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Sikkim: Legal Aid Awareness Programme organised at an Altitude of 14,400 ft

GANGTOK: Judge, High Court of Sikkim and Executive Chairperson, Sikkim State Legal Services Authority, Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai chaired Legal Aid Awareness Programme organised at Army Transit Camp, Thangu today.

The programme had the presence of District and Sessions Judge & Chairman of District Legal Services Authority (North), Mr. N.G. Sherpa, Member Secretary, SSLSA, Mr. Sonam Palden Bhutia, ADC (Dev), Chungthang, Mr. HS Khafley, SDM Chungthang, Mr. Subash Ghimirey along with Members of Zumsa and army officials.

The chief guest, Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, in her address, highlighted some of the legal issues of concern and urged the army administration as well as the local civilian administration to be aware and also help spread awareness about these issues.

She mentioned the various grounds of divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act. She spoke on the increasing number of child sexual abuse and suggested the steps that need to be taken if informed of such cases.  She also added that the army officials could opt for weekly or monthly counselling from psychologists or psychiatrists if any of the jawans or officers are facing mental issues.

She explained the criteria for availing legal aid and also talked about how one can apply for it.

District Judge (North), Mr. N.G. Sherpa, in his speech, talked about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). He also talked about the Minimum Wages Act, under which, a worker can get one day off in a week. It also states that under aged children should not be made to work.

Member Secretary, SSLSA, Mr. Sonam Palden Bhutia, in his speech, talked about the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and mentioned its components. He talked about the Good Samaritan Provision that is included in the new Amendment. Mr. Bhutia further highlighted that compensation can be sought from Motor Accident Claim Tribunal if any person suffers any injury or death which is caused during the use of a motor vehicle.

He also highlighted that as per the new Amendment, fines have been increased fourfold in contravention to driving without license, or not wearing a helmet while driving two wheelers. If any person allows the minor/juvenile to drive a vehicle, and if the latter meets with an accident, then the guardian or the person who allows the minor/juvenile to drive the vehicle, may also be criminally liable. He also added that in cases where both parties are willing to compromise amongst themselves, such cases can be settled through mediation or Lok Adalat.

The queries of the army officials were also addressed.

The programme concluded with the offering of a memento to Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai by the army officials.

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