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DLSAs hold consultative meetings with police across Nagaland

By EMN Updated: Feb 07, 2020 11:32 am
Resource persons and participants of the consultative meeting conducted by Mon DLSA pose for a photograph.

Dimapur, Feb. 7 (EMN): District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs) conducted a series of consultative meetings with prosecutors and police — superintendent of police, sub divisional police officer, officer-in-charge (police station) and investigation officer – across the state over the past few days on “Protocol for Early Access to Justice at Pre-Arrest, Arrest and Remand Stage”.

An update from the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) informed on Friday that the meetings were held in various districts under its directive, and that it was initiated in accordance with the National Legal Services Authority’s 31st Central Authority meeting resolution to implement a framework for providing legal assistance at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stage by all state legal services authorities.

It informed that the state authority has already taken the initiative of meeting the ‘Director General of Police to workout modalities for effective implementation of the framework and preparing quality hoardings enumerating rights, phone numbers and addresses of legal services authorities which are to be distributed in all the police stations across the state’.

The NSLSA also threw light on “early access to justice at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stage”, in its press release:

Early access to justice: Right to free legal aid and assistance is an essential ingredient of reasonable fair and just procedure. It is implicit in the guarantee of Article 21. It is therefore, essential that Access to Justice is available at all stages of the criminal procedure. Access to justice during early stages of the criminal process has its importance; ensuring among other things, protection of the rights of people when they are most vulnerable

Pre-arrest stage: The inclusion Section 41A to the CrPC has created a pre-arrest stage, thereby, necessitating the enforcement of the “right to legal aid even prior to arrest” when a suspect can be issued a notice of appearance to appear before the police for questioning. Most of the persons called for interrogation to the police station on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence are inherently vulnerable to factors such as- the environment of the police station and the uncertainty of what may happen to them. Providing legal assistance to such persons can entail benefits of making the suspect feel less isolated or intimidated. Safeguarding his welfare and rights during interrogation, provide a check on police aggression and avoid unnecessary arrests.

Arrest stage: The presence of a lawyer at the stage of arrest can make a huge difference to how the accused is treated in police custody. A lawyer at this stage can ensure that the police respect the rights of the accused and prevent unwarranted harms to the accused. It reduces the possibility of beating, torture, coercion for disclosures, wrongful detention, fabrication, false implication among others. A prompt legal assistance by lawyer at the time a person is arrested by the police may provide- assistance to understand why he has been arrested; protection against intimidation; ill-treatment and; assistance to understand and navigate the criminal justice process; actualization of procedural rights; ensuring bail in bailable offences at the police station itself.

Remand stage: At the remand stage, efficient representation to unrepresented arrestees is quite imperative to ensure that unnecessary arrests are challenged, bail applications are filed, unnecessary remands are resisted and procedural rights are protected. Early access to justice framework is devised primarily with the objectives to provide legal assistance to needy suspects and arrestees during interrogation and other early stages or investigation; decrease the vulnerabilities of suspects and arrestees; to assist in avoiding unnecessary arrests; assist the arrestees in filing bail applications and famishing bail bonds.


Longleng DLSA held meeting with police officials on February 7, where APP Anguto Sophie said that arrest should not be made mechanically and touched upon section 41A CrPC, guidelines and condition provided by the Supreme Court. He stated that the rights of accused should be protected by informing them about the reason for arrest; right to bail, have a lawyer of one’s choice, inform family and relatives, and medical examination. An accused should also be produced before the nearest police station within 24 hours.

He went on to say that accused should be represented by a lawyer or be assisted with legal aid at remand stage to avoid unnecessary arrest and decrease vulnerability of the arrestees. He also stated that access to justice at early stage of criminal proceedings is important to ensure fair trial.


Peren DLSA held the meeting at District Court Complex on February 7 with its secretary cum CJM Somet C Chang chairing the programme and retainer lawyer Asungbe briefing on arrest and remand procedure, followed by discussion hour. The update from NSLSA informed that four OC and nine police personnel from different police stations under Peren DEF and four assistant public prosecutors, District Court, Peren, attended the meeting.


Wokha DLSA conducted the meeting on Thursday, wherein its secretary Khrievono Seletsu spoke on the purpose of the consultation and procedures to be followed while making an arrest. Project assistant Shanchobeni P Lotha spoke on the meaning of “pre arrest, arrest and remand stage” and law that covers the rights of an accused.


A total of 33 police personnel and prosecution under DEF Zunheboto attended the meeting conducted by Zunheboto DLSA at SP conference Hall, Zunheboto, on February 6. ZDLSA secretary Wokono Yhoshii spoke on the purpose of the meeting; APP Zunheboto J Khetoholi Yepthomi on Juvenile Justice Act and retainer lawyer Easter H Yepthomi on remand procedure at the event.


Mokokchung DLSA conducted the consultative meeting at ADC Panning Conference Hall, wherein its chairman Duvelu Vero delivered the keynote address and secretary Holika Sukhalu highlighted necessary steps to be taken. The meeting was attended by all the SDPOs, OC, IO from six police stations under Mokokchung district, including women cell, traffic control and prosecution office. A total of 40 people attended the meeting.


Dimapur DLSA conducted the meeting on February 5 and it was chaired by principal district and sessions judge cum chairperson Y Longkumer. The police and the prosecution spoke on the pre-arrest bail and custodial interrogation in the presence of penal lawyers of legal services. DDLSA secretary Ajongba Imchen also reminded the participants about Cr.PC, provision on arrest, remand, production. It was attended by 36 officials from the prosecution and police department.


Mon DLSA secretary cum CJM, NJS, Seyielenuo Mezhü, delivered welcome address at the meeting that was attended by officer in-charge, advocates, prosecutions and police personnel. The update informed that project assistant N Mannon spoke on rights of arrested person and duties of investigation officer. There was also discussion on expectation and challenges faced by police, advocates and prosecution while performing their duties.


Phek DLSA in collaboration with district police conducted a consultative meeting at DRDA Conference hall, Phek. NJS, district and sessions judge and chairperson of Phek DLSA Mezivolu T Therieh spoke on right to free legal aid an accused person can avail. It was attended by 23 police officers, officers in-charge and investigating officers from all the six police stations under Phek district.


Tuensang DLSA held a consultative meeting with Tuensang DEF at Tuensang town on February 4. JMFC cum secretary Kumdilong Kessen spoke on cognizance and non-cognizance, bail and non-bailable, and warrant and summon. Soteth Anar also spoke at the event that was attended by 28 police personnel, including SP Tuensang, SDPO Tuensang and officers from different sub-division police station.


Kiphire DLSA held a consultative meeting with the police and prosecution at the police station, Kiphire. Superintendent of police, Kiphire, Amit Nigam spoke on the value and importance of human rights enshrined in Article 39(A) of the Indian constitution, while resource person of the programme Nokshei Kano, secretary DLSA and CJM Kiphire, stressed on the procedures for arrest in cognizable and non-cognizable offences, about arrest of women and remand. He also spoke on framing of “quality charge sheet” and medical aid to accused persons and convicts.

APP Kiphire Michael urged the participants to work towards providing access to justice to all the citizens in the district and work to uplift the people. The programme was attended by 14 people representing the police, prosecution and the DLSA Kiphire.

By EMN Updated: Feb 07, 2020 11:32:00 am