THERE IS A NEED TO LAUNCH AN AWARENESS CAMPAIGN AMONG PEOPLE NOT ONLY TO MAKE THEM CONSCIOUS OF THEIR RIGHTS, BUT ALSO TO HELP THEM GET LEGAL ASSISTANCE: PRESIDENT MURMU
The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu graced the valedictory session of the 1st Regional Conference on ‘Access to Legal Aid: Strengthening Access to Justice in the Global South’ in New Delhi today (November 28, 2023).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that making legal aid accessible to people in need is the cornerstone of any modern state. It plays a crucial role in shaping a social order which is equitable, just and worthy of trust. She stated that participation of 69 Africa-Asia-Pacific countries of the Global South in this conference is a significant milestone in our collective pursuit of justice and equality.
Speaking about the access to justice, the President said that equality is not only the foundation of justice, but a necessary condition of justice too. It has been long since the world proclaimed that all human beings are equal, but we need to ask ourselves if we all have equal access to justice. In practice, it means some people are often unable to seek redressal of their grievances due to several factors. Our principal task is to remove those obstacles.
The President said that there is a need to launch an awareness campaign among people not only to make them conscious of their rights, but also to help them get legal assistance, if such a need arises. Such an awareness campaign must focus on rural areas and socially disadvantaged groups to dispel the impression that justice is the advantage of the stronger.
The President said that technology holds great promise in making access to legal aid more democratic. It has reduced distances and made justice dispensation easier in many cases. She expressed confidence that an innovative attitude in integration of technology in the justice delivery system will make it more inclusive as well as more efficient.
The President said that conferences like this one not only provide an ideal platform to do so, they also have the potential to deliver much more. They can help us reduce socio-economic disparities at home. Moreover, with more democratic and efficient justice systems, the Global South can take a lead in showing the way to more sustainable development for the whole world. She expressed confidence that during the two days of deliberations participants of the conference have explored opportunities for greater regional and international collaboration and sharing of innovations, knowledge, and strategies, including through a Regional Legal Aid Network. She urged all stakeholders to use this platform to work together to change the lives of people in our countries by enhancing legal aid and access to justice.