The Legal Aid Clinic has been a part of JGLS since its inception in 2009. The Clinic exists with the sole aim of bridging the gap between what law promises to offer and the actual realities of law. It follows the model of good governance through citizen participation, which believes that good governance will come about only when citizens at all levels of our democracy effectively participate.
The Legal Aid Clinic seeks to impart practical knowledge of law to students. The aim of starting the Clinic was not only to bring future lawyers face to face with the harsh realities of law, but also by giving ourselves the opportunity to use and implement the law even before entering the professional world.
Since 2009, the members of the Clinic have actively participated/organized various awareness creating events and engaged effectively with the rural communities. This is done by building a rapport with the communities, by understanding their concerns, after which they are connected to the district authorities through the processes of law. This process engages communities on a weekly basis, organizing conferences, conclaves, interventions within our surroundings and unique creative methods (e.g. theatre performances).
Village Adoption Programme
Five villages around the campus have been adopted. Each village has a group of five to six students working in it, with a group leader. The issues which have been looked at are, right to food, right to health, right to education, sanitation, employment etc. Letters have been written to various government departments, villagers have been made to attend legal literacy camps with legal literacy materials being provided and meetings have been held with the Sarpanch of the village. The Clinic is now expanding the activities within the village as well. Currently, most of the members working in these five villages have been successful in bringing a positive impact in these villages.
Labour Colony Project
There was a disturbing incident at our campus where children from the labour colony were seen begging outside the convenience store. This is yet another glaring example of the harsh realities of the society we live in. We took it upon ourselves to admit them in the nearby school at Jagdishpur village. The members of our Clinic formed a team of ten, visited the labour colony, fixing up a meeting with all residents the very next morning. We convinced the parents about the importance of education, and they agreed to get their children admitted to the nearby school. We then spoke to the principal of the school; she refused to get them admitted. So, we met the district authorities, got a written approval from them, and got the names of the children registered in the Jagdishpur School. All of this was accomplished over a weekend.
Collaborative Efforts in association with Navjyoti India Foundation and Institute of Rural Research and Development
The ‘Good Governance through Citizen Participation’ model is being implemented in many villages of Mewat with the help of the efforts of IRRAD in Mewat and has been instigated in the Abhaypur and neighbouring villages, with the help of Navjyoti India Foundation. JGLS has collaborated with both the NGO’s to effectively work in the training sessions being organized for the villagers on a weekly basis in all these villages. Recently, a legal literacy camp was organized in Mewat, wherein members of the society visited this camp, actively participated in the event and submitted a report. It is pertinent to note that the initiative by JGLS and IRRAD in Mewat began with five villages and today it has reached more than two hundred villages within Mewat. Similarly, the much recent initiative by Navjyoti and JGLS has its presence in five villages with active participation by our members.
Case Study of the Citizen Participation Clinic conducted jointly by Cornell International Human Rights Clinic and Jindal Good Rural Governance and Citizen Participation Clinic
This report seeks to encourage the development of robust clinical legal education programs in India. This report was a joint class taught by video conference at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, India and Cornell Law School in Ithaca, N.Y. from January to April 2012. This class was called the Cross-National Rural Governance and Human Rights Clinic and was a joint project between the Citizen Participation Clinic at Jindal Global Law School and the International Human Rights Clinic at Cornell Law School. It was drafted by students who participated in a unique collaboration between the Human Rights Clinic at Cornell Law School and the Citizen Participation Clinic at Jindal.
We are working with Urja - one of the local NGOs in the area. We provided them backhand legal support. Following activities were embarked upon
- Awareness camps were held wherein our students went and appraised people about their legal rights.
- We got in touch with the local schools and worked towards securing more admissions for the children.
- We were in the process of developing a sanitation and health model but unfortunately the local office of the NGO had to be shut because of local resistance and hence work couldn't be pursued. However, we'll resume back the work once the NGO starts functioning again in that area.
Sanitation Awareness Camp
The sanitation camp was held in the government secondary school of Jatheri. The students studying in the school are basically from the lesser-privileged part of the village, majority of which are girls as the children of the affluent families go to the nearby private school. We explained to them with the help of Mr. Dilbag (Sanitation Project Manager, Sonipat), the benefits of hygienic practices and the benefits of constructing a toilet in their homes. We interacted with them and asked them questions relating to the camp. The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Sonipat also attended the camp and guided the students. He advised us to continue our work towards and sanitation and follow up with the progress in Jatheri.
Visit to Jhuggi Basti, Paschim Vihar in New Delhi to investigate a case of domestic violence and informed the victim about the various recourses available to her under law.
- First International Conference on Good rural Governance through citizen participation, collaborative effort of Jindal Global Law School and Institute of Rural Research and Development.
- Second International conference on Good rural Governance through citizen participation - Organised by formation of a student organising committee.
- M. Salgaocar college of Law, Goa: This College organized a conference in Goa, within its campus, on the study of practices followed by law school based legal clinics, in collaboration with UNDP. It released the report prepared by it titled, ‘Law School based Legal Clinics’.
- NLU, Jodhpur: Jindal Global Law School along with the Institute for Rural Research and Development organized four regional conferences in law schools across the nation, in a span of one year, on the topic of good governance through citizen participation.
- Conclave of Law Professors and Law Students: it was the First JGLS Conclave of Law Professors and Law students. The conclave marked the release of the report titled, ‘Cross-National Human rights clinic and Rural Governance Clinic’. This report was released after an extensive field survey and field visits over a period of four months. This report highlights the visits to the Navjyoti India foundation every Sunday, for four months. Two reports were submitted on Right to Food and Right to Education to the Food Commissioner of the Supreme Court and the Member- Secretary of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights respectively. This conclave saw active participation law professors, lawyers, and people from NGO’s and students from other law schools as well.
- Training sessions within the campus for more than 100 women participants from Kurukshetra.
- Organizing the annual conference by Global Alliance for Justice Education.
- Organizing an event on Gandhi Jayanti, within campus, ‘Revisiting the Gandhian Era’.
- Painting Competition for students from Senior Secondary Government High School, Jatheri.
- Shadow Liberation- Theatre Group- Performances (under the mentorship of Prof Latika Vashist). We formed the organizing committee, and successfully organized the event.
- Juvenile Justice Bill by Prof Ved Kumari.
- “Killing with Impunity: Rethinking ‘Honour’ in Honour Killing” by Jagmati Sangwan.
- “How US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act affects companies in the developing world” by Ms Elleen Radford.
- In-house Certificate Workshop on Right to Information Act.
- Filed petitions in National Human Rights Commission.
- Resolved dispute between Vodafone and a consumer by writing petition to Consumer Redressal Committee.
- Launched the blog for Legal Aid Clinic and invited articles from the student community.
Achievements of the Clinic
- GAJE, shortlisted it among the top three entries, for its award for clinics.
- M. Salgaocar College Along With UNDP has recognized it as the best model being followed by any law school in India.
- Best Innovation Award by a Private University, World Education Summit, 2012
- Awarded by the South Asian Association of Law Teachers.
- Most Accomplished Society of JGU, 2012
- Best Student in Clinics, 2011 (Sharad)
- Best Student in Public Interest, 2012 (Shireen)
- Best Student for Clinics, 2011 (Shireen)
- Best University Citizenship and Public Service Award
Future Initiatives/Ongoing Projects
- Organizing the third international conference on ‘Good governance through Citizen Participation’.
- Carrying out further activities (E.g.: street play) in the villages adopted.
- Organizing legal literacy camps at Jhuggi Basti, Paschim Vihar in New Delhi.
- Initiating a helpline for free legal aid.
- Collaborating with AIDWA (All India Democratic Women’s Association) to submit a report to the Law Commission for making IPC gender neutral.
- Organize more radio programmes with the aim to educate students on campus about public participation in governance.
- Tie-up with various Non-Governmental Organizations and invite them to campus for seminars/ guest lectures/ discussions.
- Create a mobile app for providing legal aid for women.
- Organize legal literacy camp for women empowerment in Jatheri village in association with National Commission for Women.
- Organize legal awareness camp in Jhugi Basti, Paschim Vihar in association with Breakthrough Trust.