युक्ती हीने विचारे तु धर्महानि प्रजायते

Legal Aid Camp: Independent thought & Independence from Domestic Violence

The NUJS Legal Aid Society, in collaboration with SWAYAM, organised the first Legal Aid Camp since the reopening of the University on the 15th of January, 2023. The theme of the camp was “Independent Thought and Independence from Domestic Violence”. The camp aimed to provide legal aid and assistance to women stakeholders in the Metiabruz locality. There was a Nukaad Natak that aimed to raise awareness on issues pertaining to Domestic Violence and Women’s Rights. We invited a panel of guests, including lawyers, academicians and local activists. A public speaking/poetry competition was organized on the same theme, with various local school students participating in Hindi, Bengali, English and Urdu. The lawyers and volunteers were available throughout the duration of the camp to assist the various stakeholders in need of assistance.
The camp was in collaboration with SWAYAM, a leading NGO in Kolkata that champions women’s rights. The main objective of the camp was the emancipation of the marginalised society, with a particular focus on women who were victims of gender-based violence and oppression. Among the guests were Ms. Swati Sanyal, the co-ordinator and activist associated with SWAYAM, who has been working in this field for over the course of twenty years now, Ms. Saheli Chakraborty, Research Fellow and Faculty NUJS, as well as, Advocate Roohi Sultana, the principal of SK Foundation. The panel also consisted of two lawyers, Ms. Rashmi Bothra Singhee, an advocate at the Calcutta High Court who has been involved in drafting and appearing in a number of public interest litigation (PILs) on environmental issues and regulatory issues and Mr. Tarun Chaterjee, senior advocate at the Calcutta High Court and the State Head of the West Bengal POCSO Panel who was available for any legal assistance that the participants might have needed. Dr. Sanjit Kumar Chakraborty and Dr. Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan were two professors from NUJS who helped.

The camp was attended by over 200 women, and more than 60 students from various parts of Kolkata participated in the public speaking/poetry competition. Through the competition, numerous girls from underprivileged and backward communities got a space and encouragement to speak and were able to share their own personal experiences as well as those of people around them. The day started with the presentation of the Nukkad Naatak, followed by lunch for all the people attending, and then the public speaking/poetry competition began. After the competition, the results were announced, and the day was con concluded with prize distribution. Pamplets of LAS were also distributed. More than 30 students volunteered from NUJS and participated actively in the organisation of the camp and raising awareness on the issues surrounding domestic violence.