Legal services deliberate access to justice, prosecution
Dimapur, Oct. 5 (EMN): The Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) conducted on October 5 what they stated was a ‘state-level’ consultation for panel lawyers and retainer lawyers, during which they deliberated about matters concerning with early access to justice services with special emphasis on pre-arrest, arrest and remand stage.
The programme was conducted in the State Institute of Rural Development in Kohima, a press release informed.
During the event, member-secretary of the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority Longshithung Ezung, urged the legal service units to strive for “early access to justice” with special emphasis on pre-arrest, arrest and the state of remand. He was delivering the opening address.
Ezung was stated to have talked about the new initiatives and the protocols that are to be fulfilled in legal aid and services programmes.
The updates stated: “He stressed that the need of the hour was on the facet to strive for early access to justice for marginalised sections and special emphasis to those detained at pre arrest stage and between arrest and production in the court, are entitled to free legal services by virtue of section12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.”
The member-secretary however lamented that “lack of awareness and proper communication channels” had been a hindrance in ensuring legal aid to prisoners.
‘A study estimated that 80 percent of those in prison had only primary school education or were illiterate,’ the update stated, adding that lawyers can be the bridge and channel for reaching out to those in need.
Ezung referred to key resolutions that were passed during the conclave of the all-India state legal services authorities during August 17-18 in Nagpur.
‘To carry out and take steps as adopted in the said resolutions, collective efforts, ideas, coordinated action and suggestive inputs from all the panel lawyers are required. For effective implementation of early access to justice framework require coordination between the police authorities and legal services authorities,’ the press release stated.
The gathering was told that the legal service institutions need to focus on ‘the protocol called early access to justice at pre-arrest, arrest and remand stage’ to implement it by providing legal assistance at early stages in criminal cases and putting the protocol into action.
In this regard, the legal service workers were assured of modalities for effective implementation, the updates stated.
Further, the official talked about holding capacity building programs for panel lawyers; spreading effective legal awareness among the public about the right to free legal assistance; frame fortnightly or monthly duty roasters of advocates and paralegal volunteers, among others, the press release stated.
Citing other important aspects of providing legal assistance, he added “to decrease vulnerabilities of suspects and arrestees; assist in avoiding unnecessary arrests; assist arrestees in filing bail applications and furnishing bail bonds.”
Ezung was stated to have pointed out another crucial resolution that was passed during the conclave: Meeting quality legal aid through the front office.
‘Discussion and inputs are required from all levels to shape the front office as one-stop center for the beneficiaries of legal aid seekers,’ the press release stated.
‘Work to appoint front office coordinators is also under consideration as resolved during the Central Authority Meet 2019 and steps will be taken by the NSLSA to recruit front office assistants to ease difficulties in managing and smooth functioning of the office.’
The official stated that discussions will be had about various agendas focusing on the functioning, roles and duties of the front office, amendment in the NALSA regulation of free and competent legal services to asses, deliberate, recommend actions and draw a way forward to strengthen the legal aid and services in the state.
A state project coordinator Cherry Ovung gave a presentation on the district legal services agencies annual activities and implementation of common plans of action, the updates stated.
The legal service workers gave presentations about their functioning, activities, and achievements besides discussing grievances the agencies face, the updates stated.
Thirty panel lawyers and four retainer lawyers from the district legal services, among others attended the event, the press release stated.