Legal Literacy Training

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An important part of our capacity building work is enhancing the legal literacy of partner civil society organisations (CSOs). This training is vital to improve partners’ understanding of legal mechanisms so that they can use this knowledge to effectively address the issues of discrimination and exclusion that affect socially excluded groups.

PACS, together with the Multiple Action Research Group (MARG), is running 5-day workshops for partners in each state entitled ‘Humara Kanoon, Humara Adhikar’ ('Our Laws, Our Rights').

Understanding core legislation

The workshops focus on the following pieces of core legislation that relate to the socially excluded groups with whom PACS partners work:

  • Constitution of India (1949)

This is the framework that defines the fundamental political principles, structures, procedures, powers and duties of the government along with the fundamental rights of every Indian citizen.

PACS training focuses on helping partners to understand the different organs of the Constitution, the rights of citizens and the redressal (complaint) mechanism, which is in place if Constitutional rights are violated

  • Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Atrocity Act (1989)

This Act makes various named atrocities, committed against people from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), illegal. Such atrocities include denying people from SC/ST communities from accessing public places, forcing them to eat or drink inedible substances and intentionally causing injury, insult or annoyance.

PACS training focuses on helping partners to understand the different named atrocities and the process of reporting a violation and taking it to court.

Find out how 13 year old Rinku's family are using the SC/ST Atrocity Act to convict a man who tried to throw boiling hot oil over her.

  • Domestic Violence Act (2005)

This Act makes assault, cruelty (both physical and mental), injury and harm against women illegal.

PACS training focuses on helping partners to understand the different types of domestic violence and the legal procedures for protection.

  • Right to Information Act (2005)

This Act outlines the right of Indian citizens to access government information and mandates that government bodies need to provide a timely response to citizen requests.

PACS training focuses on helping partners to understand the types of government information available, how to submit a Right To Information (RTI) request and what to do with the results.

The training also covers information on the rights and responsibilities of the Police and a session on gender, looking at the differences between women and men and how these affect their needs and rights.

5-day legal literacy workshops

The Multiple Action Research Group (MARG) are legal literacy experts, specialised at presenting laws in a simplified manner. They are carrying out the 5-day training workshops with CSO partners in each of the 7 states, alongside PACS staff.

The training using uses a mix of methods including lectures and presentations, role-plays, documentaries and group discussions. It also includes an exposure visit to a District Court. This experience helps partners to become familiar with a court and to gain first-hand understanding of how a case proceeds.

At the end of each workshop, participants each have to develop a three-month action plan for sharing their newfound legal knowledge. They are then actively supported to carry out their plans.

Participants also take away sets of booklets and relevant materials on the various laws. Most importantly however, they leave with the eyes to see the invisible ‘laws’ that are present everywhere in our lives.

Find out what our Chhattisgarh partners thought of their legal literacy training.

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