Spread Word About Legal Aid : Apex Court Judge

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New Delhi, Oct 19 (UNI) Hoping to serve ''global legal community's interest in India more effectively,'' a New Delhi-based law publisher has been reminded of tasks at home-- spreading word about legal aid, for one.

The suggestion from Supreme Court Judge Altamas Kabir came at a function this week celebrating the 4-month-old merger of Britain's LexisNexis Butterworths with Indian law book publisher Wadhwa Nagpur.

A lot of people in India are not aware of the existence of legal aid cells in the country, said Justice Kabir, citing an instance of information people ought to have.

He said with the development of information technology industry and globalisation of laws, the legal and judicial fraternity in India frequently refer to legal developments and literature from abroad.

Justice Kabir touched on changes with which the Indian legal system must cope-- and the consequent demands they pose, voicing hope that the company's content suite will aid in the process.

The event was attended among others by Law Commission of India Chairman A R Lakshmanan, Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah and Senior Advocate K K Venugopal.

India has some 14,000 judicial officers presiding in courts and almost a million lawyers enrolled with the nation's statutory Bar Councils.

Dr Justice Lakshmanan hailed the merger, saying the new entity would provide the best local and global content to Indian legal industry.

Justice Shah emphasised the need for easy access to information from various sources for providing litigants speedy justice given the rapidly growing volume of cases as well as arrears.

Noting the importance Indian courts give precedents, Justice Shah said systematic and comprehensive online databases and efficient law reporting would help lawyers and the judiciary serve people better.

Venugopal said a comprehensive database as a 'readyreckoner' was imperative for Indian lawyers and law students-- given the value of knowledge and the high costs of journals or classics.

He suggested that the publishers focus on producing quality legal journals that can generate discussions on Indian laws, judiciary and the legal system.

The event marked the launch of DD Basu's Shorter Constitution of India by Justice Kabir, first anniversary issue of Halsbury's Law Monthly by Justice Shah and an Online LexisNexis Bookstore by Dr Justice Lakshmanan.

LexisNexis Group's New York-based Senior Vice President Robert Rigby-Hall-- the new company's Managing Director-- promised ''richer, more comprehensive solutions to the Indian legal industry.'' These, he said, would include integrated content from key markets such as the United States, Britain and Australia and could play a crucial role in such reforms as digitisation of courts and bringing efficiency into the Indian legal profession.

A statement by the Wadhwa Brothers of Wadhwa Nagpur said ''The merger will add significant value to the Indian legal market and enable us to serve the global legal community's interest in India more effectively.

''With increased global demand for Indian legal content, and emergence of the Legal Process Outsourcing industry, it is an exciting opportunity to make Wadhwa Nagpur content available to the worldwide marketplace,'' it said.

UNI MJ RP BD1520

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