- What is Access to Justice?
Access to Justice is the ability of people to seek and obtain a remedy through formal or informal institutions of justice for grievances. There is no access to justice where citizens (especially marginalized groups) fear the system, see it as unfamiliar, and do not access it; where the justice system is financially inaccessible; where individuals have no lawyers; where they do not have information or knowledge of rights; or where there is a weak justice system. Access to justice involves legal protection, legal awareness, legal aid and counsel, adjudication and enforcement.
- What is the Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programme?
Since 2012, A2J Division of Department of Justice (DoJ), Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India has been implementing Access to Justice Scheme in North Eastern States including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and in UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Major focus of these programmes are on Legal Empowerment of community, dissemination of simplified Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials in local languages and dialects and capacity development of Panchayati Raj Functionaries and Village Chiefs on formal justice delivery system. First phase of the A2J-NEJK Scheme got completed in 2017 and second phase of the Scheme completed in March 2021.
The Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programme aims to empower the poor and disadvantaged sections of society to seek and demand justice services. The Programme also seeks to improve the institutional capacities of key justice service providers to enable them to effectively serve the poor and disadvantaged.
- What is the Duration of the Programme?
DoJ has formulated a scheme on Access to Justice named ‘Designing Innovating Solutions and Holistic Access to Justice (DISHA)’ to be implemented during the period of 2021 to 2026. DISHA aims to merge different Access to Justice (North East & Jammu and Kashmir) programmes being implemented by DoJ while simultaneously upscaling them to all India level. One of the key objectives of DISHA is implementation of Pan India Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programme.
- What are the Broad Objectives of the Programme?
With the overall objective of increasing access to justice for disadvantaged sections the Programme has the following broad deliverables:
- Use of Technology for enhanced delivery of legal literacy, its Knowledge Products and implementation of Innovative and Holistic ideas.
- Mainstreaming legal literacy through building and forging partnerships across Ministries and allied Departments, Institutions, Schools etc.
- Capacity Building and Utilization of Existing Grassroot/frontline Workers/ Volunteers.
- Developing of Indicators to measure Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness in India.
- Concurrent Evaluation and Assessment of Legal Literacy and Legal Awareness Programmes.