Written by: Palak Chhabra || Graphics by: Khushi Arora
Legal consciousness is defined by Ewick and Silbey as the process by which people make sense of their experiences by relying on legal categories and concepts. It is also known as legal consciousness. It refers to the idea of being aware of the laws and regulations, promoting legal culture, participation in the legal formation of law and rules regulating the country.
The topic of youth legal consciousness is very important due to the need to increase the level of legal culture in different parts of the world. Legal awareness is an integral part of the legal culture evolving the country. It means promoting legal awareness so that the youth becomes privy to more than rights and duties.
Embracing the idea of legal consciousness also means bringing out current major issues like human rights, child labor, etc. Major issues and crimes are not highlighted and brought up just because people are not legally aware and updated.
Legal awareness is very crucial so that people could draw a line of distinction about the rights and wrongs, justice and injustice. Since tolerating injustice is equal to committing a crime. Youth is the pillar of any nation and if this same ‘YOUTH’ closes their eyes pretending not to see the injustice happening around, then what do we expect in the future.
STEPS TAKEN/TO BE TAKEN
The government of different regimes has taken up steps for enhancing among the people the knowledge of the legal culture and their participation in the formation of laws, but unfortunately, it has not been brought into action the way it is truly desired to be.
Some part of our nation is still not aware of their legal rights because some lack education while some are backward.
The other part of our society is the women of our nation who lack legal education. Some who are educated are more confident and updated on what their rights can fetch them while some who are lacking the basic education are the ones devoid of the legal benefits.
However, there are exceptions in both cases. For instance, how many of us know that without being accompanied by a female cop, a girl/woman cannot be enquired after dusk? I bet none of us are even aware of the fact that all women are legally entitled to receive free legal assistance in case of any disputes.
As a citizen of the nation, it is important for everyone to know the laws as much as it is important to know the rights so that no one could cheat us by unfair means. Legal literacy is the cornerstone of any democracy, it acts as a catalyst for what the elected representatives are doing and where the nation is at.
The education system of our country teaches all the theoretical subjects but practical knowledge and information are not even a part of the curriculum. Discipline and academics are cool but growing up we never knew that apart from literacy, how important it is to be financially independent and abled.
Being a true citizen of the country, we must not only be legally empowered but also be helpful to someone who is not that aware and must impart them the right knowledge to seek redressal from all kinds of exploitation, from the right forum.
Following is a list of rights we all must be aware of:
Article 24(1) states: Women have the right to full and equal protection by the law, and have the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their gender or marital status.
Article 15(1) states as follows: This Article guarantees Right to Equality, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.”
Article 19 states as follows: This gives the citizens (which include both women, men, and third gender) the Right to Freedom, which among other things guarantees freedom of speech and expression, freedom of movement, freedom of practising trade and profession etc.
Article 32 states as follows: This article gives the right to us to seek constitutional remedies through the Supreme Court of India for violation of Fundamental Rights mainly.
MOVEMENTS FOR CHANGE
People still remember Tata tea’s ‘Jaago re’ which encouraged people to question government authorities, stand against corruption, etc. Did it work? All these little ads, slogans, movements, etc do make a lot of difference as it might not seem so.
After the ‘Jaago re’ campaign, the number of people between age groups 18-25 who applied for election cards increased substantially. Just like advertising increases sales. Comparing a social awareness campaign to a product or service may not seem effective, but in reality, these movements and campaigns have proved to be a change. Social media also serve as a medium to spread awareness and facts to all.
Legal awareness which is also called Public legal education is the empowerment of individuals regarding subjects involving legal assistance. Promoting consciousness of legal culture, participation in the formation of laws and regulations is different from the education imparted to students in law school seeking a degree in law (which is often simply called “legal education”) and the continuing professional education of lawyers and judges, public legal education is principally aimed at people who are not lawyers, judges, or degree-seeking law students.