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           Overseas Indians Legal Solutions (OILS)

Indian Diaspora was a venue where very many Overseas Indians used to meet and discuss the problems that faced them. Nothing substantial had been done by the Government at the Centre or in the State.

In the Delhi Conference, where the Department of NORKA (Non Resident Keralites Association) formation was announced, the only tangible service announced was expediting the dispatch of coffins of the Keralites to their anguish and anxious homes. This programme was sincerely appreciated by the audience.

“The programme for the dead is good; but is there any good programmes for the living?” was a question pertinently and forcefully raised in the conference. The Government will consider the necessary action – was a pleasing assurance of the Minister.

In course of time some tangible steps were taken in that direction. Satheesh Namboothiripad attached to the office of the President of India had a wider vision of things. When he was made the Secretary of NORKA-ROOTS, there was intense activity in different directions.

One was about the Legal Help to be afforded to the Overseas Indians in relation to proceedings and problems in India. After protracted discussions, an agreement was signed between NORKA-ROOTS represented by Satheesh Namboothiripad and Niyama Sameeksha acting through its Chairman Justice K. Sukumaran.

The activities were useful in a large measure. The Trichur Unit could attend to large number of persons in that region noted for the concentration of migrants to Gulf countries.

There was however one serious limitation in this arrangement. As NORKA-ROOTS was a Government organization, legal action against the Government and its institutions was prohibited under the terms of the Agreement. This had caused some disappointments among the Overseas Indians. Many of them with grievances against Government and its organizations could not be dealt with under the NORKA-NISA arrangement.

Minister M.M.Hassan had an active and personal interest in the cause of Overseas Indians. He was responsible for the appointment of a Committee with Justice K.Sukumaran as Chairman to suggest the amendments needed for the Emigration Act, 1983. These activities, however, considerably obstructed by the lack of interest and cooperation from the higher beaurocracy.

A political change in the State saw a different cabinet composition. Minister Hassan ceased to hold the portfolio. The tempo of the NORKA-NISA activities came to a halt in the subsequent period.

The Central Government did not take any concrete or time-bound action on the report of Justice K.Sukumaran Commission.

Reports about the suffering of the migrants population were on the increase. Though the media did take special interests in exposing the problems of Overseas Indians, no tangible establishments to deal with the legal problems of Overseas Indians could be formulated.

The meetings of the Non-Resident Indians raised issues in their conferences. Very many Pravasi Organizations operated in different parts of the Kerala State. No coordinated effort was seen in the area of legal problems confronting the Overseas Indians.

Some of the organizations of Overseas Indians like Federation of Kerala Association of North America had imaginative idea on this issue. FOKANA indicated its intention to collaborate with Niyama Sameeksha for providing assistance to the needy segments of Overseas Indians.

After detailed discussions with various persons interested in the welfare of Overseas Indians, it was felt desirable to have a Central Organization with units in different parts of world. OILS (Overseas Indians Legal Solutions) has been conceived of in the above circumstances.

Unlike the earlier arrangements, the present one will provide legal services to needy persons, levying a reasonable fee in return for the services rendered.