Naveen hikes Lawyers’ Welfare Fund to Rs 3 cr

Cuttack: The State government today announced a three-fold hike in Lawyers’ Welfare Fund from Rs 1 cr to Rs 3 cr.

Attending the State level convention of BJD Legal Front at the Baliyatra ground here, chief minister Naveen Patnaik also announced that the Madhu Babu Legal Aid scheme would be implemented from the next year.

“This initiative of launching BJD Legal Front is a significant step towards the legal empowerment of the people of Odisha”, Patnaik said.

He also declared that legal assistance cells would be set up at gram panchayat level to improve access to the justice delivery system to the poor and underprivileged in the state.

“The BJD, in its election manifesto, had declared to open legal assistance cell in each gram panchayat to improve access to the justice delivery system to the poor and the underprivileged,” he said.

“We will set up legal assistance cells to provide an enabling environment for the legal empowerment of our people.”

The legal assistance cells will offer services once a week and is likely to be operational from next year, sources said.

The chief minister also announced setting up of Law University in the state for improving the standards of legal education in the state.

“My government is seriously contemplating establishment of Law University to strengthen the functioning of law colleges in the state. This will be a milestone in improving the quality of legal education in our state,” said Patnaik.

Expressing pleasure over CM’s announcement, the convenor of the outfit im Kanungo that it would unite the legal practitioners. “We want the front should unite all lawyers of the State for the betterment of the common people, he said.

The Front would work to make the justice delivery system more accessible for common people, he said adding, it will strive to make the development process meanignful and cooperate in implementation of pro-people measures.

The Legal Front was conceptualised by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to bring about unity among lawyers for the betterment of society. This is the first time that such an attempt has been made, Kanungo pointed out.

The Front was launched by the Chief Minister at the party office on November 22, 2015. He had announced to set up a Law Commission while addressing the 44th annual conference of All Odisha Lawyers’ Association at Cuttack in December, 2015. Minister of State for Law Arun Sahu had inaugurated the State office of the Front in Cuttack on January 14 this year.