Beyond books: Law students spread awareness on women’s rights

For all appearances,Gurmeet Tandon and Jagruti Rawal from the K C Law College at Churchgate look like typical wide-eyed first year students.

Written by Jaidev Hemmady | Mumbai | Published: February 22, 2009 2:24 am

For all appearances,Gurmeet Tandon and Jagruti Rawal from the K C Law College at Churchgate look like typical wide-eyed first year students. Only that these 20-something girls have taken the initiative of spreading awareness on women issues and their legal remedies among the youth.

The girls,along with some 10 other first year law students,organise plays,presentations and interactive session on women issues and their legal aid at various city colleges. The group has till now visited two women’s colleges and staged plays based on dowry,domestic abuse and sexual harassment at work place.

Says Gurmeet,“It all started when I spoke to few women and realised they knew very little about their rights and remedies to be availed of in case of infringement of their rights. Moreover,this was the case not only with semi-literate women but even with those who go to colleges and institutes. I was always interested in women’s rights and plan to practise it in the future as a lawyer. So,I and Jagruti came up with the idea to do a series of sessions in various colleges where we could inform students,mainly girls,about their rights in society.”

The duo then approached their teachers and college principal,who gave them a go ahead on their project. Sanober Keeshwar,one of the law professors at their college,says,“I was very much impressed with their passion for the project and they seemed genuinely motivated about it. Hence,I and the other teachers decided to help them,and conducted a small briefing for the team members about the women rights and relevant cases to be used as examples. We also told them about various sections of the law that prescribe a remedy for the rights’ violation.”

After conducting plays and interactive sessions in two women’s colleges,the group now wants to visit co-ed colleges. “That’s because we also want to sensitise male students about the issues that women face — especially dowry harassment at homes or sexual exploitation at workplaces,” says Jagruti.

And the two girls seem quite happy with the responses they have received so far. “At one of the two colleges we visited,we stressed on the need to have a cell at every workplace and educational institution to tackle sexual harassment cases. There a teacher told us that they did have an anti-sexual harassment committee but it was never used. She promised to get it started after being inspired by our interactive session,” Gurmeet says.

“That moment was one of the most satisfying moments for us,” the duo say in unison,adding,“The teacher’s promise to get the committee started made us feel that we are doing something worthwhile and productive towards the protection of women’s right.”

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