'Access to justice not synonymous with access to court'
Access to justice is not synonymous with access to a court, the Delhi High Court's Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal said on Monday.
Maintaining that there were several barriers to be overcome, she said these included "empowering and mainstreaming of disability and diversity, dispensing information and knowledge about the court systems and law as well as facilitating physical and mental access".
She made the comments while launching a helpline to dispense information to litigants. The helpline, numbered 1888, the first of its kind in the country, would be initially used on a trial basis to provide certain information as also facilities like wheelchair to needy litigants who need it.
The facility can be booked in advance by making a call or sending an SMS to the number, Justice Mittal said at the launch event.
She said the number has been alloted by the Ministry of Communication and would be used over a period of time for dispensation of "multifunctional information", like the listing and filing of cases and information with regard to legal aid, arbitration and mediation.
Apart from the helpline, the high court is also working on various other initiatives like computer training of the staff and judges along with pursuing a vigorous and intensive e-court programme, Justice Mittal said.
She also said that work rationalisation was underway at District Courts and an example was segregation of the POCSO courts.
She said that even the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) was also taking steps to ensure better access to justice.
These steps include setting up help desks of legal aid lawyers at traffic and mahila courts as a major grievance of litigants at these courts are that they are unable to access legal justice.
The DSLSA is also undertaking a legal literacy programme, Mittal further said.