Kerala expatriates to get free legal aid soon
INDIAN STATE TO APPOINT AT LEAST 5 LAWYERS FOR CASES IN UAE
Expats from the South Indian state of Kerala will soon receive free legal aid through Malayali lawyers in the UAE empanelled by their government.
Norka-Roots, a public sector undertaking under NonResident Keralites’ Affairs Department (Norka) of the Kerala government, will appoint these lawyers under the “Pravasi [Expat] Legal Aid Cell (PLAC),” a top official said.
The services of the PLAC will be initially offered to Malayali expats in the GCC and some other Middle Eastern countries, said Harikrishnan Namboothiri, CEO of Norka Roots.
Speaking to Gulf News by phone from Kerala, Namboothiri said: “We are going to empanel legal liaison officers to provide legal assistance, legal counselling and also help them [NRKs] get legal representation in the courts.”
Depending on the size of the Malayali population, the number of liaison officers will be different. “For the UAE and Saudi we will have five or more,” said Namboothiri.
The department, through a special committee, has invited applications from Malayali lawyers with experience of practising law both in Kerala and their country of residence.
They should also know both Malayalam and the local language in their place of residence.
“Language is a big barrier [in receiving proper legal aid]. We are actually breaking that [with this service].”
In the absence of proper and timely assistance from legal consultants, he said, many Keralite expats continue to face problems abroad, even though they may have petty cases.
Once Norka receives a request for legal aid, it will take the view of reputed associations to check the authenticity and credibility of the applicant.
“Depending on the merit of the issue and the gravity of the matter, we will forward the cases to the legal liaison officers.”
Norka will ensure consular assistance to those facing issues related to passport, visa and employment which will be taken up by the liaison officers, who will be given honorarium by Norka.
The liaison officers will not accept requests for legal aid in criminal offences, he said.
The PLAC will, however, handle issues related to convictions, imprisonment and medical treatment of prisoners.
The last day to submit applications by legal liaison officers is December 17.