COVID-19 lockdown: Tele-law scheme helping people get legal advice

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COVID-19 lockdown: Tele-law scheme helping people get legal advice
New Delhi, Apr 29 () From a daily wager in Punjab who needed ration to a man in Tripura abused on a messaging group for challenging fake news, several are using a 2017 government tele-law scheme to get help and legal advice during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The scheme of the law ministry was launched to help people in rural areas get pre-litigation legal advice from a panel of lawyers on phone, but now it is also getting calls from people requiring assistance for other problems arising due to the lockdown.

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The lockdown which was imposed from March 25 to April 14, and then extended to May 3, aims to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

When people call up the service's local centre, they are put through the panel of lawyers who answer their queries, according to a top official of the ministry.

The department has documented eight such cases where people were helped through the tele-law scheme.

Prem Kumar, a resident of Punjab's Moga district, had called the local centre saying he had no money to buy ration. Panel lawyer Aksh Basra gave him the government helpline number.

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According to a department of justice official, ration was delivered at his doorstep by the local administration.

People like him living nearby and facing similar problems were also provided assistance, the official said.

In Tripura, offensive remarks were being posted against Sanjoy Debnath after he questioned a post on a Whatsapp group which claimed that several people who flew in from Manipur were coronavirus infected, the department said.

Based on the advice of a panel lawyer, Debnath approached the local police station with a complaint and printouts of the conversations.

The person who posted the alleged fake news and the offensive remarks was made to apologise, the department said.

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The tele-law initiative was launched on April 20, 2017, with an aim to provide legal advice in villages through common services centres (CSCS).

A pilot project started in 1,800 CSCs in 11 states has now been expanded to 115 aspirational districts. NAB ANBANB
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