What commenced as a legal education program for the lawyers has completed 2 successful years. The ‘Free Legal Aid Centre on Family Matters’ at Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Law College (NLC) has become a much resorted to platform by the people to resolve their family and matrimonial matters in a good nature. Started by Dr. Mukund Sarda, principal, New Law College, this consortium has by far resolved more than 415 matters. The cases are solved through counseling by experienced legal professionals and academicians. All the matters were concluded at a pre-litigation stage. So the involved parties did not have to bear with the time consuming tribulation of the legal system in the courts and the involved high cost.
Dr. Mukund Sarda says, “Often, people are reluctant to share their information and want confidentiality while seeking free legal advice. We offer them counseling or legal advice well within the parameters of gender justice laws and even at a personal level in order to resolve the matters amicably.”
The centre has an esteemed panel of 20 lawyers who specialize in family court matters. They offer advice and consult to the parties involved in a case. Once a solution is reached, the parties are made to sign a legal of settlement to endorse their claims. Sapna Deo, the centre’s legal aid coordinator says, “The document extends a moral binding on the parties to adhere to the solution.”
“Most of the matters reaching the centre involve matrimonial disputes. But there are others, like disputes emerging from live-in relationships, domestic violence and problems faced by senior citizens who are driven out of their home,” said Mukund Sarda.
He further elaborated, “During counselling sessions, law students are encouraged to observe and actively participate in the settlement process. Students who want to pursue their career as family court lawyers or judges are sensitized towards not looking at these matters as merely criminal or civil cases, but through the social justice point of view and have a different approach to solve them.”