Access to legal aid by poor not a charity: CJ


Dhaka, May 05: Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain on Sunday said providing legal aid to the poor and helpless people is an essential responsibility of the state.“Access to legal aid under government management is not a charity or mercy but poor and helpless people’s right,” he said while addressing a discussion titled ‘Legal aid services at higher court: Ongoing process and Expectations’ at the Supreme Court auditorium, UNB reported.

Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee and Manusher Jonno Foundation jointly organised the event.

The Chief Justice urged lawyers, human rights activists and voluntary organisations to protect the rights of women, children and helpless people to legal aid.

He also called upon them to ensure so that the depressed, especially women and children, are not deprived of getting legal aid.

Mahmud Hossain said all concerned will have to be sincere so that cases being run at government expenses are disposed of more carefully and speedily.

He said all the lawyers can contribute to the legal services for the poor. “There might be a policy that a lawyer must conduct two cases every year without any fee while members of local bar associations can be inspired in this regard and lawyers can provide legal aid services to the poor free of cost or at a nominal fee at their own.”

Speaking on the occasion, Law Minister Anisul Huq said panel lawyers have an important role to make the government legal service programme a success.

He expressed the hope that all concerned will try to dispose of government cases with highest human attitude so that helpless people are not harassed unnecessarily.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam urged legal aid committees to monitor the cases filed over child and women repression.

Supreme Court Bar Association President AM Amin Uddin, SC Registrar General Dr Jakir Hossain, National Legal Aid Services Organization Director Md Aminul Islam and Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shaheen Anam also spoke at the programme held with Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee Chairman Justice M Enayetur Rahim in the chair.