A mega legal awareness and outreach programme on NALSA
Information & Public Relations Department
Organized by Sikkim State Legal Services Authority in coordination with District Legal Services Authority, West, the programme was graced by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Biswanath Somadder, Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim, and Patron-in-Chief, Sikkim State Legal Services Authority, as the Chief Guest. The programme was graced by Hon'ble Mrs. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, Judge, High Court of Sikkim and Executive Chairperson, Sikkim State Legal Services Authority, as the Guest of Honour.
Also present on the occasion were Mr. Prajwal Khatiwada, Ld. Registrar (Judicial) and OSD, High Court of Sikkim, Mr. K.W. Bhutia, Ld. Registrar General, High Court of Sikkim, Ms. Jyoti Kharka, Ld. Registrar, High Court of Sikkim, Mr. Sonam Palden Bhutia, Ld. District and Sessions Judge, Gyalshing and Soreng (I/C) and Chairperson, DLSA, West, Mr. Benoy Sharma, Ld. Central Project Coordinator, High Court of Sikkim, Ms. Subarna Rai, Ld. Member Secretary, Sikkim SLSA, Mrs. Jwala D. Thapa, Ld. Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Sr. Civil Judge, Gyalshing and Soreng (I/C), Mr. Jabyang Sherpa, Ld. Judicial Magistrate-cum-Civil Judge, Gyalshing and Soreng (I/C) and Secretary, DLSA, West.
The programme also had the presence of Mr. Bhim Thatal, District Collector, Soreng, Mr. Suman Gurung, Special Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Ms. Jyotshna Karthak, Special Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, Mr. J. Jayapandiyan, SP Soreng, District Level officers of various departments, officers of SLSA, Bar Members, Principal, faculty and students of the school, and Para Legal Volunteers.
After the formal welcome of the Chief Guest and Guest of Honour, the welcome address was delivered by Ms. Subarna Rai, Ld. Member Secretary, Sikkim SLSA. She highlighted the objective of organizing the mega legal awareness camps at regular intervals.
Hon'ble Mr. Justice Biswanath Somadder, Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim and Patron-in-Chief, Sikkim SLSA, in his inaugural address stated that any legal awareness programme will be a success only if all the concerned stakeholders are sensitized on their respective roles. He stated that the very purpose of organizing such awareness programme is to sensitize the public about various schemes and policies that are being implemented by the Government. He urged the State Legal Services Authority to ensure strict implementation of all schemes, and adequate sensitization of all the care givers and service providers to enable them to effectively handle relevant cases.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice further acknowledged that the role of a caregiver is crucial for the victim especially in cases relating to sexual violence against children and juvenile justice. Adding to this, he expressed that any juvenile in conflict with the law must be treated with patience and care to enable them to return to the mainstream and serve the society.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice further called on the need for handling survivors of human trafficking with utmost sensitivity. Likewise, he urged for hand holding and compassionate care to senior citizens seeking legal aid. He added that all individuals manning child care institutions need to be adequately sensitized on the legal aspects.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice concluded his address by stating that the painstaking effort put in by the Sikkim State Legal Services Authority in organizing the mega legal awareness camps will bear the fruits if the stakeholders come together and contribute individually and collectively in ensuring access of legal services to those in need. He reiterated that the objective of taking legal awareness camps to the doorsteps is to strengthen the society and build a better tomorrow.
Hon'ble Mrs. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, Judge, High Court of Sikkim and Executive Chairperson, Sikkim SLSA, in her address, stressed on the need for increased participation in such legal awareness camps for better understanding of one’s legal rights and also about various schemes and programmes being implemented by the Government.
Speaking on the POCSO Act, 2012, the Hon’ble Justice said that the provisions of the Act are very stringent and the punishments severe. She urged the audience, especially students, to gather adequate knowledge about the POCSO Act. She also advised the teachers and parents to be vigilant of any incident of sexual abuse or assault on children.
Speaking on SADA Act, 2006, and the growing concern of drug and substance abuse, Hon’ble Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai advised the parents and teachers to be attentive towards a child who is showing changes in behavioural patterns such as losing focus in studies, seclusion, eating disorder and ignorance in personal hygiene etc. She urged the community to come forth in accepting the victims of drug abuse and help them in healing instead of stigmatizing them.
The Hon’ble Justice apprised about various measures the Government has been taking in order to provide the required assistance to drug users such as free counselling, medication and rehabilitation through centres especially meant for the financially weaker section of the society. She emphasized on the importance of detoxification and rehabilitation. She reminded the audience of the Government established Drug De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre inaugurated recently at Kitchudumra under Namchi District.
The Hon’ble Justice further informed that other provisions such as day care counselling centres have been established in all district hospitals for those patients who wish to remain anonymous and not visit the rehabilitation centres for counselling. Likewise, separate rooms have been allocated for medical check-up of sexual crime victims. Further, she informed that the State Legal Services Authority also provides comprehensive counselling to convicts at detention centres/prisons.
The programme also comprised of brief presentation by officers of various departments on various schemes and activities.
A presentation on Welfare Schemes implemented by the Social Welfare Department was made by Mr. Suman Gurung, Special Secretary, Social Welfare Department, wherein he spoke extensively on the Schemes on Minority Affairs and Tribal Affairs. Mr. Gurung also informed about the scholarship schemes which can be accessed through the Government portal www.socialwelfarescholarship.sikkim.gov.in
Special Secretary, Women and Child Development Department, Ms. Jyotshna Karthak, made a comprehensive presentation on the schemes under W&CDD especially for the senior citizens and children.
Ms. Dhan Maya Subba, SP, Sikkim Police Anti Human Trafficking Unit highlighted the issues concerning SADA, 2006 and POCSO, 2012 in the State, and deliberated on ways to address them.
Dr. Kunzang Bhutia, Senior Psychiatrist, District Hospital, Gyalshing talked about various mental health issues in the state and provided insights about the types of mental health illnesses and their treatment protocol.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. Sonam Palden Bhutia, Ld. District and Sessions Judge and Chairperson, DLSA, Gyalshing District.
The programme was conducted by Mrs. Jwala D. Thapa, Ld. Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Sr. Civil Judge, Gyalshing and Soreng (I/C).
After the programme, the chief guest, the guest of honour and other dignitaries inspected the stalls put up by various Departments of the State Government.
A health camp was also organized at the venue by District Hospital, Gyalshing, for the benefit of the general public