Interview with Ms. Vani Sharma, Faculty Member at Legal Aid Clinic, Galgotias University, Greater Noida

Interview with Ms. Vani Sharma, Faculty Member at Legal Aid Clinic, Galgotias University, Greater Noida

Interview with Ms. Vani Sharma, Faculty Member at Legal Aid Clinic, Galgotias University, Greater Noida

1. Tell me about yourself/your organization in brief.
I am Vani Sharma, an academician. I did bachelors in law from Army Institute, Punjab University, masters from Delhi University and my PhD from National Law University, Bhopal.
I am presently working as a Faculty Member of Legal Aid Clinic, School of Law, Galgotias University. I joined GU in 2018 and have been associated with Legal aid Clinic since a year.
Galgotias University is one of the wide-known universities and has produced distinguished legal professionals over the years. Further, the institution has been working for imparting legal aid actively.

2. What is the importance of study of Socio-Legal issues in legal field?
Socio-legal issues come in the ambit of law and society both. It is an important aspect of legal education that helps the students to have a better understanding of the correlation between the legal system and its societal impact. Not just the students, any person remotely associated with the legal field should have a clear understanding of the socio-legal sphere. Just like I got a clear picture about the Motor Vehicles Act due to Jst. Midha, Legal Advisor of Galgotias University who contributed closely in making accidental claims easier.

3. Tell me about your initiatives in legal aid & awareness field as a law student and now as a law teacher.
As a Professor and Faculty Member, I have arranged various Legal Aid Camps on a plethora of socio-legal issues such as women empowerment, child abuse, human rights and many more. My work mostly is associated with grooming the students to enhance them as legal professionals and motivate them so that they could aid the people who are in dire need of it.
4. Tell me your students’ initiatives in legal aid, awareness, socio-legal issues.
The Clinic has conducted various legal awareness programs in the form of workshops, nukkad naatak and awareness camps among people, particularly illiterates and economically weaker sections of the community, living in remotely backward areas near the Law School such as the villages of Dankaur and Bhatta. We’ve taken initiatives to widen their understanding about their legal rights and duties in order to make them aware of the availability of various social welfare activities sponsored by the State and Central Government.
The legal aid committee has ensured that awareness drives/surveys are spread not only around the university but far and wide around Delhi, Noida and Greater Noida. We have a separate office space where legal aid members are present to assist the people who come with their grievances by giving them legal advice or drafting complaints on their behalf. The clinic has a separate phone number as well to ensure more accessibility.

5. What is the role of higher judiciary in legal aid & awareness in India?
Judiciary in India has independent powers according to the Constitution. It’s the duty of judiciary to protect and safeguard citizens’ rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. In my viewpoint, its focus should be on providing justice to the underprivileged state of society and ensuring a speedy redressal of complaints.

6. What is the role of Government in legal aid & awareness in India?
It is the duty of government to ensure justice to all without discriminating among the citizens. In order to ensure a proper implementation of the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987, the Government should be actively involved by organizing proper awareness campaigns to inform people about their rights concerning free legal aid.

7. What are your views on present situation of legal aid and awareness initiatives in India?
The concept of legal aid emerged more than three decades back with the passing of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 but due to lack of awareness, people are still unable to make use of their rights provided under the Act. NALSA and DSLSA are engaged in taking important measures to ensure justice to citizens but the change needs to be done at grassroots level.

8. What are your views on effectiveness of Legal Service Authority Act, 1987?
It's a beautiful act of service which is not just there as a manifest of free legal aid services but also ensuring practically instrumental service at national, state and  district levels. DSLSA has done a fabulous work to help the uneducated, illiterate and people below the poverty line in and around Delhi NCR. As an advocate myself, I highly appreciate this initiative.

9. What are your views on present situation of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India?
It was a great strategy of social action brought by Jst. P.N. Bhagwati and Jst. V.R. Krishna Iyer. The concept of locus standi got improved due to it. PIL is a growing initiative and a mode of establishing correlation between the privileged and unprivileged.
The courts need to be more approachable and disposal of PILs should be done at a steady rate by improving the overall infrastructure.

10. What advise you would like to give to the future Advocates/Professors/Scholars with regards to socio-legal issues, legal aid and awareness initiatives?
I would just advise them to be passionate about their field and their work.

11. Message to ProBono India.
I would like to praise the institution for such great work and the achievements it has secured in such short span of time. I look forward to working with ProBono India some day.

Interview taken by Shivangi Agarwal, Intern at Pro Bono India and 1st year Law student at Galgotias University, Greater Noida
Date: - 20 April, 2023
Place: - Greater Noida