Inauguration of Workshop on “Land Related Legal Services Needs of Poor: Experiences, Expectations and Innovations” and the University Auditorium

Land Rights for the poor and the marginalized is a high priority area in ushering social justice to those sections. NALSAR University of Law in collaboration with Landesa (Rural Development Institute) is organizing a two day workshop on ‘Land Related Legal Services Needs of Poor: Experiences, Expectations and Innovations’ from March 19-20, 2016.

On this occasion, Shri K. Chandrashekar Rao, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana inaugurated the state of art university auditorium in the august presence of Honorable Supreme Court Judges including Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anil R. Dave, Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.V. Ramana and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dilip B. Bhosale, Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad and Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Hon’ble Chief Minister appreciated the work done by Centre for Tribal and Land Rights, NALSAR and Landesa/RDI.

In his welcoming address Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dilip B. Bhosale, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad & Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, said that now land is becoming a very precious resource in India and the size of per capita holding is drastically going down, in such a situation land dispute proves costly to the poor and the marginalized. Hence he advised the paralegals to work towards poor securing, title, possession and record of rights so that their right over land is secure and authentic and undisputed.

In his presidential address Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anil R. Dave, Judge, Supreme Court of India lauded the efforts of the Paralegals and said they are doing a job of conscientious teachers to the poor and the marginalized. He suggested for a change in the land record keeping system so that it can become accessible and simple. He advised NALSAR and Landesa to put efforts to spread the knowledge of important land laws in simple comprehendible manner to common people in local language. He also advised the paralegals to take the mediation and conciliation path to settle disputes related to land within the ambit of the village as the cost of litigation is soaring. He said according to an estimate every year land disputes are providing around Rs.750 crores as fees to the lawyers alone. He advised the paralegals to focus more on reducing the litigation and hence the drain of resources.

In an insightful key note address on land rights of the marginalized, Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, Judge, Supreme Court of India   called the Paralegal workers as a ‘working force’ in favor of the marginalized. He emphasized the importance of people give to the landed property as a source of livelihood. He further said such property must be undisputed. Likening land without possession as eyes without vision Justice Mishra enthused paralegals and the students of law to come together and ensure legal services related to land accessible to the poor.

In an inspiring special address to the gathering, Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.V. Ramana, Judge, Supreme Court of India appreciated the work done by NALSAR and Landesa and asked them to work more systematically on other entitlements of formers like the crop insurance and other agriculture related issues apart from issues related to title. He appreciated the instruction material prepared by Landesa which was helpful to demystify the issue related to title and possession of land to the poor.

The Hon’ble Judges lauded the NALSAR University of Law in fulfilling its social responsibility  and working in the area of land rights for the marginalized through its Center for Tribal and Land Rights (NALSAR-CTLR). NALSAR so far has trained 500 Paralegal workers to assist the rural poor on land related issues. In 2013, NALSAR, Landesa with the support of State Legal Services Authority established a Land Rights Legal Aid clinic in the District Court of Warangal. This clinic has provided legal assistance to 538 persons with land disputes and Trained about 3000 people about the land related issues. Government of Telangana under ‘Telangana Land Law Review’ Project has assigned NALSAR University and Landesa to the review the land laws in Telangana. The Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court of India had appreciated the efforts taken by NALSAR and Landesa/RDI and urged them to continue this work of spreading legal literacy and disputes settlement as widely as possible.

Mr.M.Suneel Kumar, State Director, Landesa/RDI introduced the theme of the seminar to the dignitaries and the audience.

Bhoomi Land Rights newsletter, Report of Land Rights Clinic of Warangal (established by NALSAR and LANDESA), report on Community driven Land record Verification, report on Land paralegal program, NALSAR Journal of Air and Space Law were released and the website of NALSAR Center for Tribal Land was launched during this session.

The two day deliberations will focus on the experience the paralegal workers, the findings of the Legal Needs and Bottlenecks study and will suggest measures for the required legal services reaching to the poor with the land problems. Paralegals from various districts of Telangana and the poor benefited by their services will attend the workshop.

Prof. (Dr).Faizan Mustafa gave vote of thanks. Prof.(Dr) Balakista Reddy, Registrar of the University was also present on the occasion.

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