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Justice Tashi Rabstan launches Legal Aid Defense Counsel System in J&K

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JAMMU: Justice Tashi Rabstan, acting Chief Justice, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, today launched the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System in 10 districts of the Union Territory.

The system would be further extended to the remaining 10 districts in the coming months in a consolidated and improved manner to ensure quality legal services in criminal matters to eligible poor persons.

Justice Tashi Rabstan, while delivering the inaugural address, congratulated the selected Legal Aid Defense Counsels and exhorted upon them to work hard towards making this vital system a huge success. He stated that the Court based legal services need to be strengthened for providing effective and efficient legal services to weaker and marginalized sections of society. To achieve the same, several steps are being taken up such as the capacity building of lawyers, enhancing the structure and functioning of monitoring and mentoring committees besides upgradation of front offices.

Pertinently, the Assigned Counsel System of delivery of Legal Aid is being followed in India in which cases are assigned to salaried panel lawyers by Legal Services Institutions. The Legal Aid Defense Counsel System (LADCS) would be dealing exclusively with legal aid work in criminal matters. Lawyers engaged in it shall not be taking any private cases. It will create institutional capacity to effectively provide legal aid to the needy in the criminal justice system.

LADCS has been conceived to be implemented on a pilot basis for providing legal aid in criminal matters in Sessions Courts. The success of the pilot project led to the extension of the LADCS to other districts and magisterial courts including Executive Magistrates throughout the country.

Earlier, M K Sharma, Member Secretary, J&K LSA gave an overview of the scheme and highlighted how the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System is better than the other Legal Aid Delivery Systems.

The programme was attended by Sanjeev Gupta, Registrar General, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Principal Secretary, Sobha Ram Gandhi, Registrar Judicial, Parveen Pandoh, Joint Registrar Judicial, Principal District and Sessions Judges who are also Former Officio Chairpersons of DLSAs and Secretaries DLSAs of the concerned districts and the Legal Aid Defense Counsels from across the UT of J&K.

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