The committee’s quintessential objective is to deeply engage with the society by creating legal awareness and providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. The society aims at conducting awareness camps, seminars and conferences to disseminate legal information among the public. It also seeks to establish a network with various Non-governmental Organisations, other law colleges and government bodies to work towards the society and uphold the principle of “Access to justice for all.” The committee strives to undertake various research projects to improve the conditions for the disadvantageous groups of the society. Thus, the Legal Aid society performs preventive, remedial, activist and reformative functions.
The Society is currently constituted of 15 members, which includes the three batch bearers. Batch bearer positions of the Society are as follows – a) Coordinator, b) Associate Coordinator, and c) Treasurer.
The objective of the Clinic is to not only expose students to the practical side of the law, but also to provide legal advice to those who are not able to afford legal services. Although the Clinic does not represent clients in the legal forum, we are often able to guide people in need of assistance towards a forum that is most appropriate for their case, as well as provide them with the relevant legal context.We received a considerable number of legal queries this year, and we have been successful in providing legal assistance in the form of counselling and advice to the person who approached us for the same.
2. Policy-based activism:
Trans Policy – We prepared a Trans Policy for the University in furtherance of the UGC mandate issued post the landmark judgement of NALSA v Union of India.
RTE Project – We have been working on an empirical study to track the city-wide implementation of Section 8 of the Right to Education Act.
Anti-Vagrancy Project – We are working on a writ petition/PIL to present before the Calcutta HC for challenging provisions of the Bengal Vagrancy Act, 1943. Over the past year, LAS has filed RTIs to get information from relevant government departments.
3. Interactive Talks/Workshops:
Talks with Advocate Lara Jesani, Tarunabh Khaitan, Advocate Aman Wadud, and Harsh Mander.
Certificate workshop on human trafficking over the internet in association with the International Justice Mission.
Webinar on the impact of lockdown on workers, the panel of which included Saurabh Bhattacharjee, Geeta Menon, Rajendran Narayanan and Clifton Rozario, with Law and Society Network, NLSIU.
Environmental Policy lecture series hosting Dr. Armin Rozencraz and Manju Menon.
4. Annual National Conference:
The NUJS-LAS conducts an annual national conference on various themes related to legal aid and human rights. Their main purpose is to induce a sense of camaraderie between various legal aid societies around India in working together and achieving tangible output at a national level.This year, we hosted a two-day National Conference on Citizenship Laws in India entitled Statelessness and the Right to have Rights in collaboration with the Cornell Law School Human Rights Clinic.Dr Usha Ramanathan and Mr Harsh Mander joined us as keynote speakers.
5. Labour Welfare Project:
Working with the SJA, we negotiated for better contractual terms on behalf of the contract workers of the University and enforcement of applicable social security safeguards. We also conducted training sessions for them to inform them of their rights and teach them how to make use of the social security provisions such as ESI cards.
6. Camps and Street Plays:
Through the medium of camps and street plays, the NUJS-LAS has previously aimed to familiarize the non-legal community at large with their most important legal rights, as well as raise awareness about some relevant socio-legal issues.
7. Social Outreach Programmes:
In the past, students have been actively engaged in activities such as promotion of adult literacy through night-teaching classes for workers at the university and hostel premises, and the organization of collection drives for clothes, books, stationary and other items for survivors of natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and slum fires in and around Kolkata. Last academic year, we partnered with the Robin Hood Army to organise collection drives for clothes and sanitary items on the occasion of International Women’s Day for distribution in and around Salt Lake.
In the past, along with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative [‘CHRI’], we were involved in a project titled Shadhinota (meaning ‘freedom’) wherein students aided the CHRI via research and field work for the goal of increased access to justice to inmates.
The Legal Aid Society’s quintessential objective is to deeply engage with the society by creating legal awareness and providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. The society aims at conducting awareness camps, seminars and conferences to disseminate legal information among the public. It also seeks to establish a network with various Non-governmental Organisations, other law colleges and government bodies to work towards the society and uphold the principle of “Access to justice for all.” The committee strives to undertake various research projects to improve the conditions for the disadvantageous groups of the society. The Legal Aid society performs preventive, remedial, activist and reformative functions.
For 2020-21, the Coordinator is Ketan Jain. The Associate Coordinator is Sushovan Patnaik and the Treasurer is Simran Upadhyay. The Society consists of 15 student members.
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