January 11, 2023 09:04 PM

Vijyender Sharma/Shimla

The Chief Justice, High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Justice Amjad A. Sayed, today inaugurated Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Offices, through video conferencing, in six Districts Headquarters, namely Shimla, Sirmaur at Nahan, Solan, Kangra at Dharamshala, Kullu, and Una, in the august presence of Justice Sabina, Executive Chairperson, H.P. State Legal Services Authority and other Judges, Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, Justice Vivek Singh Thakur, Justice Ajay Mohan Goel, Justice Sandeep Sharma, Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, Justice Satyen Vaidya, Justice Sushil Kukreja and Justice Virender Singh.

At the first instance, the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System was conceived to be implemented at 12 places, on a pilot project basis, by the National Legal Services Authority. After its success as a pilot project, it is now being extended to 365 places in District Legal Services Authorities of 22 States.

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) had set a target to each State Legal Services Authority to identify 50% of District Legal Services Authorities for running Legal Aid Defense Counsel System at District Headquarters. H.P. State Legal Services Authority is thus ahead of that target as Legal Aid Defense Counsel System has been inaugurated at six District Headquarters out of eleven.

The Legal Aid Defense Counsel System is initiated for providing legal aid, assistance & representation in criminal matters in line with "Public Defender System". Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Office provides:

Legal Advice and Assistance to all individuals visiting office of Legal Aid Defense Counsel System, District Legal Services Authority and Front Office. Representation/Conducting trial and appeals including all miscellaneous work in all Criminal Courts such as Court of Session, Special Courts and Judicial Magistrate Courts including Executive Magistrate Courts.

Handling Remand and Bail work, Providing legal assistance at pre-arrest stage as per need and also in accordance with NALSA's scheme for providing such assistance, Any other legal aid work related to District Courts or as assigned by the Secretary, DLSA. Periodic visit of Prisons of the district under the guidance of the Secretary, DLSA. 

The Registrar General and other Registrars, Central Project Coordinator, Director, H.P. Judicial Academy and Additional Secretary, H.P. State Legal Services Authority, were also present on the occasion. The District and Sessions Judges of Six Districts alongwith Judicial Officers, Office bearers and Members of Bar Associations, Secretaries, DLSAs, newly appointed Legal Aid Defense Counsels and other invitees joined the event virtually.

Sh. Prem Pal Ranta, Member Secretary, H.P. State Legal Services Authority, welcomed all present on the occasion and thanked the Chief Justice and other judges for accepting the invitation and gracing the occasion. He said that this could be possible only under the able leadership of the Chief Justice and guidance of Justice Sabina, (Patron-in-Chief and Executive Chairperson H.P. State Legal Services Authority).

The Chief Justice appreciated the efforts put in by the H.P. State Legal Services Authority for successful implementation of the Legal Aid Defense Counsel System at six District Headquarters.

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