Interview of Advocate Mohd. Shariq Siddiqui by Prachi Jain on Pro Bono Legal Aid

On 21st January 2019, I have conducted an interview with an Advocate Mohd. Shariq Siddiqui at his residence. He is a prominent advocate of civil court, Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh). His father Mohd. Tariq Siddiqui is also an advocate of civil court, Saharanpur.

I have taken his appointment on 20th January 2019 and conducted his interview on 21st January 2019 in morning. He regularly visits Saharanpur district court at 11 am and then in evening he sits at his residence’s office. Advocate Shariq Siddiqui has good communication skills. He is also a good listener. He is very cooperative and helping. He answered all my questions very diligently. All these qualities make him a prominent advocate. He is also involved in Pro Bono Legal services.

I asked him some questions related to Pro Bono legal services. His views on Pro Bono work are influencing and enthusiastic. Some of the questions asked during the interview session and the answers given by Mohd. Shariq are as follows:

  • What are your views on Pro Bono Activism in India?

Advocate Mohd. Shariq Siddiqui firstly talk about constitutional prospective of free legal Services in India. He States that Article-39A of Indian Constitution ensures that the state shall provide free legal aid by way of making suitable schemes and enacting various legislations so that opportunities for justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of any economic or other disabilities.This provision is made to promote justice and ensure that Justice is available at the door steps to the people of the nation.

He further states that to increase benefits of Pro Bono work Legal Services Authority Act,1987 was enacted. Lok Adalats have been established and alternative dispute resolution system also gained importance. According to his view, Lok Adalats are helpful in increasing benefits of Pro Bono Activism among people of nation as free legal services are available to the needy people. The main objective of Pro Bono work is to ensure that justice is not denied to any citizen of India due to any economic problem. E- courts are also established to provide a new framework to the justice delivery system.

  • Are advocates really indulged in the Pro Bono works?

Yes, Advocates are indulged in Pro Bono works. There are many advocates in district court Saharanpur itself, who provides Pro Bono Legal Services. Advocates provide free legal advice to the poor and marginalized section of society.

  • Is Legal Services Authority Act,1987 been implemented in the same way as it is required?

He said that- yes, Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 has been implemented in the district Saharanpur. Permanent Lok Adalats and Lok Adalats are held on third weekend of every month. Mediation centers are also established in district tosolve the grievances of people.Many cases are solved through Lok Adalats.

  • How law schools and law students are helpful in this conduct?

He States that law schools are very helpful in increasing awareness of people about their rights and pro bono work. In India there are many law schools. These law schools organize legal aid camps, conferences,legal aid programs which are very helpful in increasing awareness about Pro Bono work in India and helps people of India in understanding the Indian laws and legislations. Also, law students have knowledge about the legal field and various provisions of different Indian legislation. Young generation is very much enthusiastic and thus they can make a change in the society by their efforts. They play an important role in increasing legal awareness.

  • What steps a law school can take for the betterment of Pro Bono Services in India?

He is of the view that law students are aware about their rights and duties. Also, it is obligatory for law schools to organize legal aid camps. Law schools and law students are very much helpful in increasing betterment in the field of Pro Bono services in India. Law students can share their views with ordinary people who are not aware about their rights. They can aware people that nowadays justice is available at the door steps. Legal fraternity is ensuring that no one shall remain unrepresented in this nation. They can aware people about Pro Bono Lawyers and NGO’s through legal aid camps, legal aidprograms, street plays and rally etc. Law schools have obligation to establish legal maid clinics in their campus. Through these legal aid clinics law students can provide legal assistance to the needy and marginalized sections of society. They can initiate more and more legal aid camps in village areas and local schools.

By this Interview session, I have gained much experience and knowledge. There are lawyers who are providing Pro Bono Legal services but people don’t have knowledge about these advocates. There is need of many more legal aid camps and programs to be organized by legal; fraternity.  Surveys are also helpful in increasing awareness of people about pro bono legal services. Thus, in this dynamic era there is very much requirement for increasing legal awareness so that opportunity for justice is ensured to the people of all the sections of society.

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