Legal Aid Clinic for marginalised communities reopens in Imphal

CoNE president RK Nalinikanta said that the Legal Aid Clinic, CoNE which was the very first LAC for the marginalised communities in India, was formally opened on June 3, 2013 by Justice N Kotiswar Singh.


A Legal Aid Clinic (LAC) for marginalised communities in the state has been revived and officially reopened after remaining non-functional for some time at the office premises of Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) at Keishamthong Hodam Leirak Machin, Sega Road, Imphal West, CoNE stated on Wednesday.

CoNE president RK Nalinikanta said that the Legal Aid Clinic, CoNE which was the very first LAC for the marginalised communities in India, was formally opened on June 3, 2013 by Justice N Kotiswar Singh of the High Court of Manipur and former MASLSA member secretary A Guneshwar Sharma, it stated.

He appealed to all concerned to visit the newly revived LAC for any case of rights violation of the marginalised communities in relation with access to services related to HIV, HCV, property and other health related issues, the release stated.

It stated that the official revival and reopening of the LAC on Wednesday was held in the presence of secretary and deputy member secretary of Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MASLSA) Gaiphulshillu Golmei and Sorokhaibam Sadananda respectively.

Member secretary of MASLSA Gaiphulshillu Golmei recalled that the legal aid clinic earlier opened at the office of CoNE was shut down due to non-performance of the clinic, it stated.

However, after considering the explanation provided by the coordinator of LAC, CoNE and the need of an organisation which takes up issues related to marginalised communities including people who use drugs, people living with HIV, female sex workers and MSM, the executive chairman of MASLSA finally approved the re-opening of the LAC, CoNE at the new location, it stated. The approval to reopen the office was given with a condition to sit only twice a week, she said.

It further stated that deputy member secretary Sorokhaibam Sadananda informed that free legal services under the Legal Services Authorities Act are entitled to 80 percent of the total population of India.

Free legal advice and aid is given to people of all categories whose annual income is below INR 25,000 and to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Children, people of weaker Sections, people with unsound mind, victims of communal violence, religious atrocities, floods, famine, senior citizens, transgender, people affected and infected by HIV, victims of substance and drug abuse.

He further informed that according to official reports there are around 34,000 drug users in the state. It stated that to provide drug rehabilitation facilities to the drug users, there are altogether 70 drug treatment centres.

So, to every 500 drug users there is one drug treatment centre to provide rehabilitation services which is very less, it stated. To address this issue the social welfare department has been urged to take up immediate action by formulating a state specific guideline for private rehabilitation centres, it added.

First Published:Feb. 3, 2021, 11:57 p.m.

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