There is no need to change collegium system: Former CJI UU Lalit

UU Lalit also stated that hardly 15% of Indian population is able to avail of legal aid services. This reflects that many are not aware of the legal aid apparatus available to them.

Published: 09th February 2023 02:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2023 06:59 PM   |  A+A-

Former CJI Uday Umesh Lalit addresses the  12th edition of ThinkEdu Conclave (Photo | Satish Babu)

Former CJI Uday Umesh Lalit addresses the 12th edition of ThinkEdu Conclave (Photo | Satish Babu)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Former Chief Justice of India (CJI), UU Lalit, feels there is no need to change the collegium system used to pick judges. The issue has sparked controversy lately.

He was speaking about Why Study Law: Social Duty and Legal Responsibility at the inaugural session of the 12th edition of ThinkEdu Conclave on Thursday, February 9.

Justice Lalit also said, "Study of law must not be confined to universities and colleges, but must be open to the masses and the societal apparatus. It is time that emphasis should be given to internships where students will have to work with rural populations, interact with them, understand their problems and the challenges faced by them."

He urged that just like for medical students, mandatory internships should be introduced for law students as well so that they can work in rural areas with the rural population.

Justice Lalit observed that "these examples will make them aware of the infirmities of that population and turn them into complete professionals and good human beings."


Such an internship process will also help make the rural population aware of their legal rights and make legal aid more accessible to them, he observed.

WEB SCRAWL | In defense of the collegium

"In courses like medicine, where, after a person graduates, the student has to give it back to society by serving as an intern in rural areas, why not in the legal profession? Why is it that the service of rural areas is the prerogative only of medical professionals?" he went on while advocating for the need for the internship system. 

Lalit said that he has been in fact been suggesting the introduction of such an internship system, in which, as a principle, law students are bound to give back to society.

Sharing his experience as the chairperson of NALSA (National Legal Services Authority), Lalit said since almost 66% of our population is below the poverty line, almost two-thirds of the legal matters involving them should be in the hands of legal aid services.

However, hardly 15% of this population is able to avail legal aid services. This reflects that either many are not aware of the legal aid apparatus available to them or they don't have faith in it.

Full Coverage: ThinkEdu 2023

Poor people in rural areas still mortgage their properties and pay high-interest rates to fight their legal cases, he said and added, this problem needs to be solved and is against legal principles.

"Regular interaction with a cross-section of the rural population will make law study for students more on the substance side rather than just getting a degree," he said.

Answering questions from the audience towards the end of the session, Justice Lalit shared his experiences as CJI and the reforms he brought in during his tenure. It was here that he stressed his belief that there is no need to change the Supreme Court collegiums system.

He also spoke about the proposal he has mooted for the appointment of legal aid defence counsel in each district, on the lines of public prosecutors. The legal aid defence counsel system, headed by one chief counsel and assisted by two to three junior counsels, preferably one woman, will help in providing legal aid to the poor and needy.


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  • Rao

    No need to think that judges are infallible - just look at the way they occupy government bungalows even after retirement - and defend themselves with out accepting any scrutiny. They are a bag of bones and muscles like any other human being who know how to bend the constitution. That is why judgements change from court to court and not even unanimous at any level.
    1 month ago reply
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