‘Providing timely legal aid is a prerequisite of every prisoner’

TEZU, 7 Apr: To ensure that every prisoner is provided timely and free legal aid as mandated under the National Legal Services Authority’s (NALSA) free and competent legal services schemes and regulations, the Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA) inspected the District Jail here in Lohit district on 3 April.

Under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, all persons in custody are entitled to legal aid.

During the visit, a meeting was scheduled with the jail authority and District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) in the jail premises to discuss issues regarding timely free legal assistance to the under trial prisoners (UTPs) and convicts.

APSLSA Member Secretary Jaweplu Chai highlighted various provisions under

 which prisoners can be effectively represented in the courts. She suggested making inmates aware of their rights and availability of legal aid by conducting periodic legal awareness programme in the jail.

She also interacted with the inmates of the jail comprising of 23 UTPs and 35 convict prisoners, including three convicts who are lodged in the jail for more than 14 years.

She highlighted the provisions of premature release and appraised them about their rights to avail free legal aid from the legal services institutions.

To ensure efficient functioning, the member secretary, along with District & Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman DLSA Yomge Ado reviewed the activity functioning of the jail’s legal aid clinic set up at the jail premises by the state authority, which is being manned by legal aid functionaries, such as legal aid counsel and paralegal volunteers.

The counsel and volunteers are deputed by the District & Sessions Judge-cum-chairman of the DLSA, Lohit to visit the clinic thrice in a week or on a call-on-need basis to provide legal assistance to the inmates of the jail.

She also interacted with the deputy superintendent of jail and other staffers of the district jail.