The regional meet of the all the North-Eastern States Legal Services Authorities under the aegis of the National States Legal Servives Authorities was held at Shillong on September 27 and was inaugurated by Hon'ble Mr Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Executive Chairman, National Legal Services Authority.The Meet which saw the participation of the Chief Justices and Judges from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura accompanied by the Judicial Officers of the respective states commenced with the inaugural programme by the delivery of welcome address by Hon'ble Mr Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen, Judge, High Court of Meghalaya & Executive Chairman, MSLSA and a speech by Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice, High Court of Meghalaya & Patron-in-Chief, MSLSA.
The conference comprised of two technical sessions which discussed on several issues on "Evaluation and Review of the Work-Performance of SLSAs on, Legal Aid, National Lok Adalats and Implementation of NALSA Schemes" and also "Identification of the areas for expansion of the SLSAs activities under the NALSA Schemes". Justice Ranjan Gogoi stressed on the role of the Legal Services Institutions to carry out the schemes of NALSA by emphasising the fact the role of the Legal Services Institutions goes beyond the scope of only giving legal aid, but the very fact that access to justice for all means that justice has to be meted out to all those who are in need of justice.
Justice Gogoi also stated that the role of the SLSAs is spelt out in the object of the scheme itself and further emphasised that the activities of the SLSAs should be given more publicity so that the executive is aware of the ground reality and the works carried out by the Authority to make the beneficiaries informed about the various legal schemes and also to constantly monitor the Schemes on the ground. He stated that the implementation of the various schemes is the need of the hour which needs commitment on the part of the authorities in order to reach out and sensitize the people at the grassroots level and that the Lok Adalats are not the only means of providing access to justice but the real purpose of the Legal Service Authority is to get the response and be able to transform the thinking of the people in the Executive and to make effective use of the resources available including Para Legal Volunteers as the main source of manpower available in the states concerned.
In the later session, Justice Gogoi raised a question to the participants with regard to the quality of the assessment of the Para Legal Volunteers carried out and stated that the recruitment of PLV's must be carried out meticulously.
Touching on the various aspects of how the functioning and role of Legal Service Institutions can be more effective in bringing justice to those in need, who are hitherto not been able to knock on the doorsteps of justice, Justice Gogoi exhorted those present to rise to the occasion and said that the Legal Services Institutions are placed at an advantageous position in as much as it has the fund required, the support of the Executive and the backing of the Judiciary to implement all the schemes in the quest for access of Justice for all.