This mantra was reiterated at ‘Rights and awareness’ workshop

The principal of Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, Prakash Kanavi, has said that many people, especially those belonging to weaker sections, were not aware of their rights.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of a two-day workshop on “Rights and awareness” co-organised by the Kannada University and G. Shankar Government Women’s First Grade College (GWFGC) here on Thursday.

Mr. Kanavi said that people should understand the reason behind the rights accorded to them. This would help them discharge their duties in a better manner. Human Rights, and the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution were the rights enjoyed by the people.

Right to Life

Mr. Kanavi said that the Right to Life included the right to live in a wholesome environment. Unscientific limestone mining, which had been going on near Dehra Dun in 1980, had created many environmental problems.

It had been a violation of the Right to life. An NGO had written to the Supreme Court, which had treated the letter as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), he said.

This had facilitated the checking of environmental pollution there, he said.

Mr. Kanavi said that today people were being evicted in the name of development. But in the Olga Tellis versus Mumbai Municipal Corporation case of 1985, the Supreme Court had ruled that the right to earn one’s livelihood was a part of the Right to Life.

A case had been filed against the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, which had planned to evict pavement dwellers to facilitate development, he said.

The Supreme Court had said that if the pavement dwellers were to be evicted, they should be provided with an alternative source of livelihood, he said.

Right to Equality

The Right to Equality granted people equal opportunities and facilities without discrimination. An accused was not a criminal. An arrested person had to be produced before a judge within 24 hours of his arrest. An accused should know his rights, he said.

Similarly, people should be aware of their rights as consumers.

The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) was creating legal awareness among people and other organisations should follow suit. The DLSA was providing free legal aid but many poor people did not know about this. The DLSA facilitated the disposal of cases through Lok Adalats, Mr. Kanavi said.

Kiran M. welcomed the gathering, A. Sridhar delivered the introductory remarks, and GWFGC principal Ashwathamma presided over the function.

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