What are the challenges and barriers faced by weaker sections of society in accessing justice and seeking remedies for their grievances, and what role can civil servants play to address those? Discuss with the help of suitable examples.
न्याय तक पहुँचने और अपनी शिकायतों के निवारण के लिए समाज के कमजोर वर्गों के सामने कौन-सी चुनौतियाँ और बाधाएँ हैं, और लोक सेवक उन्हें दूर करने में क्या भूमिका निभा सकते हैं? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से चर्चा कीजिए।
Start with basic intro on both the schemes or start with recent changes and then as per demand of question provide both of the arguments.
It is unfortunate to be in weaker section but it is worse to be marginalized, vulnerable and weaker in a developing country like India. They face several difficulties in accessing justice and grievance redressal.
Challenges and barriers:
- Awareness about discrimination and laws: According to Upendra Baxi, access to justice signifies the ability to participate in the judicial process. But weaker section of society doesn’t have awareness of judicial process. For example, woman, LGBTQ’s, disabled, SC/ST etc. Many don’t have the knowledge of NALSA judgement, Sexual harassment act, SC/ST act.
- Many communities like of Adivasis/STs are not aware of constitutional safeguards and other statutory provisions put in place for the upliftment of the community and redressal of their grievances, as a result, they consider the discrimination and abuse perpetrated on them as banal.
- Adjudication of grievances: This aspect involves how much time it takes for the courts to give a final verdict. This aspect essentially deals with the laxity in police investigations, and perception towards weaker section harms them. For example, incident shown in Jai Bhim Movie 2021.
- Identification and recognition of grievances: Especially marginalized groups fear the system, this tends to unidentified and unrecognized grievances, they see it as alien, and do not access it.
- For example in rape cases, women are asked to repeat the trauma faced by her, similarly, instances of caste violence or discrimination go unreported because police refuse to lodge an FIR either because of their caste prejudices or because of the fear from upper class dominating in villages.
- Complicated Process: According to DAKSH Access to Justice Survey, 2017 complex, costly and time-consuming process of court is the sole reason for vulnerable section not opting to approach the courts.
Role of civil servants to address such problems:
- Civil servant with empathy and sensitivity plays a crucial role in access to justice or redressal of grievances. For example, violence against SCs and STs cannot be adjudicated as a normal act of assault and thus SC/ST Act, 1989 being used.
- The civil servant can set up a mechanism so that people especially the marginalised know about their rights and remedies in case of violation of those rights.
- Civil servant or any official with compassion towards socially economic weaker can help by approaching the courts for a judicial remedy with facilitating service under Article 39A provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of society.
- Helping out them with Lok Adalats informally help out of court settlement, such as Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation to cut the time.
Over the past years, the civil servants have worked to protect, promote and uplift the weaker sections of the society. Meanwhile there strengthening involves social, educational, economic, and political empowerment with collective efforts of policymakers, state, and different NGO’s.