People in the low-income groups who are in need of free legal aid will now be able to avail such a facility at their doorsteps from Wednesday.
Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA), as part of its “Dehleez” programme, is going to send volunteers door-to-door to understand the legal needs of such people.
Depending on the feedback, the authority will either set up legal services clinics or send lawyers to help people pursue litigation, legal counselling and provide any related assistance.
In its first phase starting June 7, the programme will have 30 volunteers going door-to-door covering about 3,000 homes in southwest Delhi for two weeks. “The project would go a long way in reaching out to everyone in the community and making every person aware about the availability of legal aid. This will allow them smooth access to justice,” DSLSA special secretary Geetanjali Goel told TOI.
Following the people-volunteer interaction, three lawyers will be deputed at three anganwadi centres on June 27 to provide free legal aid and advice to people.
The legal services authority has decided to use the structure of anganwadis for the project. There are about 10,900 anganwadis in the city with each centre catering to 800-1,000 people. These centres were set up under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) that had 98 projects in Delhi. Each project under the ICDS scheme had four supervisors with each of them monitoring about 25 anganwadi centres. DSLSA members had roped in the supervisors and other anganwadi workers to get an overview of the socio-legal issues in the areas. The idea was to sensitise them so that they could work in tandem with paralegal volunteers.
Lovely Sharma, a child development officer under the ICDS scheme in the west region, identifies domestic violence and dowry to be of increasing concern, among other issues. “These are low-income group areas where people indulge in drug abuse, drinking and are aloof of any kind of legal procedures. The women are comfortable talking to anganwadi workers. The flagship project can help such women get legal help and many families can benefit from it, especially because it is free,” she said.
The volunteers will visit the areas covered by anganwadi members and interact with residents and identify the issues. In addition, they will also inform the locals about other government services, such as Aadhaar card, Voter ID, ration/BPL cards and any other central or state government scheme.
“If during an interaction with community members a need of providing legal assistance arises, such matters will be referred to the respective legal services authorities depending on jurisdiction for appropriate action,” DSLSA member secretary Sanjiv Jain said. Goel said the project will help converge various government agencies and legal services authorities in Delhi. “A tangible change can be brought about in the lives of people through these volunteers and lawyers,” she said.