Lawyers, students across country join hands to offer free online legal aid

The total workforce behind the website is currently 30 and it offers answers to any legal queries free of cost for people across the country.
Chennai goes into lockdown mode all over again. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)EPS)
Chennai goes into lockdown mode all over again. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)EPS)

CHENNAI: Many found something new about them during this pandemic and the lockdown. A set of law students and lawyers across the country too have found that they can help out people in need of legal advice by using technology.

"Lawyers Go Pro Bono" is an online initiative started by a group of law students that took root during this COVID- 19 pandemic lockdown. The website (www.lawyersgoprobono.com) offers answers to any legal queries free of cost for people across the country.

Radhey Soundarya,22, the founder and a fourth-year law student at the Gujarat National Law University from Chennai is the person behind the initiative. "The website was set up to help everyone who needs legal advice in these difficult times of COVID-19. We offer quick, free and simple solutions to people who require legal remedies."

"When everyone around me was aiding in some possible way to people in distress during the lockdown, I also wanted to do something to the society thus the idea sprung up", says Radhey.

"I witnessed several people including my friends asking basic things on the rules and laws that ought to be followed in the lockdown; Fine amounts levied by the police; Easy Monthly Installments (EMIs) on the loans; Airline travel; Quarantine procedures; What are the essential services? " she adds.

A total of 30 members are spread across India to keep the website www.lawyersgoprobono.com interactive. It went live on April 12, says Aathma Kumar, also part of the development team while speaking to Express. At least 40-50 queries have been answered by the team in this lockdown period. With the team comprising law students and also senior lawyers who are experts in various laws it has become easy to redress the grievances that are being raised online.

"We offer them simple legal solutions for easy understanding as legal terms and laws confuse a number of people in the country", emphasizes Radhey. " We also tell them if there is even a case or not", she adds.

Questions on people losing jobs due to lockdown, labour laws and the courts to approach to seek remedy were also raised by users. With the aim to cater to the masses, the website also provides a google form in eight different regional languages, said Vishal Sinha, also a part of the team.

Megha Saha, another team member, recollects an incident which they received a month ago from a girl in Jaipur. When the lockdown was at its peak the girl's parents went to buy essential medicines and were caught by the police. Their car was seized and charges were slapped against them for violating the lockdown.

"The helpless daughter soon found our website and raised a query on the legal measures. Our team quickly responded and advised them to attend the legal proceedings. We told them to seek an extension and to be heard after the lockdown. The person carried out the same and lauded our efforts", she added.

With several people visiting the website seeking legal solutions, the team has planned to tie up with law institutions in each state.

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The New Indian Express
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