Author: Himanshu Tripathi, Student at Maharishi University of Information Technology (MUIT), Noida
“In India, access to justice is more than a pipe dream. To make it a reality we’ll need to collaborate with numerous government departments”.
– N. V. Ramana
When seen through the eyes of three distinct groups — women, children and teenagers, and persons with disabilities – some of India’s most serious gaps in actual access to justice become obvious. Women encounter several obstacles to fully exercising their rights. Many face prejudice, violence, and economic dependency, and a huge majority of them lack a legitimate residency visa, making basic social services extremely difficult to get. Access to justice is also difficult for children and teens. It is more difficult for them to participate with the legal and informal judicial systems because to their lack of experience and education, economic reliance, and lack of requisite documentation. Last but not least, those with disabilities are among the most vulnerable. Physically preventing them from entering judicial and educational institutions, as well as limited access to public information, inhibits their capacity to engage in daily activities, and many of them are subjected to significant human rights abuses. Furthermore, a significant number of persons with disabilities lack the necessary residency permits to have access to medical treatment, education, and other essential services. There is a need to encourage and improve underprivileged groups’ access to justice and legal assistance. This is particularly true in rural regions, where a shortage of trained attorneys, a lack of faith in the court system and in lawyers in general, as well as the expense of legal services, restrict access to legal counsel and representation.