In order to figure out my intervention in Cgnet swara I would like to first state the different kinds of issues where I can give the legal intervention:-
1. Forest Rights Act:- Issues in this part are mainly with the non-implementation of the act. The act lays down a procedure through which land rights can be obtained. Many calls in this issue are concerned with not getting the rights under the act from the Forest Rights Committee, in the Gram Sabha. In this regard the pattern of action that generally follows, as seen from the calls, is agitation. I can suggest the appeal procedure to the requisite people and ask them.
Many a times these orders can rejected as these are not supported with reasons which violates 11(a) of the rules. I am thinking of spreading this information also along as they go for appeal, the authorities are reluctant in following them.
Summary:- Issues can be dealt by just reiterating the procedure of filing/appeal to the people and possibly providing some additional information of how applications should be dealt with while giving forest rights.
Comments:- I would also encourage people to also call and report in cgnet swara about the failures of the local administration in performing their duty. For example:- if rule 11(a) [as mentioned above] is not complied i would start advising them to report the same in cgnet swara.
2. Criminal Matters:- Criminal Matters can be divided into two parts. One part consists of complaining. In this part we can help the callers by just giving the detail of the District Magistrate (I have compiled the districts official/ residence phone number of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and individual districts of Odhissa and I am yet to check if individual districts’ official link are there for all the districts or not) Furthermore each state’s police force has a helpline which we can provide.
The second part of Criminal Matters is in regards to defense of innocent person who are taken up by the police. The most important relief is to provide a legal counsel once the person has been arrested. This matter is itself difficult but in this regard specially I am making a list of lawyers who could be contacted by the family of the arrested person to get legal help. I can also send NHRC reports but my experience so far has been that requisite information(ie age of the victim, full address of the victim, name of the local police officer and thana address and date in which the arrest or violence occurred) are not available in filing the reports so I am still trying to figure out an efficient way in making the report. As of now I am calling the reporter or the local contact repeatedly to get the information. It is important that we also start telling out field persons to asks for these information when making a report of people who are falsely arrested for faster action. I am also conveying the same to the persons with whom I am trying to file a NHRC complaint.
Summary:- In cases of complaints petition can be to NHRC after getting requisite information and the affected persons can be told of giving private complaint to the District Collector for which purpose the collectors residence/office phone number shall be given. This complaint is permissible under law and are granted as FIR. In cases of defense again NHRC complaints can be made and in cases where detention is more that 24 hours then lawyers can be contacted.
Comments: In my opinion in the case of false implication and illegal detention we have advise the people by giving the lawyers contacts for immediate relief . But they must talk to the lawyers themselves. I will figure out which lawyer can take cases for which areas.
3. Women’s Rights:- This is a overlapping issue between like criminal issues- domestic violence, rape, etc and other issues like pregnancy pension, widow pensions and other issues which comes under rural development sector and certain Constitutional rights like equal opportunity to women etc. In situations of all of these we can call a lawyer only if the case is of major crisis. Major crisis depends on factors like number of persons affected, and some kind of organised agitational capacity is present in the area. Again the decision of litigation would depend on this organised agitators.
Our action in this regard phone numbers of district magistrates could be send to the reporters, and sending complaints to the National Commission for Women, NHRC, District Magistrates etc.
Summary:- This matter will overlap a great deal with criminal matters So private complaint information will also be applicable. Other than that actions could be taken through NCW petitions and NHRC petitions (as soon as requisite information is available). Actions could also be taken in the Public Grievance Cell and General letters.
Comments:– This is one area where I can send a lot of letters and online petition through the Public Grievance Cell.
4. Development Matters:- This would include issues in the Rural Development Act, NREGA, and local administration. In these cases the intervention could be again send complaints in Public Grievance Cell, Send complaints to District Collector and the requisite Ministry. ( I am working on making the list also.)
Comments:-In these regards I shall be making a lot of general letters and petitions in Public Grievance Cell.
Mode of Working:-
Thus I shall be engaged as part of my day to day activity is to figure out which kinds of petition are easily submittable, for example as of now the Public Grievance on general matters have been easily submittable.
Thereby I am going to make lists of emails of different departments, Both National and State of certain ministries like Ministry of Human Resource, Ministry of Tribal Affairs etc. I will also make a chart out what kind of problems depends on which ministry. Like Forest matters depend on Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Old age pension schemes are related to Human Resource Department deals with Educational schemes like mid-day meals. Etc. An online complaint can be made in all these areas in the Public Grievance Cell.
Clarification of Certain terms:-
General letters:- letters to the ministry and collectors are general emails sending the information of the message received to the local administrator. In these letters we should convey that whatever be the message our only request is to have an official inquiry in the matter and take necessary decision. These letters to the ministry and collectors are thus general letters requesting the authority to listen to the message and take appropriate legal step.
Requisite Information:- for filing official complaints on behalf of CGNET SWARA as part of pro bono (in public spirit) complaints certain information like Name of the victim, age, full address and Name of the Perpetrator( be it local police officer or local person or local administrating officer) and his address and in certain cases Date of birth, Date of incident etc are required. These are being termed as requisite information.
I would have to take some help of moderation encourage team and find ways to work in coordination with them to get the requisite information for NHRC. The different lists that I am creating could also be sent to the moderation team, especially list of phone numbers of District Collectors and different helplines where the reporters can make calls themselves.
In terms of getting personal contacts with administration I will speak to Ruby ji, Prashun ji and other people to develop a network, if possible, with specific persons in the administration.
I have spoken to few lawyers in Madhya Pradesh and my agenda of communication with the lawyers is to be aware of CGnet Swara and the fact that sometimes affected persons may call them to get specific legal advise in their case. For example Jagdishji wanted to pursue a case of land rights he has been already contacted with a lawyer. Other than that I shall try to make a different list of criminal lawyers who could be sought for in cases of illegal arrests and wrongful detention.
In my opinion in Madhya Pradesh though as of now there are not much serious cases apart from Jagdish ji’s to suggest to a lawyer as of now. But this network with lawyers also aims to connect human rights based media and human rights litigation.
In Orissa and Chattisgarh we might need a criminal lawyer who could be of use during false fabrication of cases. Although, as I have learnt from you that Sudha ji from Chhattisgarh has already worked with you. So I shall try to reconnect with her in Chhattisgarh. In Andhra and other places the connectivity of lawyers shall be on such general lines. I can also go down to Bangalore and talk in alf about what other larger contacts we can use for such general connectivity.
I am also yet to fully ascertain our limitation in terms of actions that I am taking. As of now we are only able to send complaints to Public Grievance Cell and General letters. NHRC and NCW are two places where I am yet to file a complaints because of requisite information.