National Conference on "Women and Access to Justice through Legal Aid"

On the occasion of Women's Equality Day, A two days National Conference in collaboration with the Bihar Legal Network on the theme of "Women and Access to Justice through Legal Aid" on 26th and 27th August 2021 was organized by Legal Aid Clinic, SLG, CUSB. The Conference was organized under the able leadership and guidance of Honourable Prof. Kameshwar Nath Singh ( Hon'ble Vice Chancellor, CUSB, Gaya) and respected Prof. (Dr.) Pawan Kumar Mishra (Head and Dean, School of Law and Governance, CUSB). The Co-ordinator of this Conference was Dr. Deo Narayan Singh (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) and the Co-coordintor was Mr. Mani Pratap (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB).

On 26th August 2021, in the inaugural session, first of all Aditi (Student, SLG, CUSB) as host introduced the program and gave a little brief about today's session and then after she invited the Organizing Secretary and Co-ordinator of the Legal Aid Clinic Dr. Deo Narayan Singh (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) for greetings and initiation of the programme. As a moderator, Dr. Deo Narayan Singh informed the people about the program and explained the importance of today's program by connecting this topic and Women's Equality Day. And taking the program further, he invited Prof. (Dr.) Pawan Kumar Mishra.  Prof. (Dr.) Pawan Kumar Mishra (Head and Dean, School of Law and Governance, CUSB) formally welcomed  everyone and shared a few things on the theme. He started his words with cheeriest welcome and said Equal Justice is cardinal principle for flexible administration. He also said justice seems to fair, just and reasonable and it is not given to one and denied to another. He ended his welcome speech with the words that we need a legal system which serves the best quality of justice in least cost.

The theme of the conference was introduced by Dr. Pradeep Kumar Das ( Associate Professor, SLG, CUSB). He said that the protection and development of women in the society is important because violence against them are increasing day by day in entire world and there is no chance of welfare of World without development of Women. Women while going to her bridegroom's home after marriage is like a river enters into the sea in the ancient times. After many policies of the government, still the condition of the women is degrading day by day. So to upgrade their conditions we need the assistance like legal aid to get the flexible justice.

Then after him, For presidential address, the coordinator invited  Honourable Prof. Kameshwar Nath Singh (Hon'ble Vice Chancellor, CUSB, Gaya). In his deliberation, he started his words for the welfare of society through Legal Aid. On the theme of Women and Access to Justice through Legal Aid" he pointed out, there is constitutional framework for assistance of women in the society and the sustainable development goals can also help to achieve the goal of women empowerment. To eliminate all forms of violence against Women in private and public spheres, we need to value their existence in the society and promote the principle of Shared Responsibility in the society. One who wants to achieve anything in life has to understand the importance of women. We worship Saraswati for getting education, worship Durga for power or even Lakshmi for wealth, similarly, if we want to improve the society, we have to give importance to women in the same way. We have to engage our campus for community to take positive steps in the betterment of our society.

The host invited Prof. (Dr.) Mona Purohit, (Head & Dean, Department of Law,  Barkatullah University, Bhopal) for her address on the topic "Judicial Creativity for Gender Justice." She started her deliberations in a very constructive way.

She talked about barriers in the journey of women like purdah system, sati, polygamy and also economical and political barriers are there. She said women are denied both and Choice.  She also focused on why the condition of women is worse than the animals in the society.  She also highlighted the amendments in IPC, CrPC, The Evidence Act etc. Now, how can we bridge that gap between Law and Justice, there should be the sensitive judiciary. From Bhaveri Devi Case, to Nirbhaya case, we can see that why Judicial sensitivity is most essential in our society. On the base of case laws related to Crime against Women, she concluded her discussion with few suggestions to reduce Crime against Women.

Prof. (Dr.) S.P Srivastava ( Professor, SLG, CUSB) shared his views on the empirical understanding of this topic Employment and Status of Women in India and Legal Aid. The main issue in our society is that we are only focusing of drafting the laws. The recruitment board always used to think the Women can not justify with the post. The ground reality of equal pay is still only on the papers specially in unorganized sectors. After many laws still Women are treated as secondary citizens. We should focus on implementation along with drafting. Society is  treating a woman as goods, and it is commodification of their existence.

He concluded his words by sharing his views on importance of Legal Aid in achieving the implementation on the grassroot level by doing awareness program, and also do assist the people in your district and by observing the ground reality.

After him, Advocate Arvind Gupta , Supreme Court of India, delivered his lecture on the topic "Challenges in the Working of Legal Services Authority." He said that the main purpose of Legal Services Authority to serve the poor and needy people to attain equal justice. Our Indian Constitution provides the impartial judiciary. He also quoted the words of Justice PN Bhagwati in context of Legal Aid that it provided an arrangement in the society. He also talked about the brief history of Legal Aid. The 14th report of Law Commission of India, 1958 highlighted the concept of free legal aid. He concluded his words by saying that if we need engage a balance between legal aid and justice, we need to establish the trust in judiciary in the society.

Dr. Sewali Kumar (Associate Professor, TISS, Mumbai) talked on the topic  "Dalit and Muslim Women's Equality and Rights" very smoothly. She discussed about the equality of sameness or substantive equality on the base of our Indian Constitution and The Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 and many international laws. She also gave the example of Hathras case in the context that the actual action of law is still lacking in our society in favour of dalit women. We should change our approach to tackle their problems in our society. 

On the second day of this National Conference, Sakshi(Student Co-convener, Legal Aid Clinic) started the session and welcomed everyone. A brief introduction of the theme was given by Mrs. Poonam Kumari (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) in which she discussed about the experience of women in the society is continued to invisible due to many economical and cultural factors and this Legal Aid is one of the effective step to reduce this societal gap between man and women.

In the Welcome Address, Prof. (Dr) Sanjay Prakash Srivastava (Professor,SLG,CUSB) formally welcomed everyone on the behalf of Central University of South Bihar and said it's time to introspect how Legal Aid Clinic will serve the society not only in traditional issues but also in the virtual society to protect the society from cyber endanger.

Prof. (Dr) Vijay Raghavan (Mumbai Campus, TISS) delivered his lecture on the topic "Role of Women in the Criminal Justice System" and talked about the role of two divisions of women in Criminal Justice System, one where they come as offenders and in other, they are rescued as the victims of commercial exploitation. He concluded his lecture by a suggestive approach that how Legal Aid Clinic can improve the quality of Legal aid in context of violence against Women and minor children in Criminal Justice System.

Then on the theme "Women's Equality - Lessons and Context", Prof. (Dr.) Bibha Tripathi (Faculty of Law, BHU) gave a very constructive lecture. She said that the equality for the women in today's society is very complex because of generations of perception of equality. She also focused on the role of Legal Aid Clinic that Legal Aid Clinic are functioning but there is a problem of the interpretation of the word function and if we want to improve the quality of justice we need to interpret the word function in liberal sense instead of liberal sense.

Prof. (Dr) Pawan Kumar Mishra (Head and Dean, SLG, CUSB) gave a well structured lecture on Protection of Women from Domestic Violence - Legal and Judicial Response. He said that it not a class issue but a societal issue. Sec 498 A of The Indian Penal Code is wife centric and its interpretation is not able to give the remedy to rest of the women  that's why we need a separate act like The Act of 2005 which covers all types of victim against women. He also said In context of domestic violence, we need the emergency and quick relief to women. Prof  Mishra has concluded his lecture by telling that the Legal aid Clinic at University level can educate the students to promote legal reliefs and to spread awareness among women about their minimum legal domestic rights.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar Malviya, (Assistant Professor, BHU) spoke on the topic "Legal Aid and Role of Women". He said we need to understand the economic and social rights of Women in the society for complete development because today most laws are made for the protection of women but that society is failing to implement them. He ended his talk by his refreshing poem and saying that the role of women becomes more in legal aid because law is dependent on the society and society is largely dependent on the progress of women and if the legal aid center makes these women a little aware, then to a great extent women can become self-reliant.

The Vote of Thanks was given by the coordinator of the Legal Aid Clinic Dr. Deo Narayan Singh, Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) in which he thanked all the Honorable Guest Speakers, Respected Vice Chancellor, Head and Dean, faculties, participants and all the members of the Legal Aid Clinic.

In the conference, the faculties of School of Law and Governance Dr. Digvijay Singh, Dr. Pallavi Singh, Dr. Anant Prakash Narayan, Dr. Kumari Nitu, were present. Dr. Deo Narayan Singh (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) and Mr. Mani Pratap (Assistant Professor, SLG, CUSB) played the role of co-ordinator and Co-coordinator of 2 Days Online National Conference, respectively and promised to do more similar programs in the future so the students can get benefit, and Legal Aid Clinic can take a positive step towards betterment of the society.

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