The Madras High Court has asked the Member Secretary of Tamil Nadu Legal Service Authority to take preventive measures to recognize the list of prisoners who require legal aid.
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court consisting of 2 judges Justice V Bharthidasan and Justice J Nisha Banu through a hearing held via video conferencing directed the member secretary to instruct the secretaries of legal service authority to visit all central prisons, open prisons, and special prison for women and collect data of those prisoners who require legal aid. The next hearing is to be held on 8 October with the submission of the report.
The Hon’ble gave the following instructions while hearing an appeal filed by a life convict in 2018. S. Pathipoornam from Palayamkottai Central Prison filed an appeal against his conviction for murdering and sexually assaulting a woman in November 1996. He was convicted in the said matter and has been in jail for more than 25 years but was not able to file an appeal against such conviction until 2018, due to lack of legal assistance for prisoners.
Hence the court while looking upon the presented appeal on 17/September/2021, directed the SLSA. A report was also submitted by the member secretary stating that the convicts are legally assisted for the filing of the appeal, which the court acknowledged. The report also stated that 5 paralegal volunteers have been appointed in central prison to look and assist in the said matter. The judge suggested that all the deficiencies faced by the advocates while visiting prisons, highlighted by the advocates, must be resolved.