Volume 3 Issue 8 - April 15, 2005

National Legal Literacy Mission launched

DNIS News Network - National Legal Literacy Mission, launched in March, aims to educate underprivileged persons, including disabled people, about law, legal terminology and legal rights.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh launched the first National Legal Literacy Mission in India on 6 March, in Delhi, this year to ensure legal empowerment of all sections of society. This Mission is aimed at educating minority communities, especially downtrodden citizens and women, through awareness and free legal aid. The Mission was established so that people could understand laws and judgements. The Prime Minister said that an attempt would be made to simplify the language of the law so that anyone would be able to comprehend it.

The motto of the Mission -- From Ignorance to Legal Empowerment -- was unveiled by the Prime Minister with Chief Justice Ramesh Chandra Lahoti and Law and Justice Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj. Justice Lahoti said when citizens, particularly marginalised and underprivileged groups, knew what the law had to offer, they would be able to recognise, and challenge, injustices forcefully. The first step towards knowledge of the law was legal literacy.

Soon after the launch of the Mission, a startling truth came to the fore. This five-year Mission had no funds allocated for it in the Budget! Chief Justice Lahoti said that the Mission would make do with part of the money allocated to the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

An official from the Press Information Bureau said that the mission will be carried out in each state, and funds have already been allocated from the Union Budget. All underprivileged sections of society, including disabled people, will be catered to.

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