Judge Jaapinder Singh, Secretary DLSA first introduced his department, the DLSA, which provides free legal services to
1. men with annual income 3 lakh or less per year
2. all women, children, SC/ST persons irrespective of income
All citizens have the right to legal representation by law. DSA ensures that happens
Their office is located in New Courts opposite Hotel President. Their 24-hour helpline number is
( tollfree) 1968 ( located in Chandigarh)
He answered the councilors’ questions on accessing these free services and provided his office’s phone numbers. One councilor asked for education in villages. Judge Jaapinder said they do rural awareness camps and are happy to attend if councilors organize them.
He was happy to speak in the detail on a specific legal topic at a councilors’ meeting
Next Advocate Ashok Sharma of the DLSA educated the audience on rights of PWD ( persons with disability) per the RPWD Act 2016
The 21 disabilities covered under this act were copied and distributed among the audience.
Then Dr Navneet Bhullar, founder of NGO APAAR located in PIMS, Jalandhar told the gathering about the burden of mental illnesses and the shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists worldwide. Laypersons can be trained to manage the burden of mental illness and there is a Goa NGO called Sangath which is doing just that.
Society has created thorns for the mentally less able and other PWD.
She asked for a pledge to help from the audience and all municipal councilors raised their hands in pledge.
APAAR was founded on 25 March 2014, APAAR ( Altering perceptions of Autism and Assisting in Rehabilitation ) is a registered NGO based in PIMS, Jalandhar.
We work to improve the quality of life of adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities. These young men and women have been marginalized by society and sometimes by their own families.
They do not have choices or rights and face discrimination socially and economically. The goal of each human is the pursuit of happiness.
At APAAR, we aim to break barriers to a contented life for these young men and women – training them in ADLs helping to employ them in our sheltered workshop and , when possible, in the community.
APAAR ‘s work includes :
1. Awareness and education of health workers and lay society to give persons with intellectual disability a chance
2. APAAR’s sheltered workshop treats persons 16 or older- trains them in activities of daily living ( toilet training/ toothbrushing/ dressing) and social skills
3. The sheltered workshop works on prevocational and vocational training with recreational opportunities and community outings
4. Those clients who can work outside the sheltered workshop are trained for the open board 8th and 10th class exams so they could get reserved government jobs
5. APAAR plans to start snack shops or kiosks on the lines of what other a similar organization is doing in Chandigarh with collaboration with Verka or Amul where PWD ( intellectually disabled)
Dr. Bhullar called upon the councilors to help with awareness in families with affected members ( mental illness and intellectual disabilities ) and with funding and transport as APAAR has limited resources and the need to fill the mental health care is enormous.
A few councilors showed interest, but many left early, saying they have to attend a funeral.
Dr. Bhullar could not finish her talk and plans to attend future municipal councilors’ meetings to keep trying to make them aware of their constituents’ legal rights to treatment and indeed basic human rights.
APAAR pamphlets, UDID card information copies and Dr. Bhullar’s visiting cards were distributed to councilors who remained. She spoke personally to a couple of them later who were interested in helping www.apaar.org.
Balraj Thakur,Lakhbir Sing,Reeta Sharma,Jagdish Dakoha,Onkar Rajiv Tikka,Minto,Shyam Singh Khera, Mandeep,Amrik Bagdi, Gian Chand, Prabh Dayal, Bappi Chadha and others were also present on the occasion.