A remarkable initiative is currently unfolding in Nagaland, aiming to bring justice, reform, and hope to those behind bars. The Undertrial Review Committee (UTRC) Special Campaign 2023, a collaboration between the National Legal Services Authority and State Legal Services Authorities, is not just another legal program. It’s a force for change, accelerating the wheels of justice for undertrial prisoners (UTPs).
The UTRC Special Campaign 2023, running from 18 September to 20 November, brings together a diverse group of individuals, each playing a unique role in the justice system. At the heart of these endeavors are the District & Sessions Judges, District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police, District Legal Services Authority Secretaries, and Officers in-charge of Prisons, who collaboratively form the district-level committees.
The committees gather regularly to discuss progress, review additional cases, and decide on the next steps for cases where bail applications have been denied. They also meticulously update individual case details. This collaborative approach seeks to address not only the legal aspects of the cases but also the broader issues of justice and reform.
Each district in Nagaland is embracing this campaign with enthusiasm and determination:
Wokha DLSA: The 3rd UTRC Special Campaign meeting on 18 October saw the review of cases and recommendations for Legal Aid representation, emphasizing the district’s commitment to fair justice. Currently, 37 UTPs and five convicts reside in the Wokha District Jail.
Mokokchung DLSA: The committee identified UTPs eligible for default bail and swiftly acted to assist a UTP who couldn’t provide surety, highlighting their dedication to justice and the prisoner’s rights.
Dimapur DLSA: During their weekly UTRC meeting, the committee granted bail to three UTPs, showcasing their dedication to upholding the principles of justice.
Zunheboto, Phek, and Mon DLSAs: These districts have left no stone unturned in their pursuit of justice, identifying eligible UTPs, providing legal aid counsel, and actively seeking solutions to support prison reform.
Kohima DLSA: The Kohima District, with 94 UTPs, including both male and female prisoners, exemplified a strong commitment to justice by reviewing previous meeting minutes and recommending cases for bail.
The UTRC Special Campaign 2023 is much more than a legal proceeding; it’s a quest for justice and reform. Its endeavors are about ensuring the rights of the accused and the efficient functioning of the justice system.