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What is called legal awareness?
Legal awareness is the process of empowering and strengthening the powers and authority of the individuals through law. It is also called public legal education. It is the process of making the public aware of the powers, rights and authorities that they have at their disposal and how to utilise them to prevent exploitation and injustices. Such a civic education among the public comprises a set of actions, activities and policies designed to build public awareness and skills related to the legal and judicial system in the country and how the common man can approach them. The proper information about public welfare schemes and services and its rules and institutions by all the citizens in the society that results in the efficient functioning of the law is called legislative awareness.
The Legal Services Act was passed in 1987 to implement legal services uniformly in the country.
To improve the judicial system and give more awareness and education to the people, many legal awareness programmes were designed and launched by the Central Government and various State Governments. Many plans were formulated and implemented to protect the public from unfair actions and to increase social welfare. Some of them are:
• Legal literacy camps- Legal literacy camps are organised by different local and state level authorities and institution throughout the country to enhance the legal awareness of the public. They are also conducted by schools, colleges, and other institutions.
• Lok Adalats- Under the purview of the act, Lok Adalats have to be constituted in every taluk, district and state levels. The authorities should also carry out legal awareness campaigns.
• Legal programmes- The Central and various state governments can telecast various programmes related to legal rights through All India Radio, Doordarshan and Community Radio. This will improve the legal literacy of the public.
• Printed hand-outs- The Central government, various state governments, non-governmental organisations, and other related authorities can print and distribute hand-outs and materials about the rights and duties of citizens.
It is highly important to improve legal awareness in a country. It will empower the citizens and promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government. This helps to check corruption and other malpractices in the functioning of the government and the judicial system.
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