Strengthen free legal service : Governor

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Governor Dr Najma Heptulla
Governor Dr Najma Heptulla

IMPHAL, Sep 15: Governor Dr Najma Heptulla has mooted strengthening free legal service system stating that lawyers should come forward with certain amount of dedication and sacrifice in this regard.
She was speaking as the chief guest at the 65th foundation day of All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA) at Cheirap Court complex today.
She said that free legal service to the people is one area where the members of the bar should give due importance as legal fees are increasing day by day.
A large number of poor people can’t afford to pay for the legal service and in such a scenario legal justice sometimes goes beyond their reach, she said.
As such, there is need to strengthen the free legal service system and the lawyers should come forward with certain amount of dedication and sacrifice in this regard, the Governor added.
Dr Heptulla said that the world today is well informed and the citizens are very conscious about their rights and duties under the law as it is an age where accessibility to justice is of prime consideration and justice at doorstops is a priority area for both State and Central Governments.
In such a scenario, the works and responsibilities of the lawyers have become more challenging, she said and added that the members of the bar have to remain ever ready for dispensation of justice in a truthful and efficient manner and should remain ever vigilant to prevent any miscarriage of justice.
She also said that another issue that has disturbed her much is the large number of pending cases waiting for disposal.
Stating that a concerted effort must be made to improve the situation, she reminded the dictum that stated that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.
Dr Heptulla further said that with the advancement of technology, use of computer, e-mail and internet is increasing at break-neck pace and so is the occurrence of cyber crimes. Members of the bar of the State should also be ready to face such complex and daunting challenges.
Another point which she mentioned during her speech was growing ambit and applicability of international laws. Manipur being a border State having a long international border with Myanmar, the State would be having issues involving international laws such as international environment law and international criminal law sooner or later, the Governor said.
She said that AMBA has had a glorious existence of 65 years and many of its members have excelled in their chosen fields. A considerable number of members of the bar have been designated as Senior Advocates. A total of five members have been elevated to Judges of High Courts, three members have turned law makers as Chief Ministers and a number of members as Ministers from time to time.
She also said that Manipur is considered a frontrunner in the field of women empowerment and it is heartening that women have not lagged behind in the field of justice delivery.
Enrolment of women members in AMBA started in 1970 and as on date, more than 300 women are already enrolled as members of the association.
The Governor expressed hope that the members of the bar would continue to work with sincerity.
AMBA president H Chandrajit while giving his presidential speech said that advocates are bound by strict codes of professional ethics which require them to uphold the Constitution and help maintenance of rule of law, promote advancement of justice and assist in the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the people.
He also said that the AMBA members are required to act honestly and in accordance with the basic principles of morality.
Chandrajit said that the lawyers should never attempt to unduly influence or mislead the Court in any manner whatsoever.
He also said that they are not allowed to disclose any confidential information communicated to them by their clients except with the prior informed consent and also not to advertise or solicit work in any way.
He also said that they are not allowed to discuss or give their opinion on any proceeding of the cases, suit or appeal before the media.

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