India launches free legal aid via video conferencing to villagers

Highlights:

  • The “Tele-Law” initiative has launched  by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Justice, Electronics, and Information Technology.
  • It will be piloted in 500 village councils in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and then rolled out across the rest of the country in a phased manner.
  • Villagers will access the service through newly established "Common Service Centres” -single-window centres providing online services to the public in rural areas where there is little or poor internet connectivity.
  • Through the “Tele-Law” portal, people will be able to access lawyers - selected by the government in their state capitals - and seek advice on anything from land disputes to domestic violence cases via video conference.
  • Hundreds of village women will also be trained up as paralegal volunteers and will act as the first point of contact for rural citizens -explaining the advice given by lawyers and assisting if further action is required.
  • Their training will include understanding laws on social justice and fundamental rights.
  • It will include women and child rights as well as labour-related legislation.
  • Tele-Law will fulfill our commitment to ensure access to justice and empowerment of the poor.
  • The Common Services Centers and paralegal volunteers will offer easy legal advice to litigants in rural India making them digitally and financially inclusive.
  • An economic boom over the last two decades has lifted millions of Indians out of poverty and boosted literacy rates in the country of 1.3 billion.