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Report No. 114

6.12. Legal aid.-

In order to mitigate any hardship in this behalf, the Commission is of the opinion that the proposed Legal Services Commission for States and Union territories which may be set up under the proposed National Legal Services Act should assign two lawyers to be attached to each Gram Nyayalaya whose services would be readily available to the parties if they so desire. These lawyers would be independent of party influence and would assist as Court officers in disposal of the disputes. As they are attached to the Court, there will be no question of adjournment to suit their convenience.

With these safeguards, the Commission favours this retention of participation in the proceedings by lawyers and, therefore, the parties should be permitted to appear through the lawyers of their choice in proceedings before the Gram Nyayalaya. In the criminal proceedings, the accused would be entitled to appear by a lawyer as a matter of right, but the Gram Nyayalaya will have no jurisdiction to adjourn the case to suit his convenience or to shift the venue for the convenience of the parties.

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