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Legal Awareness To Nation

India being a vast country with quite a good number of 69.3% of literacy which would reach the club of 100% literate country in coming years.

But along with literacy, people need to be legally aware about our laws. Many people think that they are aware about the laws and their legal remedies but are unaware about their basic and legal rights and thereby violate the law regardless of knowing the legality of Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat (means ignorance of law is not an excuse) a legal principle, which means that a person who is unaware of law cannot escape the liability for violating the law.

The severe hindrance to legal aid in India is lacking legal awareness amongst the people. There are different organizations and authorities like, National Legal Services Authority which has been designated to spread legal literacy among the nation. Section 12 of the legal services authorities act, 1987 prescribes the criteria for giving legal services to the eligible persons who all are entitled to free legal aid. Even today , many people settle for injustice because they cannot afford legal defence.

The concept of legal aid is made to provide access of legal education to poor and illiterate people. Free legal aid is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed to all the citizens of the country. Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity.

The motto behind this article is to reveal some unknown legal aspect to be known by common or lay man.

Alcohol

As per Bombay Prohibition Act 1949

The state government may, on such condition, rules as may be specified by general or special order in writing made imperative to have authorisation for consumption, possession, purchase, sale or serve liquor to Whoever in contravention of the provisions of act or any regulations shall on conviction empowers police to arrest the accused with punishment ranging from 3 months to 5 years of imprisonment. Breach of the act would be committed if you consume liquor along with validated age without permission.

Non obsante (notwithstanding) to the act:
  • No person shall host a party or serve liquor to more than 10 people without legal sanction and breach of section will be registered as a criminal offence against host and liquor will be seized.
  • No person shall open, retain or use any place as common drinking house.
Tourist permit is required to transport alcohol from Maharashtra to other states as such taxes are levied on liquor varies in different states leading to revenue reduction of respective state. Transporting liquor without a permit is punishable with a fine of 50,000 rupees and 5 years in prison.

[Behram Khurshed Pesikaka V/S State Of Maharashtra Air 1955 Sc 123],
This is an appeal by special leave from a judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay reversing the order of acquittal passed in favour of the appellant by the Court of the Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, convicting him of an offence under section 66(b) of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, where appellant was sentenced to one month of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of rs 500 for consuming alleged alcohol.

[Janrao Balaji Tanje And Anr. Vs The State Of Maharashtra on 23 August, 1977], showing the contexts in which Bombay Prohibition Act 1949, section 66(1) b appears in the document, Where the prosecution wants to establish that an accused has committed the offence of possession of liquor Under Section 66 (1) (b) of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949, it should not only show that the accused was in possession of contraband liquor which contained alcohol but it should also have to show that such a variety, which was in possession of the accused, was not of the kind exempt Under Section 24-A of the Act.

Adoption

People find it easy to adopt a child but they are unaware about it's legal process. Section 11 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act states the eligibility for valid adoption,
  • A single man is not eligible for adopting a girl child until he attains the age of 21 years or older but a single woman can adopt a child of any gender.
  • A minimum age difference of 21 years between the single mother and the adopted child is required if they're of opposite sex.
  • A single parent should be between 30 – 45 years of age if he or she wishes to adopt a child of the age group of 0-3 years. - The age limit for adoption of a child elder than 3 years is 50.
The breach is fatal to adoption in the case, [Hanmant Laxman Salunke (D) By L. Rs. V. Shrirang Narayan Kanse, Air 2006 Bom 123], where the age limit is 55 years to be a single parent. A couple can adopt a child only on the condition that they already has a child and that adopted child is of opposite sex.

Theft By Finding

In India, you are liable to theft by finding if you pick up lost money from streets.
As per Quasi- Contract( section 71) under Indian Contract Act 1872,

If a person finds goods that belong to someone else and takes them into his custody, Nemo Dat Quad Non Habet ( No one gives what they do not have) rule or priciple in adherence, he has to adhere to the following responsibilities:
  1. Take care of the goods as a person of regular prudence;
  2. No right to appropriate the goods;
  3. Restore the goods to the owner (if found).
Simply, a person who finds goods that belong to another person shall be treated as a bailee. A bailee is essentially a safe keeper of the goods, who is supposed to return the goods to the actual owner or dispose them in the manner in which the actual owner may want them to. The bailee has certain duties and rights as the ‘possessor’ or ‘custodian’ of the goods for the time being.

In [R V Viscount Hertford], it was held that “if money be given to one to keep generally without consideration and if the person be robbed, he is discharged”. Further in subsequent cases absolute liability was confined to carriers only and bailees owed only a duty to reasonable care.

[Kanhya Lal Sain V. Registrar Examination, R.H.C.], it was held that the aforementioned provision does not specifically lay down the finder’s rights and thus a bailee may be interpreted as a finder of lost goods; however, the two are not the same.

Right To Live-In-Relationship

IN [S. Khushboo Vs. Kanniammal & Anr on 28th april 2010], the Supreme Court of India, placing reliance upon its earlier decision in [Lata Singh Vs. State Of U.P & Anr on 7 july 2006], held that live-in-relationship is permissible only in unmarried major persons of heterogeneous sex.

The Supreme Court in the case of [D. Velusamy V.D. Patchaiammal] held that a ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ under the 2005 Act must also fulfill the following criteria:
  1. The couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses
  2. They must be of legal age to marry.
  3. They must be otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage, including being unmarried.
  4. They must have voluntarily cohabited and held themselves out to the world as being akin to spouses for a significant period of time, and in addition, the parties must have lived together in a ‘shared household’ as defined in Section 2(s) of the Act. Merely spending weekends together or a one-night stand would not make it a ‘domestic relationship’.

Free Legal Aid

Section 12 of the legal service act provides the criteria under which a member of SC or ST, a victim of trafficking and mass disaster, industrial workman and the person whose annual income is less than rupees nine thousand or such, are provided with free legal aid. The rights of these people should be known to them and it's our duty to make them aware about their rights and privileges by active participation in decision making and to make sure that their voices and interests are heard.

As per the maxim, Locus standi (the right of a party to appear and be heard before a court) every individual or citizen of our country should not be condemned without being heard. We can provide access to these people by organizing little camps about the social welfare schemes for their security, health care, poverty relief and simultaneously giving them the access to information and government policies as well as starting campaigning and providing them the platform where they can approach and seek help in cases like violationof their rights such as discrimination, wage miscalculations, sexual harassment and whistleblowing.


Apart from this, medical care and other facilities like compensation equivalent to 50 percent of the total basic wages and dearness allowance needs to be given to workman under section 25 C of industrial disputes act. The rights of employees are protected against suffering any harm because of any reasonable actions they take on health and safety grounds and this applies regardless of their length of service, under employment rights act 1996. We can provide access to these people by organizing little camps about the social welfare schemes for their security, health care, poverty relief and awaring them about their rights and privileges.

Conclusion
Legal rights are, clearly, rights which exist under the rules of legal systems or by virtue of decisions of suitably authoritative bodies within them. It is an interest accepted and protected by law.

These include individual rights common to most, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, religious and cultural freedom, Freedom of assembly (peaceful assembly), freedom of religion (freedom to practice religion), right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights. On the other hand remedies are the means to achieve justice in any matter in which legal rights are involved.

Remedies may be ordered by the court, granted by the judgement after trial or hearing, by agreement (settlement) between the person claiming harm and the person he/she believes has caused it, and by the automatic operation of law. Hence we are providing access to information of law, it's legal rights and remedies which should be known to people in large.

Mere knowledge is not enough, we have to make sure that they are acquiring appropriate platform to utilize their rights in a bona fide system and be more cautious before taking any step against the law. Considering before possessing liquor, realizing what steps needs to be taken before adopting a child, thinking twice before picking up lost money, being perceptive before moving in together without marriage and providing access to free legal aid to poor and illiterate people are some legal rights which every individual should be aware about and hoping that they'll be implementing these laws in their day to day life.

After gaining access to the above statutes, we are anticipating that people will be aware about the laws and in consequence, the violation and it's cause will reduce. These are the steps which might be taken in order to come up with approach of procuring facts or knowledge to every individual in order to overcome the infringement of legal rights.

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