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570 legal awareness programmes will be held with the overarching objective to make women aware of the rights and protections available to them under various laws.
A campaign for 'Empowering Women through Legal Awareness' was launched by Supreme Court judge and Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) Justice NV Ramana, on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day.
The campaign is a joint initiative of NALSA and the National Commission for Women (NCW).
Under the project, legal literacy programmes for women will be carried out in 285 districts in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Further, 570 legal awareness programmes will be held with the overarching objective to make women aware of the rights and protections available to them under various laws.
During the event, Justice Ramana opined that the source of inequity within our society often lies in the lack of awareness and resources to take advantage of the laws. This is what often prevents women from taking advantage of progressive polices, he added.
In order to tackle this issue, broad-based awareness campaigns must be parallely undertaken along with policy changes, Justice Ramana urged.
He also spoke on the reasons for discrimination against women, which included patriarchal ideology, rampant tradition, and norms. However, with the liberalization and rejuvenation of women empowerment movements, the status of women has seen a change, said Justice Ramana. He further opined that with economic independence and education, women have a better opportunity to compete with men in any field.
"There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a great revolution in the history of women. The evidence is everywhere; the voice of women is increasingly heard in Parliament and courts."
Justice Ramana further noted that the legal services authorities has been carrying out various legal aid programmes in every district of the country. He said that about 1.96 lakh legal awareness programmes were held in 2019, which covered 2.68 crore people.
He stated that in the previous year, assistance was provided to 14.27 lakh persons through legal services clinics.
Apart from this, 2.65 lakh women were provided free representation before courts and tribunals, the Supreme Court judge added.
Justice Ramana further said that women are playing a significant role in the legal aid movement. He cited data showing that 12,155 female panel lawyers and 24,000 paralegal volunteers were enrolled across the country, and that they have been majorly contributing in efforts towards legal awareness and legal assistance.
Apart from the launch of the campaign, Justice Ramana also released NALSA’s 'Handbook on laws relating to Women'. The NALSA Handbook covers laws relating to women in a simplified language.
[Read the press release here]