Published: 05th February 2022
Law students of KL University surveyed three AP villages to make them litigation-free. Here's what they found
This was a pilot project and, soon, this will be expanded to all the other villages that KL Deemed-to-be University has adopted
Andhra Pradesh Legal Services Authority and KL College of Law, KL Deemed-to-be University, Vijayawada, have made significant progress regarding making the villages the varsity adopted litigation-free. They did this by conducting an extensive two-day door-to-door survey (January 5 and 6, 2022) in three of the eight villages they have adopted — Kunchannapalli, Chiravuru and Kolanukonda in Tadepalle Mandal, Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh — and it was executed by 100 students from BBA, LLB and LLM programmes.
The idea was to make the villages litigation-free and this was done by offering free legal aid services, counselling, arbitrations and conciliation process. Awareness services were also provided. For example, before the survey began, pamphlets were distributed and post the survey, villagers were encouraged to approach the Legal Aid Cell at KL College of Law anytime for any legal problem that needs resolving. "We could choose our own methodology to conduct this grassroots survey and decide how many days we would like to do this for. This is actually a pilot we would soon like to extend to the other adopted villages," shared Dr KI Pavan Kumar, Associate Professor & HOD, College of Law.
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Assistant Professor G Vinodini Devi added that, "We trained students and they even put up skits in the villages so as to attract public attention and make the villages aware of what we are trying to do." With the help of a questionnaire, which the students could fill out on behalf of the villagers, they carried out the survey. This contained questions related to property, family, availing government schemes, if the village volunteers appointed for every village were helping out and so on. She informs that, totally, 800 citizens, including 265 households, were covered. About 250 homes with issues were identified. Among this, 188 were issues related to drainage, government scheme applications, pension, waste management, streetlights and more, while 24 were purely related to litigation. Once the survey concluded, the data was analysed and classified by students. They also spread awareness about Spandana, the public grievance redressal platform set up by the state government.
G Pandu Ranga Reddy, a final-year student of LLB, informed that in Kunchannapalli, there were quite a few municipality-related issues. "One villager was blocking the drainage and this was a persistent problem for five to six years. When we escalated this to the secretary of the village, she immediately sent ten workers and sorted out the drainage problem," the student shared. They even helped out a resident who has been separated from her husband for years now but is yet to receive a divorce decree. Basically, as far as possible, family matters were settled by counselling and when it comes to issues related to municipality, secretaries of the respective villages were approached or even higher authorities.
"Students got to communicate with villagers, understand their problems and understood how to approach and resolve issues," says Pavan Kumar and added that, "The most important trait of a law practitioner is identifying legal problems from the facts stated and then, finding the solution for it. Additionally, around 50 students have been deployed in the villages to follow up on all that was discussed with the villagers." G Sri Ashish Reddy, a third-year student of BBA LLB, said that this opportunity helped go beyond their books and since, "The main objective was counselling, not filing cases, we learnt about that too," he said.