India has a vast system of laws, but most citizens are either unaware of their rights under the laws or do not understand how to enforce them. Those in most need of legal assistance face several barriers to accessible, reliable legal information, leading to a wide gap between the law on paper and how it actually operates. Some of the barriers are:
- Lack of awareness: about the fact that the problem they are facing is legal and how the law applies to their situation
- Lack of access to information: most citizens are unsure about where they can access legal information, other than contacting a lawyer. When the legal information is available, it is mostly in English and is complex and filled with jargon. Over 30 crore Indians cannot read and only 10.6% of the population can speak English.
- Complex process: Each legal issue is governed by a complex framework of central legislations, state laws, notifications and multiple justice delivery forums, making the whole process of accessing justice extremely daunting.
- Heavy financial burden: The cost of engaging and/or consulting a lawyer is very high and unaffordable to many.
Also, multiple factors like a user’s identity, income, social status, geographical location and level of education also affect their experience of interacting with the law. For many, the law can become a tool of exploitation, rather than empowerment.
What is Nyaaya?
Nyaaya is an open access, digital resource that provides simple, actionable, reliable and accessible legal information to all Indians, helping you solve your day-to-day legal problems so that you are aware of your rights and feel empowered to seek justice.
Nyaaya was launched in November 2016 and is the first organization in India to focus specifically on making the laws accessible for non-lawyers.
Conceived by Rohini Nilekani and incubated at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (“Vidhi”), our work is made possible by the generous contributions of our patrons, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and Mekin Maheshwari.
We are an independent, non-partisan, apolitical initiative.
What We Do
We believe that “Legal awareness among citizens can lead to an empowered India”.
To create legal awareness, our open access, online platform provides information in the form of explainers, guides, sample forms and templates, toolkits, state wise resources, answers to frequently asked questions and glossary terms in written, audio and video format in English, Hindi and Kannada.
The information is dynamic and relevant with inputs from citizens, government officials, law students, lawyers, academicians and grassroots organizations, through our collaborative platform. It can help you navigate your way to the appropriate justice delivery mechanisms. You can address follow-up questions through the Ask Nyaaya section of the website or our WhatsApp-based helpline.
Nyaaya provides information to help you understand the legal elements of a problem and what your rights and duties are under various laws. We also help you identify the options available before you need to approach a lawyer.
To bridge the tech divide and reach the rural and underserved communities, we create content customised to the needs of audiences and disseminate them with the assistance of partner organisations or local community leaders acting as legal champions. Nyaaya’s Samvidhaan Fellows, comprising district lawyers, will provide handholding support to grassroots communities in navigating the complicated legal system. We also have an Access to Justice network of lawyers, legal experts and law students who work with the fellows and community members to help resolve legal queries and provide paralegal support.
We do not provide legal advice or help solve your legal disputes as a lawyer can.
The team is composed of highly qualified lawyers from reputed institutions with a diverse work background of litigation, grassroots legal awareness work, training, content creation, and legal research.READ MORE
We work with non-government and civil society organizations as well as professionals in various fields who provide comprehensive information on various legal topics. Their ideas, reviews and support help us build a strong community of informed individuals who know their rights and duties under the laws in India.
Access to Justice Network
Nyaaya is supported by law students and legal aid clinics from educational institutions across the country. Currently, we are working with students from the National Law School of India University, Symbiosis Law School Noida, National Law University-Orissa, and West Bengal National University of Judicial Sciences.
Community Based Organisations
Nyaaya’s partner organisations provide Nyaaya with inputs to make legal information relevant and actionable for people on the ground. Parallelly, Nyaaya’s team of lawyers creates customised and comprehensive legal information on topics of particular interest to these organisations’ beneficiaries in English and regional languages.
For practicing lawyers who are keen on helping the grassroots communities, Nyaaya’s Samvidhaan Fellowship is a unique opportunity that facilitates the creation and dissemination of actionable legal information for beneficiaries in their local communities.