Lack of legal awareness is considered as one of the reasons behind the poor state of enforcement of many laws and regulations formulated by the state for maintaining good governance and law and order in the society. And this is due to absence of efforts, especially on behalf of the state, to promote legal education in the society.

However, the Karnali State government has taken up the initiative to address that gap through the legal sensitization programme. Accordingly, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law is using the medium debate, discussion, dialogue, interaction and training to promote legal education among the populace of the State.

The legal awareness programme is being carried out at the local government level in schools and colleges. This initiative is expected to not only aware the people about various laws applicable in the country but also help enforce those legislation effectively. “Our major goal is to help establish good governance and build a virtuous society,” says Under Secretary at the Ministry, Binod Kumar Gautam. “Basically, we are informing the people about the fundamentals of law, it process of formulation and procedures for enforcement. And this is expected to help bring down the number of crimes as well as giving the people a sense of rule of law in the society,” he said.

The Ministry is giving special focus on spreading information about the new criminal and civil codes that came into effect from August 17, 2018. More than 1,200 people have been directly benefited by the legal awareness programme so far. And the Ministry is targeting to reach to all the 71 local government units of the State within the current fiscal year. “Many people have become accomplice to incidents of crime, also due to lack of knowledge about the relevant laws. Hence, we are trying to reach to the citizens’ level through this initiative,” said Legal Officer at the Ministry, Tulasa Gaire.

Gaire said the participants of the programme are being educated on the definition of law, its importance and rationale, inevitability, adherence and enforcement. Discussion with the Deputy Mayors and Vice-chairs of the local level on various aspects of law and enforcement is also part of the programme, considering their responsibility of leading the Judicial Committees at the local level.

The programme is helping aware students, teachers, parents as well as elected officials about the legal provisions against harmful practices like Chhupadi, polygamy and dowry. “The programme has helped us become more aware about the impact of child marriage and drug abuse on the people as well as on the society,” said teacher at the Janajyoti Secondary School, in Neware, Karan Bhandari.

Likewise, a student at Srikrishna Sanskrit and General Secondary School, Itram, Jeevan Bima Singh said the programme was helpful in sensitizing about the negative impact of drug abuse, child marriage, chhaupadi and dowry.The Karnali State government also expects that this new initiative would motivate the people at large to become moral, disciplined as well as dutiful.

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