With half a million people of the State being landless and securing land rights a long drawn process, the Centre has advised the State Government to set up block level legal assistance centre.
The legal assistance centres should consist of paralegals, community surveyors and lawyers. About five rural youths or women from the community should be identified and trained on land legal matters to function as paralegals. Equal number of youths should be trained in land survey and positioned as community surveyors.
The State Government has been advised to take the assistance of the Law Schools and Colleges for training of the paralegals and community surveyors.
As per the advisory of the Ministry of Rural Development, each centre will have a coordinator with legal background to provide functional and technical support to paralegals and community surveyors.
“A panel of lawyers should be constituted in each centre to fight land cases in revenue and civil courts,” the advisory said.
The Government has been asked to assign senior revenue officers, either serving or retired, to each centre for better interface and coordination with the Revenue department. The Centre has asked the State to submit a plan for establishing land rights and legal assistance centres to the MoRD for necessary assistance under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).
“Inventory of land should be done in all the villages with assistance of local youths and women self help groups after providing them basic training on land records and land mapping,” the advisory said.
It will be the job of the paralegals to assist the poor beneficiaries in filing cases in the appropriate courts and wherever legal intervention is required, lawyers from the panel can be engaged to take up the cases.
Free legal services available under the National Legal Services Authority Act at various levels should be strengthened for providing free legal assistance to the poor.
The State Government has been asked to issue necessary instructions to revenue authorities to dispose of the land cases of the poor people on a priority basis.