One thing that most of us take for granted in our life is law. In our daily lives we enter into many contracts though we are unaware of it. We take a bus while going to office in the morning, hardly stopping to think that we are entering into a contract with the bus conductor. In the office we follow certain procedures and are governed by certain rules and regulations. When we go for shopping consumer laws protect us. Law all over surrounds us yet we are ignorant about it.
The world is getting more and more complicated day by day and we can’t afford to take things for granted. Each and every citizen should know his or her right and should at least know where he or she stands in law if a complicated situated arises. Ignorance is bliss and if a situation arises for us to plead ignorance of law then we should be aware of the fact that ignorance of law is no excuse.
There are hundreds of laws that are passed by the Parliament. Even a lawyer doesn’t know most of them; he knows only where to look for them. Neither a lawyer nor a common man can learn all laws but definitely one should know about his rights, duties and laws that govern his day-to-day life. We can consult a lawyer if we have a legal problem, or as soon as it is apparent that a problem is going to arise we can go to a lawyer. Otherwise what one might say – or fail to do – can land him up into some serious trouble.
Knowing law can be helpful in several ways. Ignorance of law is no excuse in a court of law. Therefore, a citizen is supposed to know the law. Secondly, if you learn about your rights, you can assert them. If you are not aware of them you will be losing what is due to you. For example, you might be putting up with the negligence of the doctor or a banker even if there are ways to put things right. Moreover if we are aware of the laws we can easily deal with legal problems arising in our day-to-day life. By having knowledge about law we’ll always gain. For example if a person is a labour having some knowledge about labour laws then his employer will not be able to bluff him in any way by giving him less pay than he deserves or throw him out. The labour will always be in an advantageous position.
As we are citizens of a democracy we should know about our rights as the government are always tempted to take away the basic rights of the citizens. This has happened in the emergencies of the seventies. Several laws like the anti-terrorist laws have been passed that put extra power in the hands of the police and minor officials who misuse their powers to exploit the masses. Thus a person who knows his rights or where to get relief will not come to grief.
Litigation is a costly affair and if one loses a civil case after a long battle it could cause financial ruins. Therefore one must go to the court if he has a reasonable chance of winning and the issues involved are very substantial. We can see that the courts are overcrowded with lots of cases. This serves as a good reason to keep away from the courts. But this could also be seen the other way round. Courts are overcrowded with cases because people have still not lost their hopes of getting justice from them, despite the lawyer’s fees, long delays and uncertain verdicts.
Few examples where knowledge of law can be useful are:
1) In the middle of the night some one knocks at the door. When you open the door you find it’s the police. They arrest you without a proper warrant and without telling you the grounds of arrest. You are confused and don’t know what to do. If you were aware of the fact that according to law you can’t be arrested without a proper warrant or without telling you the grounds of arrest you could have easily got out the trouble.
2) The constitution provides every citizen some Fundamental rights. If a person whose Fundamental rights are been violated and he knows the proper way to get his rights enforce then he could easily enforce his rights in the court of law.
3) If you are under an employer then you should be aware of the laws related to working conditions and pay. If the employer tries to exploit you or gives less wages than what you deserve them you can move to the court of law to get your right enforced.
4) You have published a book and some one copies your book and publishes the same. Now what to do? Confused? At this point of time your should be aware of copyrights whereby you prevent anyone from copying your original contents.
5) Buying and selling of goods or property is very common these days. So in order to prevent any fraud or misappropriation of the goods and property there is Sale of Goods Act.
Thus we can see that there are various laws that govern our day-to-day activities and prevent us from various troubles which we could have entered into if we were ignorant of these laws. Thus one should be aware of the laws that govern his day-to-day life. Law is not only for lawyers or judges but “LAW IS FOR ALL”.
Student, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]