Gangtok, October 19: Under the directions of Hon’ble Executive Chairperson, Sikkim State Legal Services Authority, Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and as per the State Plan of Action, a Training Programme for all the Remand Advocates and Retainer Lawyers on Pre-Arrest/Custody/Remand and the Duties of Remand Advocate was conducted through a webinar on 17th October, (Saturday) from the Office of Sikkim SLSA.
Shri Sonam Palden Bhutia, Member Secretary, Sikkim SLSA was the Resource Person who conducted the training program through a webinar, which was attended by the Remand Advocates and Retainer Lawyers from all the four districts of Sikkim.
In view of the guidelines of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and under the “Legal Aid Counsel” Scheme of NALSA, Remand Advocates have been appointed in all the Learned Courts of Sikkim, for the purpose of representing the accused who does not have or cannot afford an Advocate of their choice, oppose remands, move bail/miscellaneous applications, etc. and undertake steps, as may be necessary for the effective representation of such accused person.
Retainer lawyers have also been appointed for the Offices of Sikkim SLSA, High Court Legal Services Committee and the 04 District Legal Services Authorities (East at Sikkim, West at Gyalshing, South at Namchi and North at Mangan). These Retainer Lawyers, man the Front Offices set up in the Legal Services Institutions in the District, provide legal counseling and support to the children residing at the Child Care Institutions, devote time for legal aid activities and also provide legal aid advice, consultation, drafting and conveyancing.
During the training, Shri Sonam Palden Bhutia emphasized on the fact that the right to free legal aid under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, and, assistance is an essential ingredient of reasonable, fair, and just procedure for a person accused of any offense and is essential that Access to Justice is available at all stages of the criminal process including the pre-arrest stage. He also explained in detail about the history and importance of all stages of criminal investigation with Case Laws. He asserted that providing legal aid to the arrested at the pre-arrest stage ensures protection of the rights of people when they are most vulnerable, and also strengthens the criminal justice system.
NALSA’s Scheme of engaging Retainer Lawyers and Remand Advocates and their roles and responsibilities was also was disseminated to the participants. The Resource Person also utilized a power-point presentation to highlight some of the important case laws and legal provisions regarding the topics.
The training session ended with the interaction between the participating Lawyers with the Resource Person.