“The statute book is a closed book for the common man, and to add insult to injury, there is the fictitious doctrine that ignorance of law is no excuse.”
– Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer
For a common man in a country like India, seeking justice is a hectic journey due to the dearth of legal knowledge and the unavailability of affordable justice. In a legal system where every person is supposed to be acquainted with the law, it is lamentable that few are aware of their own rights and duties. Such a deplorable state of affairs has stimulated various legal aid and awareness activities all of which aim to reach the goal of an informed and aware citizenry. The institutions imparting legal education play a vital role in achieving this objective by not only educating the students, but also by working towards for the welfare of the society. Keeping this as a foundation, Legal Aid & Awareness Committee [“LAAC”] was started by the faculty and students of National Law University, Jodhpur with the mandate of imparting legal awareness and providing legal aid.
Since its inception, the LAAC has been discharging its role under the patronage of Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Dr. Poonam Pradhan Saxena and the able guidance of Prof. I. P. Massey (Dean, Faculty of Law). Established as the Centre for Legal Aid and Social Services, it initially focused on prisons across Jodhpur in collaboration with the CHRI Initiative for under-trial prisoners. Gradually, due to an increased understanding of socio-economic conditions, the LAAC has undertaken initiatives aimed at spreading legal awareness and improving the quality of life of the less privileged sections of society by helping them attain their rights under various socially beneficial legislations. The LAAC seeks to generate a respectful attitude amongst people toward fulfilling their social and legal obligations.
In furtherance of its motto, the LAAC and its members work towards imparting practical knowledge and information regarding the basic legal rights and remedies to the masses. Furthermore, the LAAC also intends to act as an intermediary between advocates across the state of Rajasthan and those requiring legal assistance. The Committee has been working on various research projects to evaluate the standard of legal awareness and implementation of welfare legislations along with securing the rights of women so as to make gender justice a reality. In addition to this, the culture of questioning the implementation of these laws by using the judicial machinery is being promoted by the LAAC among the students of National Law University Jodhpur. Forwarding the smart village initiative of the Government of India, the LAAC has adopted a village, Surpura, and is extensively working towards developing the basic infrastructure and public facilities in the village. The main aims of the Committee are:
To impart practical knowledge and create awareness regarding basic legal rights and remedies provided under various laws.
- To act as an intermediary between a layman and the opportunities of free legal aid services present across the country.
- To facilitate better implementation of legislations and governmental schemes.
- To work towards securing rights of women in general and under the social beneficial legislations.
- To analyse and report on socio-economic condition of various communities in the country.
- Development of village Surpura under the Smart Village Initiative.