Higher Education

Higher Education

Colleges in Mumbai hold a brief to teach you the law

PUBLISH DATE 31st July 2017

Colleges set up LED screens at stations, hold lectures to create legal awareness

MUMBAI: Law colleges in the city are taking legal education beyond the confines of classrooms. The colleges have launched a variety of community outreach initiatives aimed at educating people about the laws concerning their day-to-day lives, while also providing practical exposure to budding lawyers.

Last week, KC College of Law, in collaboration with Western Railways, set up two LED screens atChurchgatestation,displaying information regarding the rights and responsibilities of commuters. The screens also beam a power point presentation on relevant provisions of the Railways Act, Indian Penal Code (IPC), Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Constitution of India in English, Hindi and Marathi.

"The presentation will aid in creating legal awareness for the common public. The commuters can read the information scrolling on the screens while moving in and out of the station terminal. The information is presented in small bytes so as to be readable while passing along. This feature of the presentation makes it very useful for the public," read a statement from the college. Sunita Khariwal, in-charge principal of the college said that they plan to install such screens at other public places as well.

Six months ago, students at University of Mumbai Law Academy at Fort started a legal literacy programme named 'Law at Your Doorstep', under the mentorship of the institute's in-charge director Ashok Yende. As part of this programme, the law students conduct lectures on human rights as well as the rights of consumers and children in various slum areas of the city. So far, they have held lectures at five places Poisar, Boisar, Chembur, Koparkhairne and Dharavi.

"We first do a survey of a locality before starting the awareness drive. We also rope in the local member of legislative assembly (MLA) or member of parliament (MP) to ensure the presence of a large number of people in the lecture," said Metanshu Purandare, a student at the institute. He added that the attendants found the lectures to be very useful and asked that such events be held regularly.

Other colleges have also undertaken similar activities. For example, once or twice every year, Thane Law College holds legal literacy drives for children in nearby schools. The college students use cultural tools such as street plays to raise awareness on children's rights. During elections, the college conducts campaigns to urge people to exercise their franchise. Meanwhile, students from New Law College, Matunga have also held lectures on maintenance laws, marriage laws, and workings of a police station at various places in the city.

Many law colleges in the city run legal aid cells which provide free-of-cost legal assistance to the people who can't afford a lawyer. "We guide the poor people who approach us, after taking into account facts of their case", said Srividya Jayakumar, principal, Thane Law College.

Jayakumar added that the legal aid cell helps students cut their teeth in practical aspects of law. "They learn how to talk to clients and handle cases," she said.