National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has plans to recommend to the State governments to take steps to establish Legal Services Cadet Corps (LCC) in High Schools on the lines of NCC and NSS to increase legal literacy in the country, said U.Sarath Chandran, Member-Secretary, NALSA.
Talking to The Hindu during the sidelines of a seminar, ‘Access to Justice: What it Means to a Child, Woman and Senior Citizen' held here by Society for Community Organisation Trust on Wednesday, Mr. Sarath Chandran said that establishment of LCC in schools along with the existing (at a few states) Legal Literacy Clubs would help in the growth of legal literacy. Here the LCC students have to watch from within their own community, people who are vulnerable and need access to legal services.
There could be reasons (political, social and economic) which prevent them from getting access to legal service where their actionable entitlements could be denied. LCC students can find these cases of injustice and help them avail legal services at Taluk Legal Services Authority or District Legal Services Authority.
Legal literary clubs are there in many schools, for eg Kerala has it in 200 to 300 schools, and schools in Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra too have LCC. When asked whether this could be successful in bringing more number of marginalized people to avail legal services, he said that now we have regular meetings with the National Executive Chairman, NALSA through video conferencing who would be interacting with us on improving our performances.
Sarat Chandran in his inaugural address said that more than 90 per cent of the population is ignorant of the existing laws and because of that they don't know what to do in a crisis situation and this in fact is disempowering them apart from the mental inhibitions which are a resultant effect. “Empower the disempowered through the power of law is the motto of this year's action plan of NALSA.”, so NALSA has made this year a year of rights of children, women and senior citizens.
Ajmal Khan, Advocate, Madras High Court, Madurai, quoted the Enactments of Justinian, “Ignorance of fact is excusable but ignorance of law is not.” He recalled how SOCO Trust organised a seminar way back in 1984 that helped him and other law students get sensitised on laws related to women and children.
Mr. Khan talked about laws like Domestic Violence Act, Immoral Trafficking Act, Right to Education Act, Dowry Prohibition Act and Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act.