Why increased awareness is important to establish a robust and free legal aid system

There are not many people in India who are fully aware of the country’s legal system. Limited knowledge of constitutional rights is the result of economic and social backwardness. The services of legal counsel are not accessible to them due to this helpless situation prevailing in many areas across different states.

In a bid to provide free legal aid to deserving sections of the society, the Indian parliament has come up with a Directive Principle viz. Article 39-A by 42nd Amendment of Constitution in 1976. Access to free legal aid is a constitutional right and not just a modern concept.

Similarly, access to justice is a basic human right conferred by the common law. Preservation of the rule of law is necessary for the existence of the society. It implies giving free legal aid to the poor, who cannot afford the services of a lawyer, making it possible for them to seek justice, which is otherwise not possible.

The aim is to provide equal justice to the strong, as well as the weaker sections of the society. The laws of all the countries across the continent guarantee free trials for those who come in contact with the judicial systems.

Over the years, a number of steps have been taken to achieve more responsive and effective judicial system. Legal awareness can empower people to demand justice and effective remedies at all levels. Illiteracy, poverty and unconsciousness are the biggest problems in India. However, nowadays the youth is inclined towards learning the laws, legal aid and rights of the citizens.

A number of young students across the country are pursuing law in different institutes like Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Law College, Pune. This is an encouraging sign, not only for those students, but for the nation at large. Each and every citizen of the country deserves to know about his rights, making it easier for him to approach the law and seek justice, whenever required.

The delivery system for legal aid is not that efficient in our country. It is high time for the authorities to assist these young students and lawyers to campaign and deliver free legal aid. It is not possible for the legal aid movement to achieve its goal, unless the people are not aware of their rights. Thus, the only path to a robust free legal aid system is an increased awareness among the masses.

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