In pursuit of justice

Citizens receiving legal aid counselling in Kailali district.

Sunita Chaudhary, 35, of Darakh VDC-5 in Kailali district was a victim of domestic abuse, and suffered from the same helplessness and insecurity that many women in Nepal are faced with as a result of gender inequality in household matters. Finally, after being thrown out of her home, along with her son, Sunita sought help.

Upon discovering that a Socio-Legal Aid Centre (SLAC) mobile legal aid clinic was being organised in her village, and approached them for support in seeking legal recourse.

Devi Lal Chaudhary, SLAC Legal Aid lawyer, said, “We did not have any other option but to seek legal remedy from the courts considering the extent of her husband's abuse and his failure to abide by any of our suggestions.” The Centre duly filed a partition case on Sunita and her child's behalf and the Kailali District Court took up the case.

After mediation provided by SLAC, Sunita and her husband resolved the case out of court by agreeing that he would cede one third of his land to her, and a further 18 kattha to their son. The Centre oversaw the legal transfer of land title. Sunita’s legal protection of her property rights ensured that neither she, nor her son, will be made homeless.

Sunita is among 300 such beneficiaries in Kailali district alone. Redefining the scope of legal aid, such centres operate in five districts in the mid and far western regions and providing legal aid, psycho-social counselling, and referral services to the indigent, as well as immediate medical expenses to victims of domestic violence.

Sunita is grateful for the SLAC services, stating that she is “not worried anymore as I have a piece of costly land in my own name.” She says that she would recommend other people in similar situations approach the SLAC for legal support.

Highlight:

  • Over 1600 people benefitted from remedial legal aid services in 2014, including over 1000 women and vulnerable individuals who received legal representation

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