Duty of society to offer opportunity to ‘criminal’ to defend himself: SC Judge

Duty of society to offer opportunity to ‘criminal’ to defend himself: SC Judge

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It is the duty of every member of an orderly society to offer every possible opportunity to a “criminal” to defend himself, Supreme Court judge U U Lalit said on Sunday. He said that even though a criminal must be brought to book and punished for his wrong deeds for an orderly society, legal representation is part of everyone’s fundamental rights.

Justice Lalit was speaking at the launch of the year-long campaign “Quality of services is key to access to justice for all”, organised by Haryana Legal Services Authority in Gurugram in Haryana.

“It is true that for an orderly society a criminal must be brought to book, a criminal must be proceeded against, a criminal must be punished for his wrong deeds.

“But at the same time, as an orderly society, it is the duty of every member of the society to offer to him every possible opportunity to defend himself,” he said.

He said that during the last year and a half, when the entire humanity has been on the back foot because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual platform has emerged as a “platform of solution”.

All interactions, whether through public offices or other modes, even entertainment and other things have gone for a toss completely due to the pandemic situation, he said.

However, this situation has also taught us to improvise, innovate “and to sort of bring out the best within us.

“It has taught us that the virtual platform can be a platform of solution, where many of our problems can get sorted out.”

Today all the courts are functioning through virtual modes, he noted.

Justice Lalit also inaugurated the video conferencing facilities in all 22 DLSAs (District Legal Services Authorities) in the state, which will facilitate an interactive platform to fill the communication gap between legal aid counsel and client.

He also inaugurated ‘Kids Zones’ in 18 DLSAs to cater to the needs of children who accompany young couples whose cases are referred for mediation.

Besides Justice Lalit, Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and HC judges – Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Rajan Gupta – also spoke at the occasion.

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