Why Do We Need Legal Awareness?
By Shagun Mahendroo
Legal awareness, also known as legal consciousness, is the empowerment of individuals regarding issues involving the law.
Legal awareness helps to promote consciousness of legal culture, participation in the formation of laws and the rule of law.
Around 70% of people in rural areas are illiterate, and a larger percentage of those who are illiterate are unaware of the legal rights that they have. Even literate persons have been found to lack awareness on occasion.
Non-awareness among the excluded groups not only resulted in denial of their fundamental rights, but also prevented them from taking advantage of government aid schemes and plans due to a lack of legal understanding on their part.
The lack of awareness in Indian society is one of the reasons why we lag behind developed countries. Is anyone claiming that residents in industrialised countries are blissfully unaware? Certainly not, because progress entails and promotes awareness. Developed countries first advanced in science as a result of increased scientific awareness. Some argue that most developed countries are dominant because of their wealth.
This is true because wealth equates to power, prestige, and safety. When we talk about security, we're referring to the fact that there is less danger and threat to life. No one will bother you while you're doing your thing. You will achieve true independence. You can say whatever you want, and society will never question you. Money makes a person powerful, and then his or her statements are taken seriously. European liberalism is responsible for the current state of liberty. Europe and America dominated the global economy throughout the nineteenth century.
By advancing their technology, they were able to harness raw materials and resources from around the world to create useful products and money. They were prosperous as a result of this, and they progressed. Now, the rest of the world listened to anything they had to say. These countries also influenced India's political structure and constitution. Certain words that India has adopted from western countries and America include constitutionalism, rule of law, federalism, and secularism.
For Indians, these phrases were foreign, and they required a clear explanation. The British also left Indians impoverished and oppressed. They needed to be able to communicate their awareness in a simple and understandable manner. Citizens in India have numerous fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. This makes legal education and awareness crucial for every person of Indian society, because without awareness, these rights have no validity.
In addition, the legal concept 'Ignorantia facti excusat, Ignorantia juris non excusat' states that ignorance of the law can never be justified. This concept holds true in today's justice system, with courts checking to see if there is any legal ignorance on the side of the parties in any case. As a result, legal awareness and understanding are required, and one must be aware.
The UN Secretary-General writes in a note to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly that the deprivations that people living in poverty face throughout their lives include a lack of access to quality education and limited access to information.
Low levels of legal literacy and awareness of their rights result from a lack of political voice and social capital, creating societal barriers to obtaining remedy.