KOCHI: In a major boost to the anti-hartal campaign, various Legal Services Authorities will provide legal aid to victims of frequent hartals. A press release issued by the District Information Officer stated those who were physically attacked or sustained property damage because of hartal can approach the District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Legal Services Authority to get legal aid.
According to officials, the victims can also approach Kerala State Legal Services Authority or Lok Adalath, for the legal aid. It is under Sections 12 and 13 of the Legal Service Authority Act such aid is provided. “If approached, the authority will help in filing a civil suit and appoint an advocate to attend the cases at the court concerned. As the case is of civil nature, the petitioner will not have to appear frequently before the court. The panel of lawyers under the District Legal Service Authority or Taluk Legal Service Authority will be appearing for the victim at the court,” an official said.
However, a major concern is how many will turn up to avail the service. Raju P Nair, who is heading ‘Say No To Hartal’ campaign, said such an initiative will help in countering hartals. But very few will dare to file a case against hartal organisers. “We had formed a panel of advocates to provide free legal aid to people affected by hartal. When we approached the persons who were affected by hartals, no one dared to file a case. There is a general fear about raising voice which has to be countered first,” he said. Raju said for filing a case, an FIR has to be lodged. “When victims approach police for filing FIR, the policemen will discourage them to proceed further,” he said.