Legal literacy mission launched

New Delhi, March 6 | Updated: Mar 7 2005, 05:30am hrs
Launching the National Legal Literacy Mission 2005-10 on Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his government was committed to legal empowerment of all sections of society, with a special focus on the downtrodden, minorities and women. He appealed to the judiciary and other officials to simplify the language of legal statutes and acts.

"The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) underscores the importance of legal empowerment of all sections of society, including the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities and above all women," Dr Singh said.

He said democracy was meaningless unless the basic human rights like education, employment and the right to live a life of dignity and self respect were maintained.

Dr Singh added the complex legal language of the statutes were hurdles to legal literacy. "This is compounded by the intricacies of legal language in judicial pronouncements. An attempt should be made to simplify the language of the law so that anyone who reads judgements and laws can easily understand the same," he said.

"The underprivileged groups need to know that they are equal before the law and have equal rights," he said. Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti said those who needed to be reached urgently were women, children, tribal and minority communities, victims of militancy, crime, disaster, drought-hit farmers, and sex workers.