The Law Department does not initiative any programme or scheme but advise all other departments of the state government of Andhra Pradesh within the four corner of law. Hence, it roles become crucial as an advising arm of the government. In an interview with ENN’s Mohd Ujaley, Secretary, Legal Affairs, Government of Andhra Pradesh, R Damodhdar says “Technology catalysis hassle free communication, transparency and accountability and lead to good governance”
You were sessions Judge at Adilabad, how has been the transformation from being a judge to secretary legal affairs?
The responsibilities of a judge and secretary legal affairs are totally different. As a session judge, you disposed of civil and criminal cases. However, a secretary legal affair is statutory post where district judge is deputed to provide legal advise to the government departments in the state. The Law Department is an advisor to all the departments on legal issue. Unlike other departments we do not initiate a programme or scheme. We only advise them within the four corners of law whenever asked by any government departments. As far as transformation is concerned, I have enjoyed my responsibility as session court judge and the assignment of legal secretary is equally satisfying.
Few prosecutions were withdrawn related to crime of agitation and demand for bifurcation of the state under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. That decision was equally appreciated and criticizes by few quarters. How do you look at it?
That type of reaction is quite natural. Basically it was a policy decision of the government of Andhra Pradesh which was implemented. It was not a decision of a particular department. The government can implement a policy provided that they do not bypass the law.Whenever, we have been asked for an advise, we strictly follow the provision of the law.
How challenging is the task of legal affair secretary especially in the light of turmoil in the state due to various issues?
The turmoil outside has nothing to do with our job, we fulfill our responsibility of giving advise to government departments within the four corners of law and there is no question of divergence form law. We are not affected by what is happening outside. We are very much focused on our job.
You are a commerce graduate and later on you did L L M. How do you see legal education in our country today?
A lot of things have changed today. The demand of legal education about 50 years back was quite different from what it is now. I feel legal education in our country has made tremendous progress but there are few areas where we need to focus on. The scope and opportunities for law graduate has increased in modern time. Private companies and big corporates are engaging young law graduate from universities. One thing I have noticed is that there is big competition among Law Colleges in the country. Large number of them are excelling and also assimilating the latest development in law. Today, the real challenge and opportunity is coming from technology. It is growing rapidly and law and law colleges need to catch up with the latest development.
There is huge pendency of the case in our courts. How it can be reduced?
This is huge challenge in our country and we are adding up pendency every day. Our law college should churn out good lawyers and they should sincerely focus on arbitration. In arbitration there is tremendous opportunity given to the society, where matter can be disposed of in no time. If you are able to settle the dispute quickly and in a timely manner, it gives the confidence to the people and business community. It also increases the confidence of corporate for investment in country’s economy.
How do you look at Information Communication Technology, does it catalyse the process of better and easier interaction between government and citizens?
It certainly does, because it allows hassle free communication and transparency and both lead to good governance. Transparency gives wealth and health to the society. Therefore, definitely technology is helping the society in getting rid of some of the ailments. For example we have Mee Seva project which is technology driven. It directly meets the consumers through kiosks and hence, the middlemen have been wiped out. Technology has helped us to focus on citizen centric service in a systematic way. Mee Seva is one of the examples; there are various other projects and schemes where technology is playing defining role.