Training Manual of Lawyers Working on Minority Rights


There is no aspect of life, especially the public life of the communities that most of us work with in the areas of social change, that is not touched by some law or the other. And yet, when one looks at the percentage utilisation of law in the field of development, the instances and extent are negligible. It is sad that agencies that are involved in social change processes ignore such an important tool and thereby lessen their effectiveness to that extent.

Law by itself is surrounded with myths and an aura that seem impenetrable. The state in its own quiet way contributes to it both by abstention (in not making law available to the common person in easy digestible capsules) as well as by action(by choosing a legislative parlance which is comprehensible only to jurists). Law implementing agencies like the police and the judiciary, with all their flaws, still evoke a feeling of awe in the hearts of people. It is for this reason that democratic governance and civil society are still a distant dream. People are largely ignorant about laws, its possible impact, its limitations and the strategies for using it.

While on the one hand, lack of information about available laws and methods for accessing law implementing agencies acts as a deterrent, on the other hand, people who try using the law get lost in the labyrinth of fleecing lawyers, a reeking judiciary and series of adjournments. Thus, the inclination to use the law gets further reduced. The situation with voluntary agencies is no different. By and large, optimum utilisation of law is not the rule. In this back drop, it becomes important to have a basic understanding about the legal system and how to use it effectively.

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