Editor’s note: Success may not always be about your own self. It may at times be fulfilling to act for a social cause in which you believe. Even if one can’t provide monetary support to a social cause that you believe, he/she may consider giving some of his/her daily time to support the cause for ‘Time is Money’. A lawyer must develop a habit of ‘giving’ before ‘receiving’. It is in this view that we have included in this post in our “Success lesson” series (See here , here and here).
The post has been contributed by Ms. Chandni Bedi. She is a social reformer with more than 14 years of experience working with a non-government organization, Navjyoti India Foundation, New Delhi. She is currently the Director of Rural Management and Training Institute in the organization. She is a noted speaker and has delivered sessions at various national and international forums. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Need to simplify the law for a layman
A troubling thought, isn’t it? You are trying to read legal documents, legislations and policies. But it all looks like a foreign language as you try and decipher its meaning. So you read and read again but still do not get anywhere.
At least that has happened to me. I wonder if I am not able to understand the law and those sections and articles, how will a woman or a man, who is not so literate, in a village understand the benefits of our Indian legal system. And if they won’t be able to understand the law how will they exercise their rights?
Something is wrong, isn’t it? Can we not convert the expensive law (that’s what the impression is) to affordable? Complexity in simplicity? Rhetoric to reality? Disunited to collaborative?
How can law students help?
- Ask yourself this powerful question
Why is there a disconnect in theory and practice? Most of the times, the laws in books are not being executed. You can pick any of the Act and see its implementation in reality. Go beyond classrooms and courts. Volunteer with NGOs. Stories on the ground are completely different than what is practiced in the mock sessions in the Universities. Read, research and observe. Identify the strengths and the gaps in the delivery of justice. You can propose amendments to them. Or start writing and talking about it. Begin somewhere.
- Get the complete picture
Each case that you meet at the grassroots is a story in itself. You cannot work in isolation. When you compile all the stories, you get a complete picture of our legal system. You can propose reforms to it. Work in a more collaborative manner with various departments. Let’s say you are working on human rights and one of the basic rights is ‘Right to food’. Work with various stakeholders to understand schemes like mid-day meal scheme, the public distribution system, and Anganwadi system. A need may arise to use Right to Information while implementing Right to food.
- Make legal aid accessible
Ever heard of the walk-in-legal clinic, the way there are medical clinics? No? Then why not set up one in every village or a community. A legal clinic where people can walk in, ask for legal advice, get help in documentation, where they are referred and connected to the appropriate office. You can also use this clinic to impart awareness by developing easy to understand legal literacy materials.
4. Reach out to the vulnerable
Evaluate yourself how much time can you devote to ‘community lawyering’. And work towards it. All the students studying law can take this up as a movement in villages, in their surrounding areas reaching out to the marginalized and the underprivileged. We all can be contributors to the transparency and accountability required in our legal system and governance.
You can bring the reforms!
So, you are thinking if you can do it? Yes, you can.