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Prison Legal Aid Clinics in West Bengal: Bringing Justice Closer?

By: Amrita Paul, Madhurima Dhanuka, Commonwealth Human Rights Institute

This report highlights the lack of uniformity in the functioning of legal aid clinics across correctional homes in West Bengal and urges for issuance of guidelines and procedures to streamline their operations. It is a comparative study of different models of legal aid clinics that operate at present in six correctional homes. The lack of homogeneity is attributed to the existence of various schemes and provisions for their functioning. Based on the advantages and disadvantages of the different models, the report goes on to provide detailed recommendations to bring uniformity in their working as well as to ensure efficacy.

In India, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and the State Legal Services Authorities (SLSA) have, since inception in 1987, framed numerous schemes for effective legal aid delivery to various sections of the community, as per Sections 4(a) and (b) of the Act. Several of these schemes seek to ensure access to legal aid services to the accused, including but not limited to, ensuring the presence of legal aid lawyers during production at court and setting up legal aid clinics in prison. This report is however, restricted to two schemes in particular and the appointment of paralegal volunteers to visit prisons and setup of legal aid clinics in prisons.

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Uploaded on: Nov 13, 2017
Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017
Year Published: 2017
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