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Panchayats to set up Legal Aid Clinics (LACs)
The National Legal Services Authority has approved LACs to be set up in every village to resolve disputes before they reach the litigation stage. It is hoped that LACs will help tackle exceeding pendancy of cases.

In view of exceeding pendency of cases in the higher and subordinate courts across the country, an ambitious scheme to set up a Legal Aid Clinic (LAC) in every village was approved by the apex body of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) recently.

According to reliable sources in NALSA, these LACs will function from panchayat offices in villages and its main objective is to help solve disputes without allowing them to mature into litigation in courts.

The lawyers and para-legal workers would also render other services like preparing applications for job cards under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA); sources said.

NALSA includes Chief Justice of India Justice S. H. Kapadia and the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court Justice Altamas Kabir.

Women with law degree and three to four years practicing at a local court would be given preference for appointment as lawyers in the legal Aid Clinics, sources said adding that lawyers will get atleast Rs 500 per visit to the LAC while a para-legal worker will get Rs 250 per day.

The LAC lawyers and para-legal workers will "liaison with the government offices and public authorities and help the common people to solve their problems with the officials.”

LACs will work like a single-window facility for helping people to solve their problems where the operation of law comes into the picture.

Dealing with local disputes between villagers, the LAC would work for an amicable settlement and if the lawyer felt the need for more professional intervention to stop it from reaching the courts, he/she would seek help from the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA).
 
According to sources, lawyers rendering legal services in the LAC may request the DLSA to send Mobile Lok Adalat Van with members of the Lok Adalat for visiting the LAC for settlement of the disputes identified by LAC lawyers.

Source: iGovernment