavored to observe the National Legal Services Day through a week-long celebration, the"Legal Services Week," spanning from 1st to 7th November 2023. The overarching objective was to commemorate the achievements of legal service institutions and deepen legal literacy, with a particular focus on marginalized communities. The project encompassed diverse activities ranging from awareness sessions to mega legal services camps, aimed at bridging the gap between the law and the common man. Upholding DSLSA’s motto of “Sewa Samadhan Samarpan”, (Service, Solution & Dedication), the focus was advancing legal rights of the common masses. The project's scope was curated to achieve the following multifaceted objectives:
- Promote Access to Justice for All: National Legal Services Day serves as a cornerstone for promoting the emphasis on the availability and accessibility of legal services to every individual, especially those belonging to marginalized communities or facing socio-economic challenges. DSLSA is dedicated to extending its reach and resources to all.
- Raise Awareness about Legal Services and Legal Rights: The project aimed at creating widespread awareness about legal services and the inherent rights of individuals. DSLSA recognizes the significance of diverse communication channels and employed Mobile Vans, newspapers, social media, and other platforms to disseminate information. By leveraging these mediums, DSLSA intended to highlight the pivotal role legal services play in upholding justice and equality for every citizen.
- Enhance Legal Literacy Amongst the Masses: To empower the general public with knowledge about their rights, legal procedures, and the array of services available to them, DSLSA conducted targeted workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns. By fostering legal literacy, the project intended to demystify legal complexities and empower individuals to navigate the legal landscape with confidence.
- Mega Legal Services Camps: At the heart of the project lay the organization of Mega Legal Services Camps. These camps are designed to bring free legal aid and essential facilities directly to the doorsteps of the general public. Beyond legal assistance, these camps provide a spectrum of services, including the issuance of Aadhar Cards, PAN Cards, Voter ID Cards, health check-ups, income/caste certificates, and assistance in opening bank accounts. DSLSA recognized the importance of proximity and accessibility in ensuring that the benefits of legal services are tangible and transformative for the community.
“Empowering Initiatives”: A Symphony of Purposeful Programs and Dynamic Activities conducted:
- Day 1 (01.11.2023): The week commenced with an inauguration characterized by Legal Aid on Wheels and Door to Door Campaigns. Concurrently, awareness sessions for senior citizens and self-defence training programs at the community level were conducted.
- Day 2 (02.11.2023): Legal enlightenment extended to children through awareness sessions and competitions at various educational institutions. Additionally, capacity-building programs for Legal Services Advocates and Para Legal Volunteers contributed to the empowerment of the legal aid network.
- Day 3 (03.11.2023): The project underscored inclusivity by identifying remote and underdeveloped villages in each district, delivering tailored Legal Services programs to address their unique needs.
- Day 4 (04.11.2023): Specialized awareness sessions were conducted for women, sex workers, and transgender individuals, in collaboration with Mahila Panchayats and Anganwadi Workers. Simultaneously, targeted sessions in communities predominantly comprising SC or ST populations were organized.
- Day 5 (05.11.2023): A pivotal day featured the Mega Legal Services Camp, offering services ranging from Aadhar Card registration to health check-ups. Helpdesks for laborers and workers, strategically placed at various locations, provided assistance and disseminated information about DSLSA.
- Day 6 (06.11.2023): The program diversified to address specific issues, including awareness sessions for acid attack victims, individualsaffected by HIV/AIDS, victims of trafficking or begar, and the specially-abled community.
- Day 7 (07.11.2023): Legal awareness transcended physical boundaries, weaving its enlightening threads into the corridors of jails, observation homes, and childcare institutions, fostering a comprehensive understanding of legal rights and services in diverse settings.
- Week Long Activities: Throughout the week, activities such as the inauguration of Legal Services Clinics, Information Boards of DSLSA, and various legal services programs, including street plays and performances, were organized.
A total of 260 programs were orchestrated across all 12 districts during the Legal Services Week, benefiting a commendable count of more than 67,000beneficiaries.The quintessential essence of this initiative lies in the seamless synergy among all DLSAs across Delhi, with each conducting dedicated programs for the same eligible category on the same day, weaving together a tapestry of uniformity and evoking a profound sense of collective dedication.
“Capturing Glimpses”: A Visual Journey of Project Aaroh:
The Culmination Ceremony: Reflecting on Success and Charting the way forward:
The Culmination ceremony of Project “Aaroh: Vidhik Sewa ke Badhte Kadam” scheduled on November 20, 2023, at S-Block, High Court of Delhi, promises to be a momentous occasion intended to be graced by the esteemed presence of Justice Manmohan, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Delhi& Executive Chairperson, DSLSA, Justice Rajiv Shakdher, Judge, Delhi High Court & Chairperson (Designate), DHCLSC, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, Judge, Delhi High Court accompanied by other distinguished Judges of the High Court of Delhi, The Judicial Officers of Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Sh. Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Member Secretary, DSLSA, Sh. Naveen Gupta, Special Secretary, DSLSA, Sh. Mridul Gupta, Additional Secretary, DSLSA, Sh. Abhinav Pandey, Secretary (Litigation), DSLSA and Secretaries of the District Legal Services Authorities, who are supervising the minute details of the programme under the supervision of Executive Chairperson, shall also be present, apart from Ld. Principal District and Sessions Judges and Senior Judicial Officers from Delhi District Courts.
On this celebratory day of achievement and recognition, DSLSA unfolds an array of significant activities:
- Launch of Legal Literacy Information Booklet:The day will unfold with the unveiling of the Legal Literacy Information booklet meticulously designed to disseminate information about DSLSAand fundamental legal provisions, including the right to Free Legal Aid as outlined in the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
- Launch of Compendium of Rules & Regulations of DSLSA: DSLSA introduces the "Compendium of Rules & Regulations," meticulously prepared for widespread distribution among officers, officials of DSLSA & DLSAs, Legal Service Advocates, Paralegal Volunteers, etc. This compendium serves as a vital tool for up-to-date information sharing, fostering more efficient functioning within the authority.
- Distribution of Prizes for Exemplary Service: Distinguished individuals, whose exceptional dedication has made a lasting impact, will be honored with prizes, recognizing their valuable contributions in categories ranging from legal service advocates and community Paralegal Volunteers to student Paralegal Volunteers and those serving in prison.
- Inauguration of "Samarpan" App (Geotagging App): Adding a technological stride to legal aid, the ceremony will mark the inauguration of the "Samarpan" App (Geotagging App) for Legal service Advocatess and Paralegal Volunteers. This innovative tool aims to enhance the efficiency and accountability of legal services by providing real-time tracking and reporting capabilities.
- Launch of the "Swavlamban" Project: Further amplifying the commitment to societal rehabilitation, the event will introduce the "Swavalamban" project. This groundbreaking initiative is designed to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of convicts into mainstream society, acknowledging the broader impact on both individuals and their families.
In essence, the project's broadened horizons embody DSLSA's steadfast dedication to not just facilitate legal access but also sow the seeds of awareness, literacy, and practical support—a collective effort nurturing a society where justice illuminates the path for every individual, regardless of their circumstances.