Annual Report 2001-2002
This Year, the Foundation organised six legal awareness programmes in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. The legal literacy programmes designed by the Foundation have proved to be a huge success and have to date been attended by nearly 100,000 men and women throughout the country. The legal literacy programme has been designed to educate people about their legal rights and also to create an awareness about the various shortcomings in our legal system. Through our legal literacy programme we have also been effective in rendering free and timely legal aid. These camps were aimed at spreading a movement encompassing educational upliftment, economic self-reliance, social development and legal reforms. They have received a very positive response and have been successful in communicating the message of equality and equal dignity amongst women and men in our society. Many advocates, professors of law, district judges, counselors, activists and law students participated in these programmes. The lectures were supported by posters and posters video cassettes.
The subjects covered in these camps were:
(i) Marriage with reference to bigamy, child marriage, maintenance, divorce, adoption, guardianship and property.
(ii) Dowry, female infanticide and foeticide, violence against women and rights against the police.
(iii) The Muslim personal law, prevention of polygamy and triple talaq, standard nikahnama, containing fair terms for marriage, divorce, guardianship, mehr, mata and alied topics.
The Foundation continued to hold legal awareness programmes amongst Muslim women. The group of five (GOF) which was formed in 2001, comprising the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, Muslim Women's Forum, Guild of Service, National Federation of Indian Women and Sur Nirman Education and Cultural Society formed a team to hold two such camps for Muslim women. The Foundation gave special emphasis on the empowerment of Muslim women. The participants expressed strong views against the practice of polygamy and triple talaq, which they agreed, should be done away without any delay. A great awakening was ushered by distributing in these camps legal literature in Urdu on Muslim Women's personal laws relating to marriage, divorce and their property rights.
The GOF organised a Day Seminar on "Equality Realty and Rights of Muslim Women" on 15 November, 2001 at Vallabhai Patel House. In addition, this year we organised a one day legal literacy programme on "Violence Against Women" in various women colleges of Delhi University. These programmes were held from 16 January to 23 January, 2002 in association with the Guild of Service in as many as nine colleges. Students have asked us to organize similar programme every year. Furthermore, a one day Seminar on "Family Law" was organised on 12 February, 2002 at the Institute of Home Economics.
The Foundation also provided the legal and Constitutional input on "Legal Rights of the Visually Impaired" at the Asian Blind Union Meeting of delegates from 15 countries represented by internationally distinguished blind person and office bearers of the World Blind Union
The Foundation's counseling & Legal Aid Centre in Delhi, assisted by a panel of professional counselors, lawyers, and volunteers, has rendered speedy and effective justice to women in distress during all the legal awareness programmes. The participants in the rural camps are also provided legal back up after the camps.
The Foundation is happy to report that some of the participants have been able to obtain favorable orders in litigations instituted after awareness of their legal rights through the Foundation's programmes. The public Interest Litigation filed by the Foundation in 1998 in the Supreme Court of India for the implementation of the statuary provisions of persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is making good progress and the disabled have got substantial reliefs. In another case, that of Rekha Tyagi, the Supreme Court has overruled the Delhi High court Judgment, denying to the physically handicapped reservation of seats in AIIMS and other medical colleges in Delhi under negative the contention of University Grants Commission in the Writ Petition filed by the All India Federation of the Blind that these could be no reservation for the physically disabled in teaching posts in the Universities.
The Foundation in association with Delhi High Court Bar Association organised a blood and eye donation camp in the Delhi High Court on Friday, 8 February 2002. The camp was inaugurated by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.B. Sinha, Chief Justice, Delhi High Court and the donors included Hon'ble judges, members of the Bar and the staff members of the High Court. There was an enthusiastic and overwhelming response as the donated blood was for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Displaying a spirit of public service it is remarkable that as many as 124 donors donated blood and 64 donors pledged to donate their eyes. The Armed Forces Transfusion Center, Delhi Cantt., made arrangements to collect the blood.