Chandigarh Legal Aid society comes to the rescue of women prisoners in Burail jail

November 04, 2018 05:48 PM

Punjab News Express/Y.S.Rana
CHANDIGARH: For the first time in its decade long existence, the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Chandigarh, has attempted to more beyond the sections of society into hinterland and offering legal aid to the poor prisoners languishing in Burail jail for years unable to afford an advocate.

While talking to Mr Mahavir Singh, Member Secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh, also revealed that the authority has also appointed three, one female and two male Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs), from the prisoners who were undergoing long-term sentences to facilitate legal aid to its inmates.  He added that aimed at providing fair and speedy trial to the poor prisoners, the Authority has provided PLVs inside the jail that was too from the prisoners. After profiling cases of each case of each prisoner the Authority made an attempt to secure bail.

Mr Singh also said that the ranks of beneficiaries in the jail continue to swell by the day.  The Authority has provided legal assistance to 1405 poor prisoners of Burail jail in 2017 compared to 1617 prisoners till November, 2018.  Woman prisoner beneficiaries of SLSA topped the list. While, 474 woman prisoners beneficiaries were provided legal assistance in 2017 compared to 700 till November, 2018.     

Aims at providing fair and speedy justice to the prisoners, the Authority has made a provision of PLV inside the jail. The number of beneficiaries bears testimony to effectiveness of this tool.  In 2017, number of beneficiaries of Burail jail were 1405 that included 118 SC; 58 OBC; 375 in custody; 474 woman prisoners; one handicapped; 255 general and 124 were children.  Till November 2018, the Authority has extended legal assistance to 1617 prisoners.  These included 102 SC; 49 OBC; 263 in custody; 700 woman prisoners; 291 general and 212 were children.                     

Mr Singh further revealed that District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) also held court for petty cases and encouraged pre-bargain in such cases where provision of sentence was less than seven years.    

He further stated that the authority has mapped each of the jail inmates, list the charges against them and found out who were unable to hire an advocate.  There is also a provision of video conferencing facility between Legal Assistance Establishment (LAE) and each prisoner for better understanding of their cases and facilitate speedy expert legal assistance, says Mr Singh.

It has also the facility of digitization of cases against prisoners to identify who of them needed legal assistance. The authority has LAE manned by professional who can connect the prisoner and reach out to the poor and needy prisoners who require legal assistance. In case of woman, there is no income limit for seeking legal assistance, says Mr Singh.   

It involves collection of data about prisoners, duration in jail, types of charges facing or they have been represented by any advocate for filing or defending their cases.

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