Let’s ponder on a situation: Your phone gets lost; you have been challaned twice in the same day — once for taking a wrong U-turn, another for jumping the red light and the police is now threatening you (and your lady friend) with an arrest and that too in the middle of the night... basically a perfect day turning into a nightmare. So, how well-versed are you to get out of this situation? Will you, like a million others, go the usual buttering-up-the-cop way or try-to-get-in-touch-with-that-influential-relative way, or take on the cops with your knowledge of your basic human and legal rights?
Meet Nishant Gambhir, a final year law student, who says, “To be a legal wiz, you don’t need a law degree.” This founder of ‘Lex Do It’, a non-profit social enterprise that is simplifying India’s legal system for the common man, is driven by a mission — educating and empowering citizens by providing free legal assistance, conducting awareness campaigns about basic legal rights and generously using technology in spreading awareness about solutions to most common legal hurdles faced by everyone.
“I got a little frustrated when as soon as I enrolled in a law school, people including my friends and relatives started calling me for simple guidance. And at first, even I was clueless, but as I proceeded with my studies, I got more and more aware of the nuances of the law and started helping everybody.”
“One of our campaigns, ‘Know Your Rights’ is a digital and offline campaign which educates the common man about his rights,” he explains and elaborates, “We use videos, illustrations and one-liners in doing so. The campaign includes a law handbook in both Hindi and English which explains legal jargon in everyday language that everyone can understand. We are also working on a web series of 50 videos and guides on tackling law in everyday life — from how to deal with traffic policemen, to what needs to be done if an official demands a bribe. On the other hand, another interesting campaign called ‘Know Your Guardians’ is focused on helping to bridge the gap between the common man and the guardians of the legal system — that is, the policemen and lawyers.”
According to Nishant, most people believe that the whole system is corrupt. But we rarely realise the amount of work they do and the mental and physical stress they are under. He says, “We have created a series of documentaries on agencies that are out there taking care of people and making a difference. And under the campaign, three documentaries are currently under production. One focuses on the life of a Delhi policeman and the other is about how the Delhi government has been reinventing governance and the third is about the legalities that followed the Delhi Uber rape case.”
He concludes, “We have also been running ‘Lex Insider’ and the organisation is also in the process of publishing two books. May 2016 would mark the beginning of ‘Lex Guardians’, a classroom certificate programme devised for the purpose of teaching young professionals their basic rights, and there is also a mental health arm with mental health experts providing counselling to inmates, police officers as well as others in need.”