FWLD - Working for Non-Discrimination and Equality

Legal Helpline

Legal aid stands as an effective tool to every nation for accessing justice to those people who cannot afford legal representation and access to the court system or legal procedures. Legal Aid holds basic principle of equality before law and comprises right to a fair trial and right to counsel. Many international laws have comprehended the importance of legal aid for an impartial and non- discriminatory justice. Legal aid is viewed as a strong part for access to justice.

Human Rights Committee in its General Comment No. 13 has stated that every person has the right to be legally represented before the adjudicating authority even if s/he does not have sufficient means to pay for legal assistance. The Legal Aid Act, 1997 (2054) have compulsion the need of District Legal Aid Committee in each district for easy access of legal aid provided through stipendiary lawyer (Baitanik Wakil).

FWLD has prioritized legal aid services from its inception. FWLD is continuously providing legal aid services pre and post pandemic COVID-19. During the period of lockdown and prohibitory order followed by the pandemic COVID-19, FWLD engaged itself in providing pro bono legal helpline services, legal counseling through various communicable mediums like telephone and Google form. The pro bono services included providing legal information, advice and consultation to the people who do not have access to legal information. In the present context of post lockdown but still a pandemic situation, FWLD has not stopped providing pro bono services and legal counseling to victims.

Brief detail of the cases where FWLD provided legal aid can be summarized as follows:

Marital Rape: A relative of 19 years old Barsha (name changed) of Sunsari district contacted us and informed that Barsha is a victim of a child marriage and her husband has been raping her for long time. But she is compelled to bear the pain she is going through as she has no safe place to go. Informant further said that she wants to file a case of marital rape against her husband if she gets a safe house to stay. FWLD contacted Superintendent of Police (SP) of the Sunsari district to inform her situation. FWLD was told to contact the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of the district. Accordingly, FWLD contacted to the DSP and requested to provide protection of Barsha immediatly. FWLD further coordinated with the Director of Maya Ghar to arrange a safe house for Barsha. However, during the coordination Barsha expressed that she wants to go her mother’s house rather than going to any safe house. Therefore, FWLD coordinated with many people to send her back to her mother’s house safely.

Rape: Gyanu Chaudhary, mother of Ashma Chaudhary (name changed) aged 6, contacted us regarding drafting a rape case complaint. She and her husband both are labourers and they work throughout the day. Her daughter Ashma Chaudhary remains alone in the home during the day. The perpetrator Arjun Chaudhary, aged 13, resident of the same area took the chance and was able to take Ashma to an empty house near Kattha mill of Godawari Municipality Ward no 5 around 10:30 am and raped her on March 19, 2020. Gyanu was aware of the incident only after Ashma went outside to buy biscuit and saw the perpetrator on the road and came home crying. FWLD helped Gyanu write and file a complaint against Arjun regarding rape charges according to Section 219 crime relating to rape and compensation as per section 228 of Criminal Code 2017.

Domestic Violence: Lila (name changed) married Rajendra Thapa around 9 years ago. They had a love marriage. From their conjugal relationship a daughter was born and she is now 8 years old. Meanwhile, her husband started planning for second marriage and hence he started physically abusing Lila. She asked for help from the judicial committee. However, they informed her that discussion will not be carried out due to lockdown. Therefore, she asked for legal consultation. FWLD suggested her to live separately taking the partition filing a case. She also wanted to get divorce and take custody of her daughter, so she filed a case for partition share of her and her daughter with divorce in Bardiya District Court and the case was decided in her favor on June 29, 2020.

Human Trafficking: The complainant is from Biratnagar and studying in grade 10. On 1 June 1 2014 she came back from coaching class in the morning and was on her way to have breakfast in a shop where the perpetrator, interrupted her way and told her that her friend is searching for her. And she went with him to meet her. However, on the way near another school, the other two perpetrators were already sitting there near Bolero Car. She asked the first perpetrator whereabouts of her friend but he covered her face with a piece of cloth and forcefully put her in the vehicle. They took her to Farbisgunj of India and fed her intoxicated food. They locked her in a room at Kapashada. They sexually assaulted her. Her father with the help of Prawasi Nepali Mitra Manch and Delhi Police rescued her from that place. They handed her to her father. She came to police office with a representative from the organization and filed a complaint against the perpetrators as per Section 3 of Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, 2007 for the crime as per Section 4(2) (a) of the same Act and demanded punishment as per Section 15(1) (e) (1) and compensation as per Section 17 of the same Act. The complaint was registered however, two accused were absconding. One of the three accused had already given a statement for his and other accused’s involvement in the crime. The District Court ordered 15 years of imprisonment and 1 lakh fine on human trafficking, 7 years imprisonment and 50 thousand rupees fine and additional 2 years of imprisonment and compensation to the victim for hostage-taking. For the absconding accused, the district court ordered postponement. The High Court also upheld the decision of the District Court. The accused filed an application for a review of the case in the Supreme Court and was accepted. The victim party in the case wanted FWLD to represent their case in the Supreme Court and hence we asked for necessary documents as well. They have handed over all the related documents to us and we have started preparing for the legal representation in the court.

Citizenship: Sita (name changed) does not have citizenship certificate. She wanted to know the procedure of acquiring the citizenship certificate. However, her husband is already dead and she is second wife of her husband. She has a son who is currently residing abroad and he has citizenship under his father’s name. Sita went to ward office for recommendation but the officers refused to provide recommendation from her husband’s name as her husband is dead and there is no marriage registration certificate. She then contacted her parents who live out of valley. But her parents suggested her to make citizenship from her husband’s side as it will be easy for her and she is already married. However, she informed us that she has a copy of her parent’s citizenship and her own son’s citizenship certificate as well. She also told that her husband’s brother is ready to identify her as his brother’s wife. Hence, FWLD talked to the concerned ward officer and requested him to provide recommendation after field and the brother’s affidavit. The ward officer informed that due to surge in corona virus cases the District Administration Office has halted the service and therefore the ward office has also temporarily halted the related service and will provide her with the recommendation after the service resumes.

Theft: Damu Shahi (name changed) age 16 and Raju BK (name changed) from Banke District were arrested in a theft case and were sent to child rehabilitation centre for committing theft. The maternal uncle of Damu Shahi contacted us to inquire about the court procedures. He was called on the office as he requested for the requirement to get detail information and consultation regarding the situation of the case. FWLD assisted in writing an application to get a copy from the court in order to get information regarding the situation of the case. The children were arrested on June 12, 2020 and are currently in the Child Rehabilitation Centre for trial of the case.

Rape and Human Trafficking: Saathi Organization contacted us regarding rape and human trafficking case of Latika (name changed), age 32, was working in Bangalore, India as a housemaid since June of 2019. She met Rakesh B.K, age 27, in India. He used to tell her that he wanted to marry her and on December 8, 2020, he took her to a hotel in Kargari, Bangalore, where he raped her. Then, he continuously had sexual relations with her without her consent. He did not want her to leave for Nepal. Observing his behaviour, she came to know that he is planning to sell her. Therefore, she continuously told him that she wanted to leave and go to Nepal. On June 16, 2020, they both came to Nepal through Jamunaha, an India border area of Nepalgunj Sub Metropolitan Ward no. 15. However, he ran away without her knowing. She is in quarantine in Mahendra Multiple Campus. In this Saathi organization requested us to draft a case of rape and human trafficking against Rakesh B.K. Hence, FWLD assisted in drafting the FIR.

Citizenship: Kamana (name changed) and her son were living in a squatter area near Kupondole. She was married to a man from Rolpa and her son was born. However, her husband disappeared since then and has not been in contact till now. She registered her son’s birth certificate from her maternal home’s ward office at Dhulikhel. Her son has passed grade 12 now. However, the same ward office did not issue recommendation stating verbally that the recommendation needs citizenship of her husband. We suggested her to go back to the ward office and fill up the form of Schedule 1 relating to citizenship of descent. Submit that form and demand for the recommendation. If they provide recommendation then, it will be okay. However, if they reject again, she should ask them to provide a written objection for not providing the recommendation and requested her to contact us again for further support.

Right of Widow: Sita (name changed) was married to Bikash around 4 years ago. They have a daughter aged 2 years old. Her husband worked in Kuwait. However, he died there because of Covid-19. After his death, she claimed his insurance, provident fund etc. however, the director of the office asked to mention the name of her mother in law as well. She is not in the situation to live in her house and that is why she has been living at her maternal house. She used to live in her maternal house and used to come home only when her husband returns. She therefore asked us about the rights of a widow. We informed her that she has the same rights as other members of the house have. She can even apply for partition of property and can live separately if she wants. She and her daughter will get her husband’s share of property and if any problem arises, she can file a case in the court.

Defamation: A woman came to FWLD for legal consultation and expressed the inconvenience she felt at work during her live session on social media. She never pointed out anyone’s name. However, a man who thought himself as the target of the matter she talked about in the live session has given interview on various social media platforms that insulted her reputation and the man even filed a case against her on Kathmandu District Court for defamation. We suggested the woman that we will watch the interviews given against her by the man and other people and will decide on how to go forward in the matter. In the meantime we suggested her to submit the rejoinder within the period as the court sends the summon notice.

Property Right of Daughters: Rima and Sita (name changed) lost both their father and mother a long time ago. They have been living with their brothers and the brothers took all the parental property and did not regard both of them as coparceners. They are unmarried and have been living in same house but they have different kitchen. Both sisters are unemployed and this period of lockdown became more difficult for them due to lack of money. They tried to talk to their brothers to provide them their share of property but they denied. Legal consultation was provided that they can file case of partition of property as they are rightful coparceners. They told us that they will again try talking to their brothers and if they deny this time, they will file the case and will need our support.

Legal Helpline

A Legal Clinic and Information Center established by Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) is a digital means of ensuring access to justice for victims of basic human rights violations at times of emergency and disaster. Currently, it extends its services for the victims of Reproductive Health Rights (RHR) violations and Gender Based Violence (GBV). The service includes legal counseling, referral services to RHR information center, and necessary legal assistance. Utmost importance is given to the victim/survivor’s immediate needs and confidentiality throughout the legal counseling and assistance.

The concept of legal clinic and information center finds its root in FWLD’s initiation of a Legal Helpline Service at the advent of Covid-19 pandemic when the country wide lockdown had halted all movements which resulted into increased GBV and sexual violence. The legal service was provided through lawyers of FWLD throughout the country. The objective of the legal helpline service was to provide any necessary legal information, advice and consultation to the people who would not have access to these information otherwise during the period of lockdown enforced to curb the spread of the Covid-19. It was an effort to give back to society the way we can and to help people in need of that information.

Reproductive Health Right Legal Clinic

On 25th November 2021, during the 16 days activism against Gender-Based Violence, FWLD launched a Reproductive Health Rights Legal Clinic (RH Legal Clinic) to ensure the realization of the rights guaranteed by the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights Act, 2018, Regulation 2020 and Interim Guideline 2021. Currently, it is operational in all 7 provinces and 77 districts covering the local levels. Through this, we provide free legal counselling, referral services and necessary legal assistance to individuals whose rights are violated or at the risk of violation against the rights guaranteed by SMRHR laws of Nepal.

Detail information is provided in the following poster.

Reproductive Health Rights Information and Counseling Center

FWLD has been supporting YoSHAN, a youth led organization, to establish and operate a Reproductive Health Rights Information and Counseling Center to provide all the necessary information related to SRHR and provide counseling services to youths and individuals seeking assistance or knowledge. Particularly, the center provides information regarding safe abortion and contraception among other SRHR issues. It also provides basic counseling related to SRHR. More importantly, the Center provides referral service, depending on the service seeker’s need, to legal assistance, psychological counseling and medical services.The Center was established from January, 2022 and is determined to assist in effective implementation of SRHR ensured by RH laws and achieving Constitutional spirit of guaranteeing safe motherhood and reproductive health rights as a fundamental rights.

Legal Assistance to the People without Civil Documentations

FWLD provides legal assistance which includes legal counseling, drafting of the case, filing of the case, pleading of the case and drafting of any legal application until the final verdict of the court to the people without Civil Documentations particularly citizenship certificate and birth registration from all over the country including Kathmandu valley.


Legal Assistance in Province 1

FWLD provides legal assistance for the cases relating Gender Based Violence. It also provides legal assistance for the cases relating to ‘Civil Documentation’ and in the legal issues relating to Refugees in Province 1.


Legal Helpline Service for GBV

Legal Helpline Service is a pro bono service from lawyers of Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) to provide any necessary legal information, advice and consultation to the people who would not have access to legal information otherwise during this period of lockdown enforced to curb the spread of the corona virus infection.

The service started from April 3, 2020 and will continue till and in times when the prohibitory order in place. We also provide our legal helpline service through Google forms in both Nepali and English languages in order to expand our legal helpline services. Altogether, we have published three factsheets summarizing the cases received through telephone and also through Google forms along with our interventions.


Legal Helpline Service for Child Protection

The Act relating to Children, 2075 defines a person under the age of 18 as a child. In this context, FWLD has been providing free legal aid to the victims of child protection and various forms of violence against children such as child marriage, child sexual abuse and child labor.