Saturday, Dec 03, 2022
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Legal Eagles On The Farm

For centuries, justice has eluded the poor Indian farmer. It's time to empower them.

Legal Eagles On The Farm
Legal Eagles On The Farm
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

While at Nalsar, Suneel formed a student group named Shreya which began a comparative study of panchayat and civil courts. The group went on to work in three villages of Warangal district. With the help of the MRO, MDO (mandal revenue and development officers) and the local police, they studied individual cases. "We mapped problems and held a model village court in Datla. Following that, Datla, a village with one telephone connection and no electricity, reorganised itself. Thirty years of infighting between landlords and peasants was resolved as were land disputes and criminal cases. A mandal president and sarpanch were elected," he says.

Between 2000-04, Suneel continued to visit various villages to work on development and legal awareness programmes. On graduating, he joined the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, run by the AP government. He, then, designed the Legal Assistance Programme for Land (LAPL) which seeks to establish a system that can help the poor fight for their property rights. LAPL enlists the participation of law students. "At any given point, there are 10,000 law students in AP. For 10 days a year, a student should work with LAPL—working in revenue courts, identifying land disputes, conducting local enquiries, assisting lawyers in filing cases and helping in organising village courts. This model is replicable anywhere in the country," says Suneel.

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