Shillong (Meghalaya), Nov 9 : In commemoration of the enactment of the Indian Legal Services Authorities Act 1987, Legal Services Day was today celebrated by the Meghalaya Legal Services Authority (MSLSA). The main aim of this observance is to spread legal awareness among people.
A series of publicity campaigns were carried out which included announcements through mobile vans and distribution of pamphlets and posters. A webinar on Free Legal Services was also organised.
Briefing media at the the office of MSLSA, N.A. Khan, Member Secretary MSLSA said that the main aim of the Legal Services Authority at the National, State, District and Sub-Divisional level is to ensure free legal aid and services to the weaker sections of the society. He further informed that there are 130 panel lawyers handling around 408 cases of which 407 are criminal cases and 1 is a civil case. There are 10 panel lawyers in the High Court handling cases free of cost for economically weaker sections in need of legal aid.
For the assistance of people coming to the Court, there are 8 functional front offices in different Districts of the State. From January 2020 till date, 924 people have been assisted through the front offices. In Remand Cases 573 people have been assisted.
In compliance with the Supreme Court order to decongest jails in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, around 400 prisoners involved in petty crimes have been released on bail.
Under the Meghalaya Victims Compensation Scheme 2019, 153 victims recommended by the District Legal Services Authority have received compensation through the State Legal Services Authority to the tune of `45,95,000/- in cases involving sexual offences. `11,00,000/- have been paid in cases under penal law.
With the aim of sensitizing people about their rights, duties and benefits of different Government schemes, the State and District Legal Services Authority have been able to reach out to 1670 women, 449 children, 272 senior citizens and 134 persons with mental and physical disabilities through their outreach and sensitization programmes. Extensive campaigns have also been carried out at the grassroots level.
Khan also informed that 233 para legal volunteers have been deputed in various important offices, police stations and Legal Care and Supports Centres to help the weaker sections of society and from January till date, 567 people have benefitted through the 70 Legal Care and Supports Centres spread across the State.