Legal literacy means making people aware of their legal rights, the term ‘law’ evokes a variety of reaction and responses. The development sector, at least in India, it on the one hand extremely vigorous in court action, but on the other hand, minimally informed about the legal system. The myth surrounding law and legal terminology is perhaps the biggest reason for pending litigation and lack of enforcement measures, especially in rural areas, legal literacy is commonly understood as knowing the primary level in law. When citizen, particularly marginalized or underprivileged groups, know what the law has to offer them, they can recognize and challenge injustices much more forcefully.
The level and spread of legal education has not only been an important pre-condition for sustained economic growth, but it has also played a critical facilitative role in the demographic, social and political transition of different societies. Creation, application and adaption of new technologies lower fertility, better nutrition and health status of children, reproductive health and empowerment of women all have visible linkages with legal education attainment.
Need of legal literacy in India
Around 35% of India population are illiterate majority of Indians live in villages. Bulk of the illiterate is also in the rural areas, where social and economic barriers play an important role in keeping the lowest strata of society illiterate. Literacy is an indispensable means for effective social and participation, contributing to human development and poverty reduction. Even those who are literate are helpless and confused when there is a violation or infringement of a right enforceable in law. We are still in a country where millions of people live in condition of poverty, with million living in condition where they are without the most basic of their needs fulfilled. Unfortunately, the class is far away from achieving many of the ideals laid down in our constitution. And it is not only the constitution. A number of statutory provision have been made allowing for social welfare scheme and other legislative measure to alleviate the vast deprivation in our society.
Government programme alone, however well intentioned, may not be able to break barriers built over the centuries. Major social reformation efforts are required to bring about the change in the rural scenario.
Article of the constitution of India gives a directive the states to ensure that the operation of the legal system does promote justice on a basis of equal opportunity. It directs the states to provide free legal aid with the aid of suitable legislation or schemes. It also directs it too ensure that opportunities for securing justices are not denied to any citizen for reason of economic or other disabilities. If people are aware of their rights and duties, the delivery of justice and balancing of various interests in a society become so much easier. Increase in legal literacy ultimately develop into a transparent and accountable government truly based on the ‘Rule of law. A fundamental postulate of our Criminal Procedure Code is that ‘ignorance of law is no excuse’
Legal literacy mean making people aware of their rights, then by making the people literate, we would essentially be taking the first step in empowering them to fight for their rights. Our society is filled with various categories of person whose rights are violated on a daily basis and these person are unable to take any action to remedy this situation simply because they aren’t even aware that they are assured certain rights.
The aim of legal literacy is to familiarize the weaker sections of society with their rights, their scope and also provide them with information required for the assertion of such rights so that they may be able to take action and bring a change in their circumstances. It is only possible when such comprehensive education is given, that legal literacy can be said to have been meaningful. Once the deprived are made legally literate in this manner, we can confidently believe that we are one step closer to achieving the goals that our constitution has laid out for us. This is because an improvement in legal literacy will translate into the improvement of the financial status of the people, which will take us closer to social justice and equality of opportunity.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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