Some of the members of the committee along with their head Kamal Kishore Pathak (standing behind) in Dhanbad on Wednesday.
Picture by Gautam Dey
Dhanbad Law College has joined hands with an NGO to constitute a legal aid committee, aimed at redressing cases of human rights violation in the district.
Formed on November 30, the 11-member panel is headed by a lecturer of the college, Kamal Kishore Pathak.
Among the members, eight are students of the cradle — Babli Kumari and Arti Kumari from third year; Piyush Kumar Anand, Durga Singh, Divya Kumari and Sandip Kumar from second year; and Ram Chandra Mahto and Adit Anand Prasad from first year.
District counsel of Human Rights Law Network, Dhanbad chapter, Shadab Ansari and its member Santosh Singh complete the committee’s composition.
The network is a collective of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the use of the legal system to advance human rights in India. These two will thus provide the much-needed guidance to the committee in its endeavour and will fight the cases in the lower court. In case of higher courts, they will suggest the lawyers who can take up the cases.
The panel will start visiting different parts of Dhanbad district, especially the rural areas, from next week to detect cases of human rights violations and help people get justice.
“Our priority will be to provide legal help to economically and socially backward section of the society, particularly the tribals. We will come up with a detailed plan of action during our next meeting on Sunday” Ansari said.
He added that their first stop would be at Wasseypur.
When asked what kind of cases they will take up, Ansari cited the example of an AIDS patient in the coal town.
“Our network is fighting the case of a third year graduation student, who after the death of her husband (who was also suffering from AIDS) has been thrown out by her in-laws. The victim is seeking shelter at her husband’s place and further wants her in-laws to bear the cost of her studies,” said Ansari.
He added that the committee’s primary focus would also be on similar victims, who could not afford to take their cases to court and were thus deprived of justice.
“The field experience will prove useful for the students and the committee may be extended in near future by incorporating more such members,” Ansari said.
Panel head Pathak said the committee would also take up issues related to Right to Education (RTE), MNREGA et al during their visit to the rural areas.
“We have already conducted survey of around 29 schools in Topchanchi block under the Human Rights Law Network. We have noticed gross violation of RTE Act and will file a PIL against the school administration soon,” Ansari said.
A similar survey would be conducted with the members of the committee in Wasseypur, Ansari added.