SC calls for NALSA’s report on plea to implement women integrated help system across India

The Supreme Court on Friday called for a report from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on a plea seeking a direction to implement the NALSA women integrated help system, which provides a hassle-free access to justice to women victims of violence, in all states and Union territories.

The plea said the project is operating on a pilot scale in Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh for the last three years.

The petition said it is a technology integrated system of the 181 women helpline, the NALSA legal aid helpline 15100 and all other government schemes that are meant to provide women and girl victims of violence a hassle-free access to the criminal justice system, and empower and protect them from violence.

The plea came up for hearing before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioners The National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and Aman Satya Kachroo Trust, said the results have been extraordinary in Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh.

“Before we proceed further in the matter, we would call for a report from the NALSA qua the scheme, which the petitioner seeks implementation of. Let the needful be done within three weeks. List after four weeks,” the bench said.

During the hearing, the bench observed that at times, pilot projects are taken up, but that does not mean that it would be applied all over in one go.

“NALSA also works under a budget. That budget is made available by the government and within those parameters, it works,” the top court said.

In the plea, filed through advocate Satya Mitra, the petitioners have said it is a “successful project” and they are seeking its replication across the country.

“It is operating on a pilot scale in Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh for the past three years,” they said, adding that the project is implemented by the NALSA in partnership with the petitioners, the department of women and child development of Chhattisgarh and the department of social welfare of Jammu and Kashmir.

The plea mentioned that the contribution of the petitioners to the partnership is the operating system software, known as the Raipur software.

“It has been developed for the past decade by Aman Satya Kachroo Trust (petitioner no. 2) from private trust funds, under the framework of social value investment partnership. It is tried, tested, operational and free of cost,” the plea said.

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It said extending the NALSA women’s integrated help system nationwide will not require a special budget because the schemes that are part of it are already funded and the software required to manage is also available for free.

The petition said the NALSA women’s integrated help system has a wide scope of work, including access to justice, welfare entitlements and access to all NALSA schemes for men, women, children and disadvantaged persons.

The plea said it covers several legislations, including the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 as well as the Indian Penal Code.

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