Free legal aid to needy may become a key criterion for lawyers’ entry into judiciary

Ravishankar_PTI

NEW DELHI: Free legal aid given by lawyers to the needy may become a key criterion for their selection to the judiciary, with the government’s move in that direction getting a boost from the SC guidelines for designating senior lawyers.

Pro-boon layering, experience and domain expertise are among the main criteria that SC set last week for assigning lawyers with the ‘senior’ label.  The NDA government has been wanting to make pro-boon layering an important component for lawyers vying to be judges as well. It could now include this in the revised Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) — the guidelines for the selection of high court judges.

“Our government is keenly promoting pro-boon activism,” law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “Promotion of pro-boon layering lends its own weight.”  In April, Prasad had said credible and transparent free legal aid to the poor should be a vital component in considering the elevation of a lawyer as judge. At the time, he had indicated that the component of pro-boon legal service could become a part of MoP.

Last week, while framing guidelines for designating senior lawyers, SC proposed the setting up of a permanent secretariat to which applications, including proposals from judges, should be submitted.

“On receipt of such applications or proposals from judges, the secretariat will compile the relevant data and information with regard to the reputation, conduct, integrity of the advocate(s) concerned including his/her participation in pro-boon work ,” its order read.
The ministry had recently taken steps for “digital inclusion” of the poor and making use of technology to deliver justice to the underprivileged. These included a tele-law service and the Nyaya Mitra scheme.

Source:- Economic Times.India Times

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