Fellowship to Women Lawyers in District Towns of Maharashtra
For justice to filter down to needy women it is imperative for trained and
motivated women lawyers to take up the challenge and engage in pro-bono lawyering.
The district lawyer fellowship programme equips women lawyers with skills and resources to defend women’s rights. These lawyers implement socially relevant legal interventions for poor rural women in their areas.
The project, initiated in 2003, has awarded over 100 fellowships to women lawyers from rural areas across Maharashtra. Each of these lawyers have gone on to do path breaking work in their areas.
Some of the programmes initiated are:
- providing legal aid to women and children
- assisting public prosecutors in crimes against women Rape, Domestic Violence, Trafficking of minor girls
- filing public interest litigations
- conducting legal awareness programmes on issues such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, dowry harassment, HIV/AIDS, Muslim women's rights, atrocities against dalits and tribals
- campaigns against child marriages, anti women practices, trafficking and exploitation.
- sensitivity and commitment to women’s rights and marginalised communities
- their individual caste or religion
- urgency of legal intervention in their area
- recommendations from social organizations
Majlis trains these women lawyers in skills to strategise with a gender perspective and practical knowledge of developments in law. We help them understand legal intricacies of court and help them deal with issues relating to rights of women and children. The work of each fellow is closely monitored
As we assess the impact of this project, we are happy to note that each lawyer is making an impact in regions like Ahmednagar, Nagpur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Pune, and Osmanabad.
Our fellows are an important cadre to be recruited when the government announces special schemes for women which require trained and sensitized legal experts to implement the programmes. Fellows who have been appointed as magistrates, judicial officers, public prosecutors and law officers use their gender sensitization training in their work.
The seeds we have sown will gradually take root, and we are hopeful that eventually they will grow into a formidable structure for defending women’s rights through the active agency of women lawyers.
We are proud to say that today we have a network of over 100 lawyers who we can call upon from far flung districts of Maharashtra to help defend the rights of women.