The Kerala State Legal Service Authority (Kelsa), which has been providing free legal aid for the needy, is on the verge of shutdown with the state government deciding to stop sending staff of various courts on deputation to other organisations.
The Kelsa, which functions through staff on deputation, has now pinned its hope on the government that it would reconsider the decision and save the organisation from a sudden shutdown.
According to sources, three weeks ago, the government and the Law Department after a Cabinet meeting decided to stop sending court staff on deputation to other organisations.
The reason for this decision was said to be staff shortage and financial crunch.
“The decision to stop deputation was taken without any proper study. The Kelsa functions with the staff in deputation. There are over 200 people working with us. Even the Lok Adalat operates with the staff on deputation. Besides, the district and taluk-level legal service authority under us would also have to be closed down. Some of the officials are serving on deputation with various tribunals which will also affected,” an official said.
The Kelsa has its High Court Legal Services’ Committee, 14 district authority and 63 taluk legal serivce committees.
It also conducts legal literacy classes and training programmes in various organisations, colleges and schools throughout the state.
Besides, it also provides legal aid for prisoners.
The Lok Adalat is also operated by the Kelsa which settles dispute through mediation.
P Mohandas, member secretary of Kelsa, said some of the staff members are back to their courts.
“The decision of the government will certainly affect our operation. We have requested the government to reconsider its decision and a letter in this regard has been given. The entire staff of Kelsa are working on deputation. Several thousands of people are getting benefits from Kelsa and if it is closed, poor people cannot approach the court to get justice,” he said.