Access to legal right in India: The core developmental challenge in Rural India
The constitution of India implicitly grants the right to legal awareness to its citizens. Paradoxically, the current state of affair with respect to knowledge about the legal framework and the basic rights associated with it, particularly in rural parts of India, can be described as appalling. With the villagers having meek to no awareness about things that they are legally entitled for, they often fail to stand up for their own cause and are forced to face unreasonable outcomes.
Various factors such as illiteracy, geographical diversification, immense population, socio-cultural barriers, expensive legal-aid, etc, have made access to legal right in rural India extremely difficult. Lack of legal awareness also act as a hindrance to several other socio –economic causes such as population control, health and hygiene maintenance, employment of marginalized sections, etc. If India must progress, overcoming this core developmental challenge is a must.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the women knew about the Hindu Succession Act which makes daughters equal co-parceners in family property just like a son? An awareness about this law in addition to a ban on sex-determination could prove so significant towards prevention of female foeticide. Also, if the girls knew about the authorities that they could approach in case of forced child marriage, they could save themselves against its heinous consequences. Innumerable land and property disputes could be won in favour of the poor farmers if they knew their basic legal entitlements and didn’t make mistakes.
The need of the hour is to develop legal literacy amongst our villages. Being well-versed with the current scenario, Spandan Society had taken a step forward and looks forward to help villagers stand and fight for their legal rights. The society, in collaboration with the most capable legal advocates of India, sets up periodic legal camps within villages. These camps target to spread awareness about legal entitlement to the villagers and help them overcome their current challenges. Topics covered include legal right to girl education, how to file an FIR, what can one do if the authorities refuse to file an FIR, rules and rights related to imprisonment, how can one approach an NGO to fight their rights, mutual consent settlements, and much more. In addition to creating a generic awareness about the law and rightful entitlements, the camps also aim to help the villagers towards resolution of their ongoing legal cases through advice from professionals; absolutely free of cost.