V. Sreenivasa Shivaram (Interview)

V. Sreenivasa Shivaram (Interview)

Interview by: 

Soumya Sannidhanam (Campus Ambassador) 


V. Sreenivasa Shivaram
Administrative officer
Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority

About interviewee:

V. Sreenivasa Sivaram is an administrative officer in Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority. He was once Senior Civil Judge in the state of AP and Telangana.

Soumya: Sir, what is the importance of study of Socio Legal issues in legal field?
V. S. Shivaram: Study of socio legal issues plays a very important role in the legal field, it enables lawyers and law students to know about the socio legal issues in the society and helps them to eradicate those issues.  It also makes the society free from all these socio legal issues. 

Soumya: Sir, tell me about your initiatives in legal aid & awareness field as a law student and now as an administrative officer of APSLSA.
V. S. Shivaram: Legal aid is given to women, children, Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes, Senior Citizens and other people irrespective of income.  Generally it is given to the people having annual income below one lakhs. Legal aid is given to bring poor citizens equal to other citizens of India by providing free legal aid. It protects article 14 and 21 of Indian Constitution. Many initiatives have been taken by APSLSA for legal aid and awareness. Legal aid is provided to the poor people whose income level is less than one lakh. These people’s legal expenses are maintained by respective legal service authorities. Rich people does not have any problem in paying legal expenses, the main problem arises here is with middle income people neither get any subsidy or free legal assistance nor they can afford paying high fees for litigation so recently a Middle income Society groups have been established in Hyderabad where they get legal aid assistance. It is available only in few high courts. They charge 750 rupees for processing charges and 250 for administrative charges, through this it gives partial relief for average middle income people.

Soumya: Sir, tell me your associates’ initiatives in legal aid, awareness, socio - legal issues.
V. S. Shivaram: We in APSLSA regularly check the conduct of various district legal services authorities comes under ambit of our state. We generally do supervise the work done by DLSAs and identify the districts which lack legal service and concentrate on those districts. For the convenience of the poor litigants we have made everything online ie, registering for legal aid etc. it made easy for the people to track his work status. Legal aid is done through formal and informal mode. Formally by providing services through the DSLAs and informally by establishing legal clinics which works twice in a week in villages. There is also a front officer available in every high court. There also exists a column in our website where people can put their grievances. Many para lawyers and para legal volunteers provide legal aid in villages. 

Soumya: Sir, what is the role of higher judiciary in legal aid & awareness in India?
V. S. Shivaram: Higher judiciary played an important role for the emergence of legal aid and Public interest litigations. Justices like P.N Baghawati, Krishna Iyer were first judges to concede PIL in courts. Filing a PIL is not as bulky as a standard lawful case there have been occasions when letters and telegrams served to the court and have been taken up as PILs and heard them. Right from the Hussainara Khatoon’s case higher judiciary is playing crucial role in legal aid and later through several other cases like Khatri case, Sheela Barse case it has been playing an important role. 

Soumya: Sir, what is the role of Government in legal aid & awareness in India?
V. S. Shivaram: Government through National Legal Services Authority, State legal services authority and district legal services authorities are providing legal aid and awareness among people. Legal aid is a constitutional right under article 39 A so government tries to protect the rights of every individual. 

Soumya: Sir, what are your views on present situation of legal aid and awareness initiatives in India?
V. S. Shivaram: Legal aid now is becoming very important aspect for every person in legal field. Every law schools are conducting legal aid camps not only law school many NGOs are there to provide legal aid to people. There are para legal volunteers coming forward for the legal aid. 

Soumya: Sir, what are your views on effectiveness of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987?
V. S. Shivaram: This act is yet to be more effective. There should also be uniformity in all states regarding legal process. Quality of lawyers should also be enhanced through this act. Awareness should also be brought to the parties about the functioning and all other aspects. 

Soumya: Sir, what are your views on present situation of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India?
V. S. Shivaram: Nowadays it has turned to personal interest litigation rather than Public Interest Litigation. Nowadays many people are fling PILs for their personal interests rather than for the welfare of others. It lost its purpose in recent days. 

Soumya: Sir, what advise you would like to give to the future Advocates/ Professors/Scholars with regards to socio- legal issues, legal aid and awareness initiatives?
V. S. Shivaram: Legal aid was an unexplored field in olden days. But through the Legal services act and several initiatives by people now there is a lot of betterment in this field. I would just like to advice for future advocates is just to continue the zeal for legal aid and also take some cases for the welfare of others and take legal aid as their one of the goal to achieve, the we can see a better India without any legal issues. 

Soumya: Sir any message to Pro Bono India. 
V. S. Shivaram: It is a good initiative taken by you people. Hope you people further do many such legal awareness camps and help for the betterment of citizens of India.