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Young lawyers fellowship programme launched in Odisha
CLAP (Committee for Legal Aid to Poor) has launched a access to justice programme in Odisha, under which 20 identified young lawyers from 10 districts will be given a fellowship. The lawyers will identify beneficiaries, organize legal awareness camp and take up cases on behalf of marginalized groups.

IN ORDER to enable marginalized people to gain access to justice for realization of entitlement conferred upon them under various affirmative laws, 20 young lawyers have been conferred with fellowships. The Odisha based Human Rights Organisation CLAP has launched the young lawyers Justice fellowship Programme in Cuttack under which 10 districts of Odisha will be given a fellowship for one year to conduct such legal service clinics to identify beneficiaries, organize legal awareness camp and take up cases in different Courts for the establishment to legal rights of the marginalized groups.

The young lawyers fellowship programme is a joint venture of the Govt. of India and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The programme shall be implemented with the support of UNDP and access to Justice of Ministry of law, the Govt. of India in order to access to justice programme. Initially in Bolangir, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Khuda, Koraput, Mayurbhanja, Nayagarh, Nabarangapur districts of Odisha shall be covered under the Programme.

Access to Justice is a right of every individual in order to enable the people to have access to justice, the parliament has enacted the Legal Service Authorities Act 1987. Under the Act, at the state level, The State Legal Service Authority is constituted to implement the programmes of law. Legal service mechanism has also been created at the district and Taluk level. The laws identified women, children, S.C, S.T, physically disabled along with person whose annual income is less than Rs-50,000 as legal aid eligible.

The legal aid eligible are entitled to get fees for lawyers, cost of litigation, and expenses for documents, etc., as a part of programme of law have the benefit doesn't reach the legal aid eligible in spite of violation of the Act observed Dr. Bikas Das, the president of CLAP. Dr. Das said that even the total number and beneficiary does not exceed 5,000 in year where as on the other side there is a continuous increase in litigation of the state. Such situation occurs primarily for the reason of lack of knowledge and inability of the people to take advantages of the law, said Dr. Das.

The Young Lawers shall bridge the gap between the legal aid eligible and state legal aid structure apart from helping people to gain access to Justice. In present context there are many positive laws which are being implemented like laws relating to RTI, Employment guarantee rights, Right to education and protection of women from domestic violence. However, these laws only be properly implemented if access to justice is made available to the people. The fellowship to young lawyers are given away in cuttack by Bijaya Chandra Ratha, the member Secretary of State Legal Service Authority, Gopal Krushna Mohanty-Chair person of Odisha State Bar Council, Pramod Kishore Acharya- Executive Director of CLAP. The programme was chaired by Dr. Bikash Das, and the vote of thanks was offered by Chiita Ranjan Mohanty.

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