Members of the Indian community have been warned against hiring lawyers without consulting their embassy. Indian Ambassador Dr Mohan Kumar yesterday said scores of his nationals have been duped by lawyers, who take their money without following through with the cases in Bahrain’s courts.
He said the embassy has a dedicated Bahraini lawyer who has been tasked to handle cases for Indian nationals for free, including labour, criminal or civil-related disputes.
He also said a list of trusted and qualified lawyers will be drawn up in the next few weeks to help those who do not want to deal with attorneys appointed by the Indian Embassy.
“Unfortunately, members of the Indian community choose lawyers based on word of mouth rather than knowing them,” he said.
“We have our embassy lawyer who is a Bahraini woman and legal services are provided for free through us.
“We have received complaints that some lawyers assigned to handle cases have not shown up in court or presented defence papers leading to losses. This could have been averted if Indians consulted us.”
Dr Kumar was speaking at the monthly Open House held at the embassy in Adliya after receiving complaints from 45 labourers.
He said some of his nationals were being “cheated” because they did not know about the legal system in Bahrain.
“We hope that with more awareness about the legal process, things would improve,” he added.
Meanwhile, a handbook containing information about Bahrain’s laws, rules and regulations was officially launched at the embassy yesterday.
The Employee Handbook has been compiled by lawyers V K Thomas and Wafa Al Ansari, and is published in English and Malayalam.
It aims to target expatriate workers and explains different rules of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, immigration, Pension Fund Authority and other regulations.
It will be distributed for free to Indian workers through the embassy and other clubs and associations.
“We are the biggest expatriate community in Bahrain with 300,000 nationals, from different ages and professions, and we have a target to reach 60 per cent of them,” said Dr Kumar.
“A lot can’t read, access our website or social media and for that we want volunteers to help explain it (handbook) verbally to them.
“We don’t have a date set for when we would achieve our goal because it is an ongoing process, especially with legislation and regulations changing regularly.”
He said he hoped that members of the community would share the booklets amongst them to reach a bigger number.
“We will have it in a PDF format on our website too, besides studying a possible smartphone application, but that’s a future step when more get accustomed to smartphones and accessing services online,” he added.
The embassy, KIMS Bahrain Medical Centre, State Bank of India, New India Assurance and Gulf Madhyamam have sponsored the printing of the book.