Title: Role of Law Clinics in India: More Milestones to Pass
Lead Presenter: Peter Ladis Francis
Session Abstract: Article 39A of the Constitution of India states, “The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.” It provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society. In spite of the Constitution mandate, in India, the Law Clinics work as part time basis or merely because of Bar Council mandates that every law college must have a legal aid cell. Barring few Law Clinics most of them in India show their activities merely on paper and many even do not exist. The existing Law Clinics face multi facet problems in India like the following: 1. Non availability of full time faculty to run Law Clinics. 2. Law Clinics don’t have adequate administrative staff for assistance and usually there is no demarcated place for legal aid clinics. 3. There is scarcity and insufficiency of financial support to clinics. 4. Students have got rigorous syllabus and time table and hence they are not able to devote time for law clinics. 5. Law Clinics in India are using outdated methods till date and there is a need of providing technical support and assistance to these clinics. 6. Law Clinics do not tend to use ICT (Information Communication Technology). 7. Lesser benefit to students who are involved because there is no academic perks involved. 8. Follow up of certain cases gets affected due to lack of record keeping, and so on. This paper discusses in detail all the problems faced by law clinics in India and proposes practical and viable solutions to such problems.
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