26,000 people get free legal advice through helpline

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DHAKA, April 25, 2018 (BSS) – Since its launching by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the National Legal Aid Day on April 28, 2016, about 26,000 people received legal advice and information using the toll-free national helpline ‘16430’.

“A total of 25,887 people have received legal advices and information by dialing the toll-free number from April 28, 2016, to March, 2018. Of the recipients of the services, 18,003 were male and 7,885 were female,” said Kazi Yeasin Habib, assistant director (administration) of the National Legal Aid Services Organisation (NLASO).

Talking to BSS, the NLASO official revealed the statistics days before the National Legal Aid Day scheduled to be observed in the country on April 28.

Habib, also a senior assistant judge, said the NLASO provides different types of services through its national helpline.

“People can get legal advices, legal information, counseling, primary information about filing a case and advices regarding national legal aid, and they also file complaints regarding the service through the helpline,” he said.

The NLASO official said in the age of modern technology, people can avail legal aid services through dialing the number from their mobile phones and land phones, sending text, and using mobile app or facebook messenger.

The NLASO is a statutory body working under the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to adopt policies and principles for making legal services available under the Legal Aid Services Act, 2000.

Any poor person is entitled to get free legal aid services. Besides, any individual receiving old-age allowance, distressed mother holding a VGD card, women and children victims of trafficking and acid throwing, insolvent widow, abandoned or distressed woman, disabled person and poor detainee can avail the free legal services.

Last year, the government enhanced the income ceiling of poor people who are entitled to free legal aid services during the 2017-18 fiscal.

People who annually earn less than Taka 2.50 lakh could avail the legal aid services free of cost. Others who are entitled to the facility are woman or men above 65 years having annual income of less than Taka three lakh.

Other people who would get the facility are people with disabilities with annual income of less than Taka four lakh and war-wounded freedom fighters with annual income of less than Taka 4.25 lakh.

Earlier, people with annual income of less than Taka 1.50 lakh were entitled to get the legal aid services at the Supreme Court and people, whose annual income was less than Taka one lakh, could get the opportunity at lower courts.

The government has established a permanent legal aid office in every district to make the legal aid services more effective, speedy and service-oriented.

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