PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYERING AND CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION

stay-on-the-felling-of-trees-in-aarey

PIL for a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai authorities.

The Aarey colony protests began on October 5, 2019, after the Bombay High Court allowed the Mumbai Metro to cut nearly 2,500 trees to build a car shed for the Mumbai Metro. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) began to cut down trees in the area merely hours after the HC order, a move that faced resistance from citizens and environmental activists. This is when our student's intervened.

Aarey is a land adjacent, adjoined with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It has 5 lakh trees on it. There is ample wildlife, ample birds, flora fauna – everything that is needed for a forest is present in Aarey. The Aarey’s trees were proposed to be cut for Mumbai Metro-3 project and specifically for the construction of Car Shed. There were objections filed to this order by the citizens and many other locations were suggested for this part of the project.

On October 6, Rishav Ranjan a fourth-year law student of Batch 2016-2021 submitted a petition before the Chief Justice of India (CJI) asking him to exercise his epistolary jurisdiction and go out of the conventional way for a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai authorities.

The Supreme Court had taken suo-moto cognizance of the Aarey tree felling. On October 7, The apex court set up a special bench comprised of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Mishra. Court-ordered Status Quo in the matter and ordered the Maharashtra govt not to cut down any more trees till the next hearing.

Student Delegation led by Rishav Ranjan and his Friends (Himanshu Gupta, Vaibhav Shahi, Sourav Karmakar, Aman Banka, Amrendra Singh and Amit Prakash) who are pro-metro, pro-public transport and pro-development went to the Hon'ble Supreme Court for sustainable development when there was no time to get into technicalities and urgent intervention was needed.


PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYERING AND CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION

Public interest lawyering is a process of legal empowerment aimed at capacity building of everyday people towards using the law and institutions to bring about social change. In public interest lawyering, general people and community takes the lead in an active process while working hand in hand with lawyers. It is a process that requires the participation of the affected community from onset. Public interest lawyering bridges the paternalistic gap that exist between the lawyer and the end users of the laws within our communities, whereby the communities are disregarded in the articulation of legal issues surrounding them.

Today we understand that the significance of legal empowerment especially towards poverty reduction can be seen with the established link between legal rights and poverty. It is therefore the moral duty of lawyers to teach and educate the public about the law and how to use the law to achieve common good that will positively impact on all the people with the same characteristics. The role of lawyers as agents of change and builders of civil society ought to be made apparent from beginning just as medical doctors have the underlining principle of saving life.

The introduction of law clinics and clinical legal education in Law School has kick started the reform of legal education and incorporation of public interest values. Under this programme, Law School have introduced curriculum based clinical law courses and established law clinics that creates opportunities for law students to provide human rights education and legal aid services to vulnerable groups, persons in places of detention and communities that are legally under-served. Legal Aid Society through its work expands the legal services available for all in need by building and supporting innovative partnerships with nonprofit organizations, law schools and the private sector.

Our program is to build and expand the capacity of a nationwide response system of paralegals providing increasing lawyering skills, expanding volunteerism in the legal profession, and engaging law students in giving back to society today and preparing them as future public interest lawyers. There is of course the obvious debate between the economic instances within our country versus abilities of lawyers to pursue public interest lawyering. However, public interest strategies adopted by practicing lawyers can balance out these economic arguments. In addition, as stipulated above, clinical law students as paralegals are available human resources if adequate networks and links are established. On the above background, we are establishing our PIL - Centre for research based social / public interest lawyering as part of our Legal Aid Centre.

HEAD –
MEMBERS

  • Mr. Aman Shekhar - BA.LL.B. - Sem. IX
  • Mr. Ayush Prakash - BA.LL.B. - Sem. VII
  • Mr. Byron Sequeira - BA.LL.B. - Sem. VII
  • Ms. Shbanam Khan - LL.B. - Sem. III
  • Mr. Nitesh Mishra - LL.B. - Sem. III
  • Ms. Sonali Chauhan - LL.B. - Sem. III