Shimla,September 19,2015-CNS:-State Meet of Para Legal Volunteers & Conference on Mediation was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir, Chief Justice at New Auditorium at High Court, Shimla. The conference was organized by Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority. 61 Mediators and 54 volunteers from all over the State and 11 Chairmen, District Legal services Authorities attended this conference. The basic aim to organize this conference was to make Justice available to the all sections of society, especially poor people in the remote villages. Para Legal Volunteer Scheme was started by the National Legal Service Authority in year 2009 for the purpose of training individuals to assist in making legal services available to the poor at grass root leval. The service of these volunteers are purely voluntary.
In the Inaugural speech Hon’ble the Chief Justice said that Mediation is one of the mechanism of alternative Dispute Resolution in which a Mediator using proper techniques assist two or more parties to resolve their disputes. It not only saves time but also strengthens their relations as well. He also said that various recognized alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are available but settlement through mediation is one of the best way to resolve the disputes of parties once for all. In addition to this, mediation ensures confidentiality as proceedings before mediator are confidential and are not disclosed to any person. He also mentioned that 6268 Para Legal Volunteers and 1429 Retainer Lawyers have been identified to man the Village Legal Care and support Centres. 2628 Village Legal Care and Support Centers have been set up in Gram Panchayats, which are being manned by trained Para Legal Volunteers and Retainer Lawyers who sit in the concerned Panchayat Bhawans on every Tuesday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Legal Aid clinics in Central Jail/District Jail/Sub Jail have been made functional. And the performance of the Para Legal Volunteers is being monitored by the District Legal Service Authorities under the supervision of H.P. State legal Service Authority. Till now 33183 numbers of persons were benefited and provided legal Service till July, 2015 by Para legal Volunteers.
In his special address, Mr. Justice Sanjay Karol, Executive Chairman, HPSLA laid stress on the importance of mediation in the dispute redressal. He also said that justice must reach to the every section of the society. Each individual should have access to justice. His Lordship stated that under Article 39 A of constitution, the State is bound to provide legal aid, by enacting schemes and regulations. Emphasis being, ensuring opportunities for securing justice, not to be denied only for the reason of economic or other disabilities. He also said that the purpose of today’s meet is to analyse activities carried out by the HPSLSA. His Loardship stated that this year 1,27,434 students of various School and Colleges have participated in afforestation project and 1,70,536 saplings have been planted so far and audit of the same is being done through the advocates.
Sh. Yashawant Chogal Member Secretary, HPSLA in his welcome address said that 70% of the people living in rural area are illiterate and even more than that percentage of the people are not aware of the rights conferred upon them by law. This absence of legal awareness is responsible for the deception, exploration and deprivation of rights. He further added that we have huge arrears of cases in the Courts and role of mediators is very significant to provide an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. The Legal Services Authorities are trying to reach these people in the remote far flung areas through Para Legal Volunteers.
The Inaugural session was followed by interaction with the delegates. Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Karol, Justice Tralok Singh Chauhan, Justic P.S. Rana and Sh. J.R. Katwal, Director, Women and Child Development made interaction with the delegates during the conference which was followed by the open house discussion.
Sh. Shrawan Dogra, Advocate General, Sh. Desh Raj Sharma, Chairman Bar Council of H.P., Sh. Yashwardhan Chauhan, President, H.P. Bar Association, Sh. Ashok Sharma, Assistant solicitor general of India Dr. Baldev, Secretary Law to the Government of H.P., Sh. C.B. Borowalia Registrar General of High Court, other Registrars of the High Court Shimla and, advocates of High Court were also present