National Lawyers Forum of Religious And Priests(NLFRP) of India met from 25 to 27 November 2022 at Manresa House, Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand.
The meet was organised by the Jharkhand Lawyers forum, inviting all the Religious and Priests who are lawyers and social activists. 110 Priests and religious participated.
Many scholars, academicians, sitting and retiring judges, politicians, Bishops, Priests, and Religious men and women who are themselves lawyers and working for the common people, along with other like-minded people, spoke on “Prophetic Response of the Church to the cries of the People.”
The main objective of this forum is to bring all the religious and Priest lawyers to a single platform to address the concerns of the people with whom they work in the missions, with a view to help the marginalized and poor people through their interventions.
Father Mahendra P. Tigga SJ of the Jharkhand state lawyers’ forum welcomed all the dignitaries to the gathering. Some of the eminent personalities who worked tirelessly in the legal field were honored. Father PD Mathew, Father KM Joseph, Father Mahendra Tigga, and Father Ignatius Minj are some of them.
Father Dr. PD Mathew, the Convenor of the National Lawyers Forum, gave a presidential address and Dr. Keshva Rao Vurrakula the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL), gave a keynote address on the Right to justice and Indian Constitution: issues, challenges, and the road map ahead.
After the keynote address, there was a panel discussion on “Present socio-political scenario: challenges affecting the mission of the Church: Way out ahead”.
The Government advocate of Jharkhand High Court Jayant Franklin Toppo shed light on “Safeguarding our land and institutions in the context of present political interventions. He enlightened the participants about the present challenging situation of the legal system of our country and also awakened us about the improper documentation in different matters of our congregations and institutions.
In his homily, Bishop Theodor Mascarenhas, the Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi and Apostolic Administrator of Daltonganj Diocese, highlighted the theme “Prophetic Response of the Church to the Cries of the people”.
Bishop Vincent Barwa, the Bishop of Simdega shared the theme ‘Response towards the people of God; during the holy Eucharistic celebration on the second day. Bishop said, “In no way we should deny justice to anyone.”
Father KM Joseph SJ, an advocate in the Patna High Court gave a session on “Future of our Educational Institutions with respect to Right to Education and National Education Policy” while Sister Jeena Jacob SJC, an advocate in Karnataka High Court highlighted understanding of Child abuse and Human Trafficking. There was a lively Panel Discussion after the session on “Issues, challenges faced by the Adivasis and strategies for empowerment.”
The group visited the place of the Late Father Stan Swamy SJ (one who gave his life for the rights of the Tribals of Jharkhand). Fr. George Monipally a social activist gave a session and shared his personal experience with Fr. Stan Swamy SJ and how he fought for the rights of the Tribals in connection with the truth of the Tribals of Jharkhand with respect to the forest laws.
The National and State Lawyers forums elected the new office bearers and discussed future plans for action. The new office bearers of the National Lawyers Forum are Fr Santhanam SJ (Convenor), Sr. Jeena Valiaparampil SJC (Co-Convenor), Sr. Flory Menezez SCC (Secretary), Sr. Helen Tresa CHF (Treasurer), Fr. Mahendra Peter Tigga SJ (Executive Member).
National Lawyers Forum for Priests and Religious was established in 2017 and registered as a trust in 2019.
This Forum is becoming strengthened year by year with membership and striving to help the neglected litigants. The focus is to bring justice to the last, least and lost of the society who are at the periphery.
Once a year all the members of NLFRP meet in a different place and have a lot of input sessions as well as make concrete plans to reach out to the people in need of justice in various forms.
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