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Encourage Dispute Resolution through Lok Adalats: Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur

Series of activities held in Kargil district in observance of Weeklong Services Outreach Progamme ‘Enabling to Serve’

KARGIL, JUNE 19, 2021: Under the guidance of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice High Court of J&K and Patron-in-Chief, Ladakh Legal Services Authority and leadership of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Executive Chairman, Ladakh Legal Services Authority, the UT of Ladakh Legal Services Authority held series of activities in district Kargil today in observance of Weeklong Services Outreach Progamme ‘Enabling to Serve’.

A webinar was organized by the Ladakh Legal Services Authority in collaboration with DLSA Kargil on the topic “Role of Legal Services Institutions during the Covid-19 Pandemic & Way Forward” at Kargil. The Webinar was presided over by Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Executive Chairman, Ladakh Legal Services Authority in the presence of M.K. Sharma, Member Secretary, Ladakh Legal Services Authority, Mohammad Rafiq Chak, Principal District & Sessions Judge & Chairman DLSA Kargil, Deepak Sethi, Principal District and Sessions Judge Leh & Chairman DLSA Leh, Tsewang Phuntsog, CJM Kargil, Swati Gupta, Sub Judge, State Judicial Academy, Aga Syed  Jamal, District Social Welfare Officer, Kargil, Raziya Khatoon, Assistant Labour Commissioner,  Kargil, Muneer Ahmed, Secretary DLSA Kargil, Panel Lawyers, PLVs and school children.

In his inaugural address, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur lauded the role of Legal Services Institutions for their efforts to reach out to people in distress and taking remedial measures for providing relief to the affected population. He also appreciated the efforts of the Labour Department and Social Welfare Department for their services and providing relief under various schemes to the eligible beneficiaries. He also impressed upon them to adopt a target oriented approach in providing services to the needy and identify the genuine cases for providing benefits under various schemes.

Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, encouraged the use of Lok Adalats as an effective dispute resolution mechanism which brings the litigation to finality and both parties are in a win-win situation who go home contended. He stressed upon the officers who conduct Lok Adalats to identify and examine the cases genuinely for efficacious and efficient dispute resolution. The PLVs were advised to work with commitment as being the most important link between the people in distress and the authorities. He said that the Panel Lawyers have a very important role in the entire system and they must put their best efforts and seek guidance from senior colleagues whenever required.

M.K. Sharma, Member Secretary, Ladakh LSA in his address highlighted the role of Legal Services Authority and the remedial measures taken by it in reaching out to people in distress and help them combat their fears and anxiety during the challenging times. He referred to the initiative of J&K LSA, which encompassed the activities of Ladakh region before the creation of Ladakh Legal Services Authority with respect to children in the form of a creative activity forum “ACTIVITY KARONA” in collaboration with Directorate of School Education Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh in a bid to engage children in constructive activities.

Similarly, reference was made about the Helpline which was created for redressal of grievances of Labourers/Daily wagers in which 1507 calls were received and redressed by providing ration, medicines. The Helpline for Senior Citizens received and redressed 660 calls for groceries, medicines & hospitals etc. A total number of 2378 calls were received and redressed in respect of grievances of people stranded outside in other parts of country. A total number of 19 incidents of domestic violence were reported in UT of J&K through tele/online Legal Aid and Counseling Services for women & girls who coordinated with One Stop Centres (OSCs) and women Helpline Number 181. Similarly, a total number of 7891 calls involving 8925 youngsters were received and redressed and a total number of 680 transgenders were identified and J&K LSA reached out to them and provided ration/food stuff with the assistance of Administration and NGOs. A Helpline campaign by Para Legal Volunteers for redress of distress calls helped 36176 persons with issues such as legal aid, eviction, assistance from administration etc.

M.K. Sharma expressed that the process of helping the countrymen is going on with zeal and enthusiasm by Ladakh Legal Services Authority and it shall continue to be more responsive, efficient and result oriented.

The officers from the administration also highlighted the work done by their respective offices for the welfare of various sections of society.

The welcome address was given by Mohammad Rafiq Chak, Principal District & Sessions Judge & Chairman DLSA Kargil whereas vote of thanks was given by Tsewang Phuntsog, CJM Kargil. The proceedings of the programme were moderated by Moneer Ahmed, Secretary DLSA Kargil.

In the working session, resource person Swati Gupta, Sub Judge sensitized the participants about the role of legal services institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. She emphasized that the pandemic has posed unique challenges to the very concept of “Access to Justice” which is embedded deep in the constitutional values. The resource person stated that Legal Services Institutions must adhere to the concept of social justice which is evident in the preambular precept of the constitution and must adopt and devise strategies unique to needs of particular region for maximum outreach. She highlighted the role of continuing awareness and empowerment initiatives through virtual interface where physical interactions are not possible through webinars, capacity building exercises, telephonic calls, local media etc.

Panel Lawyers were advised to take recourse to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) mechanism and techniques wherever required.

Tsewang Phuntsog, CJM Kargil also introduced the attendees to various facilities being provided by DLSA Kargil at the district and tehsil level and called upon the PLVs and Panel Lawyers to be more active at community level and create awareness so that no person is deprived of his or her rightful benefit.

As a part of the series of activities during the week long campaign, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur met the Bar members who apprised him about their grievances. Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur assured Bar members of all possible help and cooperation.

Later in the day, Justice D.S. Thakur also inspected TLSC Sankoo and took stock of the functioning of the Legal Services Committee. He impressed upon Chairman, TLSC Sankoo to undertake all possible measures to ensure that the grievances of the people in distress are addressed and appropriately redressed.

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