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Justice at door steps: Microjustice


Access to justice for smaller legal issues confronted by them remains elusive for larger proportion of poor people living in our country. This obstacle hinders their active participation in the society and thereby their social development. Making easy the provision of justice to such micro legal problems in termed as ‘Micro justice’.

In other words, Micro justice is a support centre for poor people especially woman for making justice accessible and affordable against domestic violence, dispute relating to property and labor and against social issues. Providing timely justice right at their door steps for their socio economic development involving the principle of grass root democracy remains the core in this concept. Micro justice is one of the initiatives in the global movement of women self empowerment and has a very practical application in women based SHG federations, where a platform for executing this system already exists.

Objectives of this Programme

  • To create awareness on the issues faced by the members families from the people’s organisation promoted by DHAN.
  • To facilitate the grassroots democracy at village or slum level through Federation.
  • To ensure the basic rights of Kalanjiam, Tank and Panchayat members.
  • To empower the federation leaders/Kalanjiam. Tank and Panchayat leaders for getting Justice to their members for sustaining the socio economic condition of the family.
  • To create a space in important forum like Panchayat/ corporation/ lok adalath, Family court as counseller, Police station Counseller for access to get the justice with affordability.
  • To support to members for getting Justice against domestic violence disputes regarding exorbitant Interest, Purchasing Land.
  • To strengthen Kalanjiam Movement.
  • Value building of Kalanjiam, Tank and Panchayat member families in relevance to Micro justice (preventing misuse of family ration card, government welfare schemes, illegal occupation of government lands)
    Why Micro justice Programme in DHAN People Institution: In all democratic institutions, we find the three important systems viz. Legislative, Executive and judicial. Our people institutions are nurtured towards working as a democratic institutions and they have a well defined executive and legislative system in operation. The Incorporation of Judiciary system into these institutions will enable them to function as a full- fledged people institutions. Hence the concept of Micro justice was introduced and piloted in few people institutions. The concept is being presently in operation in seven federations across four thematic programs.

S.no Programme Federation
1 Kalanjiam Foundation 1.     Sellur and Pudhur Federation
2.  Gangai Federation
3. Kottampatti Federation
2 Vayalagam Foundation 1. T.Kallupatti Federation
2. Kottampatti Federation
3 CALL programme 1. Ramnad Federation
4 Panchayat Programme 1. Palamedu Federation

Dhan’s Experience in integrating Micro finance in to Micro justice:

Dhan’s experience in Micro finance necessitates the integration of Micro finance activity with various sectors and sub sectors. Micro finance has emerged as a successful tool in alleviating rural poverty. Access to Micro finance services helps the poor to expand their choice for live hood opportunities and improve the quality of their life. The program has successfully integrated with health, education, livelihood and micro insurance schemes.

Process followed: To integrate micro justice with the existing components of the different federations, earlier experiences of the federations in handling local legal issues was documented, workshops with people leaders were organized at regional level and a idea note was generated. People insitutions for piloting this concept was idenfitied, system and structure for micro justice was created. The people and the staffs of the federation were enabled through series of capacity building programs and legal aid camps. A committee for Micro justice was formed with selected nine leaders from three federations initially. As the program expanded to other federations, new leaders were selected and at present there atre eight leaders each representing one federation. A training programme for selected leaders’ on Micro justice was conducted.

Principles for Micro justice

The following principles are to be ensured in delivering micro justice through our people institutions.

  1. Creating a space for sharing:– SHGs are the forums created already among the members. The regular monthly meeting provides a space for sharing the legal issues the members face. The members can also share their problems in their cluster meetings.
  2. Space for Interaction: The member register/voice her concern during the regular meeting. The special forum constituted in the federation would visit the member, interact with her and document the issues in detail.
  3. Consultation: The issues faced by the members needs to be brought to the notice of the federation, consultation will be done at federation level forum for making suggestion and evolving alternatives.
  4. Facililtating Negotiation: The federation to facilitate resolve the issue through negotiation between the two concerned parties.
  5. Facilitate for decision making: Decision making needs to be facilitated rather taking decision on behalf of them.
  6. Transparency: Concrete decisions made to resolve the issues and should be made transparent.

Collaboration with stakeholders

To ensure effective delivery of services, the people institutions were facilitated to collaborate with Legal Aid movement and also with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). Legal Aid is a movement that envisages that the poor have easy access to courts and other government agencies. It implies that the decisions rendered are fair and just taking account of the rights and disabilities of parties. The focus of legal aid is on distributive justice, effective implementation of welfare benefits and elimination of social structural discrimination against the poor. It was taking these mandatory provisions of The Constitution of India in mind that the Parliament passed The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. The National Legal Services Authority is a statutory body which has been set up for implementing and monitoring legal aid programs in the country. The legal aid program adopted by ‘NALSA’ include promoting of legal literacy, setting up of legal aid clinics in universities and law colleges, training of paralegals, and holding of legal aid camps and Lok Adalats.

Colloboration with Madurai district legal aid committee was done through which training for para legal volunteers was given. One hundred and twenty five para legal volunteers from Kalanjiam and Vayalagam federations were so far trained as para legal volunteers.

Apart from this eight legal aid camps were organized in different people institutions viz., Gangai Vattara Kalanjiam, Sellur Vattara Kalanjiam , Pudhur and Vaigai Vattara kalanjiams at cluster level through which 82 petitions were generated.

Legal Aid Clinics at Federations

The objective of the Scheme is to provide legal services to the poor, marginalised and weaker sections of the society, especially to the people living in faraway places including the places with geographical barriers, away from the seats of justice. The aim of the Scheme is to provide inexpensive local machinery for rendering legal services of basic nature like legal advice, drafting of petitions, notices, replies, applications and other documents of legal importance and also for resolving the disputes of the local people by making the parties to see reason and thereby preventing the disputes reaching courts. The legal aid clinic is for the benefit of the people in the locality, the local body institutions should be impressed upon the need to co-operate with the functioning of the legal aid clinics and to realise that the legal aid clinic is aimed at promoting peace and welfare of the people in the locality. Legal aid clinic shall work like a single-window facility for helping the disadvantaged people to solve their problems where the operation of law comes into picture.

Functioning of legal aid clinic

  • An advocate will be available at the federation office on weekdays between 2 pm to 4.30 pm, on an specified date suggested by the federation i.e., he will be available one day/week on the specified week day.
  • The advocate will get rotated once in a month.
  • All the running cost will be met my District Legal Aid Authority.
  • The federation has to arrange for infrastructural facilities for running the legal aid clinic which can be even the federation office premises
    Duties of Advocates.

  • Availability of legal advice at the door step of the needy
  • Family counseling services
  • Assist the members in drafting their petition
  • Other legal help regarding court proceedings for cases filed already.

The State Legal services Authorities shall conduct periodical review of the functioning of legal aid clinics.

Role of the Stakeholders in Legal aid clinic

  • The Block integrator monitors the follow-up action in the matter in which legal assistance has been provided.
  • The lawyer so sitting in legal aid clinic is to perform like a Doctor in a hospital catering to the legal advice required by the needy persons.
  • A register shall be maintained in the legal aid clinic it should be maintain by block integrator, register will contain the details of counsels who have worked in the clinic, nature of advice and the details of beneficiaries.
  • Monthly progress will be sent to the region and copy of the report will be sent to the programme officer.
  • Para –legal volunteers will assist the poor litigants in drafing,typing and presentation of miscellaneous application to the office.

Legal aid clinics are planned to be piloted in Gangai, Pudhur, Sellur, Kottampatti kalanjiam federations and T.Kallupatti Tank federation and Mettupatti panchayat at Alanganallur. A legal aid clinic is initiated at Kottampatti on 18/07/2012. One panel advocate from Melur court will be available at Kottampatti federation on every Saturday from 2 to 5 pm, for providing legal aid services to our members. So far 152 petitions were received through the clinic. Another legal aid clinic was planned at Vellayampatti, Alanganallur block, Vadipatti Taluk, the village covered under pachayat and kalanjiam program of DHAN Foundation.

Legal Literacy: Legal literacy to members of people institution is facilitated through the micro justice by way of training and capacity building. Exclusive brochures and leaflets are designed for the same. The legal literacy is given regarding women related issues, social issues and financial issues. With respect to women related issues trainings on Law of Maintenance, Domestic Violence Act, Dowry prohibition Act, Marriage and Divorce (Hindu, Muslim and Christian) and Property rights to women.(Hindu, Muslim & Christian) are given. Training and awareness on laws pertaining to social issues like Consumer Protection Act(In this act it has to be categorized), Banking Service to Consumer, Consumer protection against professionals like Doctor and Advocate, Goods related Consumer Act, Right to Information Act, Human Right Act and Registration of Birth and Death Act 1969 is being given. Training on Exorbitant Interest Act, Negotiable Instrument Act (Pronote), Banking Act, Non Banking Finance and Insurance Act also are being given on need basis to people institutions.

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