APSLSA advocates granting parole to eligible UTPs

PASIGHAT, 11 Jul: Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA) Member Secretary Jaweplu Chai stressed on granting parole or interim bail to eligible undertrial prisoners (UTP), conducting undertrial review committee (UTRC) meetings, and furnishing reports regularly to the state authority for initiating action at the appropriate level.

Chai said this during a meeting with Pasighat Sub-jail Superintendent Nancy Yirang, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Mary Kamsi, retainer lawyer Denzing Sonowal, and other legal aid functionaries of the East Siang District Legal Services Authority here on 7 July.

The district legal services authorities are providing free legal representation and assistance to accused persons who are eligible under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, through court-based services.

Chai visited Pasighat to ensure that every prisoner has access to timely free legal aid and is effectively represented in the courts, as mandated under the National Legal Services Authority’s (NALSA) regulation and protocol for early access to justice at the pre-arrest, arrest and remand stages.

The jail superintendent highlighted the prevailing condition of the sub-jail here and the plight of its inmates. She informed that “a proposal for women cell has been submitted to the state government.”

Chai highlighted the provisions under which a UTP can be released, and suggested releasing UTPs who have been granted bail but their cases are pending due to unavailability of surety.

She also suggested to the district legal services authority to “identify long-term literate inmates to be trained as jail paralegal volunteers.”

The member secretary conveyed the NALSA’s direction for digitization of all jails and holding of videoconference between the jail authority, the UTPs, convicts and legal services authorities on a regular basis “to ascertain that no inmate is deprived of their rights, especially during the current pandemic situation.”

She advised that a proposal be placed before the state government to provide videoconference facility to conduct legal awareness programmes in the virtual mode.

A room was identified in the sub-jail premises for setting up a legal aid clinic.

The CJM also spoke on various provisions under which “the UTRC can initiate for decongestion in jail,” APSLSA OSD Dani Belo informed in a release.