SC judge reveals data on cases against underprivileged

70 pc undertrials from socially vulnerable section, 89 pc be illiterate, 41 pc haven’t completed their secondary edn and 72 pc belong to socially vulnerable categories and other backward classes

SHILLONG, March 18: Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has revealed startling figures and data relating to cases against underprivileged sections across India.
Justice Kaul, who was addressing the East-Zone Regional Conference as the chief guest at Taj Vivanta Hotel, Shillong, revealed that among the underprivileged sections, 70 per cent of the undertrials are from the socially vulnerable section, 89 per cent were found to be illiterate, 41 per cent had not completed their secondary education and 72 per cent of the undertrials belong to socially vulnerable categories and other backward classes.
“This shows that the impoverished and marginalised groups often faced the brunt of the arbitrary address, detention and custodian violence and procedural protections built into the law are often violated,” Justice Kaul, who is also the Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), said.
He added that the approach to legal services authority should have a long-term perspective and since it is not a task which can be achieved in a day or a year, the continuity is necessary.
“The main objective that led to the creation of the Legal Services Authority Act was to provide a sense of relief and equality in terms of legal assistance to the large underprivileged sections of the society,” Justice Kaul.
He also said that such conferences should not only be confined to a particular state and should be held in other places as well so as to gain different views and ideas, including knowledge-sharing, which can be beneficial in addressing the various concerns and issues that plague the society.
During the conference, which was organised by NALSA and thematised on ‘Enhancing Access to Justice’, the chief guest, along with other dignitaries, released the Newsletter of the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority titled ‘New Light’ issue VII.
The inaugural session was then followed by a technical session during which the State Legal Services Authorities of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands gave a presentation on ‘Identification of issues/challenges and sharing best practices’.
Others who were part of the programme include Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Chief Justice of High Court of Meghalaya Justice Sanjib Banerjee, High Court of Meghalaya judges Justice HS Thangkhiew and Justice W Diengdoh.

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