Annual Report 2003-2004

The Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation was established in 1994 to perpetuate the memory of Sunanda Bhandare, a judge of the Delhi High Court. Her premature death at age of 52 brought to a halt a career based on establishing a just and egalitarian society where women and the weaker sections of society could have the right to live with dignity. In her own life she practiced the credo" "Freedom to Choose and Right to Excel". This is now the motto of the Foundation has been instituted. Its chief endeavor is to ensure empowerment of women, gender parity and gender justice through various activities.

Its activities for the year 2003-2004 included:

The 9th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture
The ninth Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial lecture "WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT AND BUILDING A FOOD AND WATER SECURE INDIA' was delivered by Padma Vibhushan Prof. M.S. Swami Nathan at the India Habitat Center, New Delhi on 31st October, 2003. Hon'ble Mr. Justice V.N. Khare, Chief Justice of India, was the Chief Guest.

Legal Awareness Programmes
The legal awareness programmes designed by the Foundation have proved to be a huge success since their inception and have to date been attended by nearly 1, 00,000 men and women throughout the country. They have been designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness

Seminars and Workshops
The Foundation in association with The Culture House of the Islamic Republic of Iran, New Delhi, organised a two day national seminar on 'women in the mirror of religions' on 7th and 8th August, 2004 at India Habital Center and the Culture House of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Centre for Health of Women and Children
The Foundation in association with the Delhi District Bar Association, Tis Hazari organised a blood donation camp and eye donation camp at Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi, Armed Forces Transfusion Center, Delhi Cantt and the National Society for Prevention of Blindness, AIIMS on 29th March, 2004.

Centre for Counseling and Legal Aid
The Foundation's Counselling & Legal Aid Center 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 Public Interest Litigation filed by the Foundation in the Supreme Court of India for the implemention of the statutory provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is making good progress. The Foundation also rendered legal aid to a number of destitute women and physically challenged citizens.


 
Legal Awareness Programmes

The legal awareness programmes designed by the Foundation have proved to be a huge success since their inception and have to date been attended by nearly 1, 00,000 men and women throughout the country. They have been designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness of the various shortcomings in our legal system. Through our legal awareness programmes we have also been effective in rendering free and timely legal aid. The camps are aimed at spreading a movement encompassing educational upliftment, economic self-reliance, social development, family planning 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. Several advocates, professors of law, counselors, activists and law students participated in this year's camps. All lectures are supported by posters and video cassettes.


The subjects covered in these camps are:
(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) Muslim personal law, prevention of polygamy and triple talaq, standard nikahnama, containing fair terms for marriage, divorce, guardianship, mehr, mata and allied topics.
(iv) Foundation of self-help groups for women, nutrition and care of pregnant ladies, A.I.D./H.I.V, physically and visually handicapped ladies, health care working ladies at their workplace and health care of old ladies.

This year the Foundation organised three legal awareness programmes in rural and slum areas of Haryana and Delhi. In addition the Foundation organized an eight-day camp at the Balbari Center, Chander Shekhar Azad Colony, C Block, Wazipur Industrial area. Widows and the old and infirm were given assistance in securing pensionary benefits and those who were faced with ration card difficulties were also given help.
The Foundation in association with Lady Shri Ram College for Women has organized a Certificate Course of Legal Literacy on "RIGHTS OF WOMEN UNDER THE LAW"

 
Seminars and Workshops

The Foundation in association with The Culture House of the Islamic Republic of Iran, New Delhi, organised a two day national seminar on 'women in the mirror of religions' on 7th and 8th August, 2004 at India Habital Center and the Culture House of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


A one day national seminar on 'Women and Employment' in association with the India International Center, New Delhi was held on August 28, 2004 at the India International Center, New Delhi. The seminar was inaugurated by Mr. Justice B.P. Singh, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Hon'ble Smt. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, National Capital Territory of Delhi, gave the key-note address. Hon'ble Smt. Justice Leila Seth, former Chief Justice, Himanchal Pradesh High Court delivered the presidential address. The seminar covered the whole canvas of employment for women It emphasized that women's employment is one of the pillars which will go to uplift India into a major economic power. .


The seminar included 18 eminent speakers including Smt. Kiran Aggarwal, IAS(Retd), Smt. Saria Gopalan, IAS (Retd), Smt. Reena Jhabwala, Prof. Prabha Chawla, Prof. Bala Dhankar, Dr. Premlata Singh among others. The seminar was attended by more than 250 participants. Twelve background papers were presented on subjects such as women's employment in the organised and unorganized sectors; women in civil service; female work participation in agriculture; rural development; women's employment under, sexual harassment at the work place and women's employment in jail settings. The seminar concluded with a wide-ranging discussion amongst the lawyers, academicians, university students and NGOS who participated. The papers, proceedings and deliberations of the seminar will be published in the form of a book.


To commemorate 10 years of the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, the Foundation organised an evening of Hindustani Classical Music featuring recitals by young women artists on Sharad Poornima, on 27th October, 2004 at the ampitheratre of The Ashok Hotel, New Delhi. The idea was to encourage young and talented women by providing them with a platform for wider performance and appreciation. Shubha Mudgal introduced the artists Bharti Singh who presented the Sarod redital and Shalmalee Joshi, the vocalist. They were accompanied by Sudhir Joshi, Nayak on the harmonium and Prafulla Athley on the tabla.


 
Center for Health of Women and Children

The Foundation in association with the Delhi District Bar Association, Tis Hazari organised a blood donation camp and eye donation camp at Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi, Armed Forces Transfusion Center, Delhi Cantt and the National Society for Prevention of Blindness, AIIMS on 29th March, 2004. The camp was inaugurated by Shri S.N. Aggarwal, Addl. District & Sessions Judge, Delhi. The voluntary Blood Donation Camp received an total of enthusiastic and overwhelming response with a total of 106 units of blood collected. 85 women and men pledged to donate their eyes.

A similar blood and eye donation camp in association with the Supereme Court Bar Association, Cardio- Thoracic Science Center, All India Institute of Medical Science Delhi and the National Society for Prevention of Blindness AIIMS was organised at Supreme Court on Tuesday, 13th April, 2004. Hon'ble Mr. Justice V.N. Khare, Chief Justice of India inaugurated the camp.