SLSA trains gaon buras/buris for legal empowerment

ITANAGAR, Aug 30: State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) organized a day-long online consultative meeting on legal literacy for gaon buras/buris (GBs) here on Sunday underscoring the importance of GB Institution in Arunachal Pradesh since time immemorial.

Highlighting objective of the training, SLSA member-secretary Jaweplu Chai told participating GBs of 14 districts that GB Institution following best practices has many success stories.  But, realizing various legal loopholes, the meeting aims to ensure their legal empowerment for them to play their roles effective in dispensing justice.

Moreover, the SLSA has so far has conducted training for 484 GBs of 22 districts under a project “Training of gaon buras and buris, the traditional village council system of Arunachal Pradesh”.

Investment planning, agriculture production commissioner-cum-APSSB chairman Prashant S. Lokhande,  speaking on ‘Institution of gaon buras and buris of Arunachal Pradesh, present scenario; their roles and responsibilities’, said that the GBs have a pivotal role  in administration of justice at all levels. The GBs apart from resolving disputes in the community have many additional roles for greater welfare of the society. He enunciated that GBs have strong responsibilities in ensuring that there is no corruption in the community and exhorted them to pay attention to gender aspect while exercising their roles in the community.

He urged the GBs to convince land owners to accept reasonable compensation for land acquisition by present people-welfare Govt in greater interest of the society, saying those lands would be used for institutions for the public only.

Various topics were also covered at the meeting by learned and experienced officials.

Speaking on ‘Legal literacy for effective role of GBs at local level’, Lower Subansiri DC Swetika Sachan shared about roles and responsibilities of GBs and their limited power. She asked them to strictly follow Assam Frontier Regulation (AFR), 1945 to ensure that there is no appeal against their verdict in DC court.

ICC SP Tumme Amo, speaking on ‘Synergy between GBs and police’, said that the GBs are like police on areas where there is no police station. He sought their cooperation with the police in maintaining law and order in the community.

Speaking on ‘Synergy between customary practices and formal laws’, East Siang district & session judge-cum-DLSA chairman Budi Habung highlighted the changes in roles and responsibilities of GBs with the judiciary making inroad into the state. This calls for more training for them besides awareness about their functions and powers. He urged them to adopt fair practice for resolving any dispute.

APWWS secretary Kani Nada Maling, RGU’s Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies head Prof. Jumyir Basar spoke on issues and challenges of GBs institution from legal aspect and redressal process. There should be no political influence for appointment of GBs, they added.

Moreover, feedbacks and suggestions were received from Apatani Gaon Burra Buri Association convenor Yachang Tacho, Tawang district GB Welfare Association convenor Urgen Tsering, Hong village head gaon buri Narang Yamyang and All Arunachal Pradesh Gaon Buras Welfare Association GS Tache Lombi besides shared their best practices and success stories about how the public have benefitted.

They spoke hinted about their awareness initiatives after such training but enlisted their issues and challenges in exercising their roles due to limited knowledge. They also felt the need for such training circle and village levels on laws, especially on roles of GBs under AFR-1945.

Responding to their pleas, member-secretary Chai assured to incorporate all suggestions in future plans. The programme concluded with vote of thanks from Shri Law deputy secretary-cum-SLSA OSD Dani Belo also addressed the participants, including representative of Tawang, East Siang, Lower Subansiri DC offices, judicial officers and district legal service authority.

The meeting was organized in collaboration with justice department and Justice under Access to Justice North East and Jammu &Kashmir (A2J NEJK) project, according to an official release.

Legal luminaries lauded GB Institution 

By Pradeep Kumar

NAHARLAGUN, Apr 05, 2012: There couldn’t be better example of justice than two pleas of All Arunachal Pradesh Gaon Bura Welfare Association (AAPGBWA) placed by president Nabam Epo granted instantly by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, said Supreme Court of India’s judge justice Altamus Kabir, also the executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NLSA).

It sounded like a verdict by the SC’s senior-most pusine judge destined to head the apex court in Sept next, of the time-tested gaon bura institution’s relevance, set up under Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation 1945, sincerity of the GoAP in bifurcating judiciary from the executive and setting up of legal aid centre (LAC), in his address after inaugurating the maiden state level LAC in Papu village-I here today.

“You are part of our judiciary system,” thundered the SC CS-designate, as a senior politician whispered from behind “Is China listening? It’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh (described by Gauhati HC Chief Justice AK Goel as sensitive border area) is futile, as 1000% it is ours”. I looked back to nod in affirmative.

Earlier, Gauhati HC judge justice IA Ansari said ‘aap hazzar sallo se judge ho, hum bhi judge hai’, we have to learn from each other. We do not want to break the GB system. There could be some defect in either system which should be removed to grant justice. ‘Aadmi ko sirf aadhikar nahi, kartabya ki bhi paata hona chahiye. We have to place our problems before the Govt to solve it.’

Former Chief Justice A S Anand of Supreme Court of India was true in his observation that “customary laws are important”, while inaugurating Itanagar permanent bench of Gauhati High Court at Naharlagun on 12.08. 2000. He, however, had dispelled apprehension about any threat to customary laws, saying the high court would pave the way to blend the good aspects of traditional laws for assimilation with the statutory and codified laws. The gaon burah practicing these laws could serve as catalysts for the purpose, he had advocated.

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