Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Legal aid camps - courtesy the Hindu

What these zealous journalists fail to report is that one of the litigants referred to in the news item, Kantha has been receiving legal aid from lawyers who have been appearing pro bono for her for the last several years, mentioning the matter in court several times, waiting endlessly for the matter to reach each time the matter is listed, arguing the matter on several occasions, negotiating with government for a settlement and so on and so forth. After all the first principle in embedded journalism is to only ask questions to fit the answers you already have.


Litigants begin defending their cases

K.T. Sangameswaran and S. Vydhianathan


They were guided by striking lawyers

Advocates to continue boycott of courts


CHENNAI: With the Madras High Court issuing a notification that cases will be decided on merit from Monday, litigants themselves appeared before judges to defend their cases.

Advocates, who are continuing their strike, guided them by organising free legal aid camps.

After obtaining the advocate’s advice, the litigant public put forth their cases before judges. In some cases, the courts passed orders.

The litigants had to make their submissions since advocates had decided to withdraw their vakkalats/memo of appearance in courts.

Having a tough time

The litigants had a difficult time. However, in view of the notification they did not want their viewpoint to go unrepresented. They waited till their cases were called.

Language was no barrier. Some of them narrated their cases in Tamil.

For instance, Kantha of Medavakkam, near Tambaram, a contract labourer, who was waiting for her case to be taken up, said she had filed a petition seeking a compensation of Rs.10 lakh against a hospital for giving a wrong test report.

The case had been pending for nearly two years. She was confident of presenting her case before a Division Bench as there were so many other litigants.

In another case, Jean Marcs, whose land dispute case had been pending for the last 26 years in different courts, said she was forced to argue her case.

The case between her and the owner of a neighbouring land was filed by her father in the Tiruvallur Munsif Court in 1983. After her father’s demise, she was continuing the case.

Pankajavalli defended her case assisted by her son, who was operating a share-auto in Jodhpur. They left the place and settled down in Chennai.

They wanted to continue operating the share-auto in Chennai.

But the State government refused to give her a permit citing various reasons. The auto had almost become a junk now.

A representative of a Trust in Villupuram district sought a court directive for erecting poles on a land for setting up an electric transformer. Its opponent claimed the land belonged to him and objected to putting up the equipment.

Travelling from neighbouring Bangalore did not prove fruitful for two persons. Though they were prepared to argue the case, it was adjourned by two weeks for filing of counter.

A jurist said that not all cases could be fought by the litigant public directly since they had no legal training. Litigants had to be restrained if they spoke outside the law. At times, judges may have to guide the parties and this involved more time of the courts.

The possibility of passing orders on merit is more if the petition and the counter were available in addition to oral submissions.

Meanwhile, MHAA secretary M. Velmurugan said the boycott of courts by advocates would continue.

Legal aid camps

Three legal aid camps had been set up on court premises to guide the litigant public to defend their cases.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Reputed journal of the stature of 'The Hindu' acted with bias towards lawyers. It has failed to see and appreciate the truth in spite of enormous evidence against Police, TN Goverment and Justice BN Srikrishna's Report. in reporting the incidents that have taken place at Madras High Court on 19.02.2009. It is sad that 'The Hindu' chose to close its eyes and started anti-lawyer campaign through their editorial and publishing only those letters received against lawyers.