Infographic: About Nyayika, the first year and future plans

Not everybody has the time and patience to go through our booklet to get an understanding about Nyayika and the kind of work we do. So we came up with this infographic. We have tried to cover most of the important information one would want to know about Nyayika to get a basic understanding. We plan to come up with more in the near future.


An infographic about Nyayika
                    

This infographic can also be viewed here

Case study – Entitlements under social welfare schemes – Amreli

This case relates to 20 workers of Amreli district belonging to four different talukas — Savarkundla, Lathi, Jaffrabad and Dhari. They had filed applications under the workers’ insurance scheme with the district labour officer. The forms were sent to Gandhinagar for clearance. Eight months later, the Director (Insurance) Gandhinagar, rejected the applications saying these were not backed up with necessary documentary proof.

On coming to know about this, Nyayika filed an RTI application to find out how many workers had applied for the insurance scheme in Amreli district, how many were cleared, and how many were pending. Within one month, Nyayika received the reply. It called a meeting in Amreli of the workers whose applications were rejected. About 40 of them turned up for the meeting. During the meeting, the applicants gave reasons for rejection. The main reason cited was insufficient documentary proof.

Nyayika felt that the workers should come under the definition of a consumer as under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as they were consumers of the insurance scheme. A reply was sought through the Consumer Court from the
Director (Insurance), Gandhinagar, as to why the applications were rejected. The Director (Insurance) gave reasons which included lack of documentary proof, such as valid identity card from the District Labour Officer, as the main reason. Another argument was failure of the District Labour Officer to send the applications on time.

Twenty of the applicants agreed to file affidavits before the Consumer Court. Nyayika replied to each of the arguments. The consumer court was told, for instance, that the applications should not be counted from the date of the accident
but beginning of the dispute. It was also argued with if the workers did not have identity card, this was the district labour officer’s problem. Besides, the workers had certificates from the respective village Talatis or Taluka Mamlatdars and that these should be treated as valid. Finally, the Court ruled in Nyayika’s favour, and each of the 20 workers were granted Rs1 lakh as insurance amount in addition to Rs 25,000 as interest for delayed payment. Fees collected by Nyayika was Rs. 8000 from each applicant.

The case had a direct impact on Director (Insurance) Gandhinagar, who used to evade giving proper replies. He was forced to become more vigilant. He used to be summoned to the Consumer Court several times and had to come all the way to Amreli. The workers became aware of the need for identity card, and they came to know that they could approach the Consumer Court to get the insurance money.

Case study – Intervention in a case of child sexual abuse

This case relates to child sex abuse in a school in village Mota Vijuda, Amreli district. A child studying in class five was sexually abused by his school teacher, following which his father lodged a written complaint to the school principal. Based on the complaint, the principal brought the incident to the notice of the district education officer (DEO), who initiated an inquiry. Finding substance in the complaint, the teacher was transferred to another school.

Nyayika learnt of the incident from a local newspaper. It approached the father, the school principal and parents of two other children of the school, and took their statements. The child’s parents regretted that the authorities had not acted
sufficiently against the accused. Nyayika sought copies of the written complaint of the father and the reply he had received from the DEO. An FIR was registered under Sections 4, 8 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 against the teacher. On investigation, the police found that the complaint had basis. Meanwhile, the accused sought anticipatory bail from the court, which was rejected on Nyayika’s plea backed by the public prosecutor. The accused was arrested and is in jail.

It took a month to book the culprit. The case has created considerable awareness among people about Nyayika’s ability to seek justice. The teacher community, on the other hand, has become wary of acting in a highhanded manner.

Nyayika at the National Meet on Social Justice Lawyering

Book launch at the National Meet
Book launch at the National Meet

A public event in Delhi, National Meet on Social Lawyering — organized by the Centre for Social Justice and Lawyers for Change — saw release the book ,“Nyayika – Making Professional Legal Services Accessible”, which deals with how Nyayika carried out its unique experiment over the last one year of its existence as a private non-profit company. Prof Madhava Menon, chancellor, Guru Ghasidas Central University, Chhattisgarh, who released the book, said the Nayika  model of community lawyering offering affordable legal services with sensitivity to the poor and the vulnerable should focus more on people and communities rather than courts. He added, there was a need to move away from court-centric lawyering towards a process of bringing justice to the people by using administrative and other mechanisms outside the courts to enable people to claim their rights and entitlements, and live with dignity.

Among those who took part in the event included founding directors of Nyayika Rajendra Joshi, founder of SAATH Charitable Trust;  Gagan Sethi, founder of Janvikas; Nupur Sinha, executive director of the Centre for Social Justice; and Satyajeet Mazumdar, CEO of Nyayika.

Providing quality professional legal services, both litigative and non-litigative, through trained lawyers and paralegals in its law centres, Nyayika addresses one the main barriers in access to quality legal services for people from the middle and lower income groups – the high fees of a lawyer – by providing its services for a fixed and affordable fee payable according to a payment schedule. Those unable to pay are offered free services. Nyayika follows transparent processes, assures speedy disposal of cases and is accountable towards its clients, a client friendly standardized operating procedure, and a robust monitoring and information system across eight centres in Gujarat – Ahwa, Modasa, Mandvi, Bharuch, Palanpur, Amreli, Vadodara, and Ahmedabad.

The book can be downloaded by clicking here.

[This post was originally published in Counterview.org here]

Publication: Nyayika – Making professional legal services accessible

Nyayika released its first publication, “Nyayika – Making professional legal services accessible” at the National Meet on Social Justice Lawyering held at New Delhi on the 9th of November, 2014. The booklet was released by Professor N.R. Madhava Menon. The booklet recounts the experience of Nyayika in the first year of its operations and contains the vision and mission of Nyayika, its values, processes and a few case studies. The booklet can be viewed and downloaded from the link below:

Case study – Conciliation in a case of domestic violence

[Names have been changed to protect identity]

Mr. N and Ms. D were in a relationship. They decided to secretly get married and got a registered marriage done on 20th October, 2000. Thereafter, they started living with their respective parents. However, their parents soon came to know of this after which Ms. D moved in to the residence of Mr. N. Ms. D continued her studies, obtained a degree and joined a school as a dance teacher. Meanwhile, Mr. N was unemployed because of which his parents started to scold and quarrel with him frequently. This resulted in the couple moving out of the house and living independently in the year 2003. Ms. D managed the household expenses and sent her husband to an African country for a job. Somehow it did not work out and Mr. N had to return to India in the year 2005. Ms. D gave birth to a boy in the same year. In
the year 2011, Ms. D managed to purchase a house from her savings. She also had a second child, a daughter in the same year. Mr. N was still unemployed. He developed a habit of drinking and hitting Ms. D. He also started being suspicious of the work of Ms. D and this led to frequent arguments. On 27th of May, 2014, Mr. N started a quarrel and Ms. D retaliated. On hearing the shouting, neighbors intervened and called up Ms. D’s mother. Ms. D left for her mother’s place at night.

Ms. D approached Nyayika on 28th of May, 2014. Our lawyer listened to what Ms. D had to say. Initially, Ms. D wanted a divorce but then we counselled her and informed her of the process and all pros and cons. Thereafter, she decided that to start with, she wanted to issue a legal notice to her husband through Nyayika and ask him to be present for mutual conciliation at the Nyayika office. A notice was served to Mr. N on 2nd of June, 2014 and the conciliation was fixed for the 17th of June. The conciliation was held on the 17th in presence of Ms. D’s mother. Mr. N was given a hearing after which both parties put forth their terms and conditions for entering into a compromise. Ms. D wanted an assurance from Mr. N that he will stop drinking and hitting her. Mr. N wanted an assurance from Ms. D that she will not get him to vacate the house they were living in provided he followed what he had assured in the compromise agreement. A compromise agreement was entered into accordingly and both parties signed the same in the presence of a notary on 18th of June, 2014.

The fees charged by Nyayika for the entire procedure was Rs. 1000 only.

Case study – Conciliation in an employment dispute case

[Names have been changed to protect identity]

Mr. A (the Complainant) was employed at ABC Infosoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (the Employer) since 19th December 2013. The Employer terminated the services of Mr. A on 10th of April, 2014 through a termination letter sent on email. No termination notice was issued to Mr. A even though his contract with the Employer required one month’s notice to be issued. Mr. A’s salary for the month of March was also not paid. When this issue was raised by Mr. A before the Employer, it was alleged that Mr. A had deleted data from the Employer’s PC and hence his services were terminated without notice.

Mr. A approached Nyayika on the 9th of May, 2014. Nyayika sent a legal notice to the Employer on 13th May, 2014 demanding payment of the salary due, which was Rs. 40,000. The Employer in turn filed a complaint before the police on 16th May, 2014 against Mr. A for the loss caused to the Company from the data so deleted. The Employer then replied to the legal notice on 19th May, 2014 agreeing to settle the dispute through conciliation. The first conciliation sitting was held at the police station where Mr. A was accompanied by our lawyer. The employer agreed to take back the police complaint and agreed to pay part of the salary due to Mr. A. The second conciliation sitting was held at a café where after much negotiation, the Employer agreed to pay a sum of Rs. 25000 to Mr. A to settle the dispute. The fees charged by Nyayika from Mr. A for the entire process was Rs. 1500 only.