Annual Report 2005-2006

The Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation was established in 1994 to perpetuate the memory of Sunanda Bhandare, a judge of the Delhi High Court. Her death at the age of 52 brought to a halt a career that was on establishing a just and egalitarian civic society where and the weaker sections of society could live with dignity. In her own life, Justice Sunanda Bhandare followed the credo, 'The Freedom to Choose, The Right to Excel', this credo is now the motto of the Foundation and its chief endeavor is to strive towards the empowerment of women, gender parity and gender justice through various activities.

Its activities for the year 2005-2006 included:

The 11th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture
Every year, since its inception, the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation invites an eminent person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women and human rights. Smt. Ela R. Bhatt, Founder, SEWA (Self Employed Women Association) and former Member of Parliament delivered the Eleventh Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial.

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 over one lakh men and women throughout the country. The legal awareness programmes programmes are designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness

Seminars and Workshops
3rd March 2006 is an international sex workers day. The Foundation, in collaboration with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, organized a one day National Seminar on "The Problems Faced by Sex Workers" at the India Habitat Centre on March 2, 2006. The seminar was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister of State

Centre for Health of Women and Children
The participants in the legal awareness programmes and their children were provided free medical treatment and also made aware of health care with special emphasis on nutritious care of pregnant women, HIV/AIDS , physically and visually handicapped women, health care of working women at their workplace and health care of old women and children.

Centre for Counseling and Legal Aid
The Foundation's counseling and Legal Aid Centre in Delhi, assited by a panel of professional counselors, lawyers and volunteers has rendered speedy and effective justice to women in distress during all the legal awareness programme. The participants in the rural camps are also provided counseling legal back up during the camps.

The Public Interest Litigation filed by the Foundation in the Supreme Court of India for the implementation 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 got favorable orders for number of destitute women and physically challenged citizens from courts.


 
The 11th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture

Every year, since its inception, the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation invites an eminent person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women and human rights. Smt. Ela R. Bhatt, Founder, SEWA (Self Employed Women Association) and former Member of Parliament delivered the Eleventh Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture. Smt. Ela Bhatt spoke on "WOMEN MONEY, POWER" at the India Habitat Centre on Tuesday, 18th October, 2005. Hon'ble Shri Justice R.C. Lahoti, Chief Justice of India was the Chief Guest and the function was presided over by Hon'ble Shri Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, the Judge, Supreme Court of India.


Smt. Ela Bhatt started with her experience which goes back to 1986 in a small village in Bengal where a tiny shrunken women said to her "kaaj naahi, kaaj kori maroo" meaning, " I have no work, but the grind of work is killing me", This proved that from dawn to dusk she toils but she feels that she has no work and she is ever by searching for work. Thus women's work today in India has little or no value.


She expanded the scheme of her lecture by saying that women's employment must be a gainful employment. Among the small assets she spoke of tangible assets, cash saving, or silver jewelry but emphasized that the intangible assets are more noteworthy. Thus education is an asset that few possess. Children are an enormous asset, husband that does not have a drinking problem is an asset, in-laws that will allow a woman to work outside the home are an asset, the goodwill of one's caste is an asset. She elaborately dealt with how SEWA expanded in giving micro credit. She wanted to get over the general rule for women that there is no money without work but there is plently of work without money. She showed how SEWA provided access to market infrastructure as well as access to technology, information, education, Knowledge and skills like accountancy, management, planning and marketing to women.


SEWA Bank's Daily Saving Scheme is the most popular. It allows women to save very small amounts for an extended period of time without stress of saving for monthly bulk deposits. All these deposits are collected at a small Centre in the slums where women live or in the market where they work. After one year they have the option of withdrawing their savings, or of transferring them becomes a regular habit. This helps them to overtake their barrier in which they are struck in the cycle of earning and spending on a daily basis.


Regular classes are conducted of about 30 women every week including home-based workers, vendors and manual labourers to advise them to plan their finances. She said that essentially, money is power, but collective and organized strength is a bigger power.


SEWA cooperatives have come together provided training and policy support as well as marketing services to its members. For poor women, not only to be beneficiaries of money but also be managers and owners and owners of it, generates the actual power. She asserted that for a group that comprises 90% of the economy there should still be space to grow and develop, which is sadly lacking. She insisted that organizations of poor women have led the process to come out of poverty, but then the NGOs, outside funders and the governments have to play a crucial supportive role to help them continue. Her message was clear that India cannot be the top nations of the world without "Women, Money,Power".

 
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 over one lakh men and women throughout the country. The legal awareness programmes programmes are designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness of the various shortcomings in our legal system. They are aimed at spreading a movement that encompasses educational upliftment, economic self- reliance, social development, family planning and legal reforms. Through these programmes, the Foundation has also been effective in rendering free and timely legal aid and health care to the participants.


Every year March 8 is observed as the United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of International Women's Day, the Foundation associated with Indian Institute of Youth Affairs, Rohtak and organized a Mahila Jagriti Utsav at Subhash Stadium, Gohana Road, Sonepat. Even women of 60 years ran a race with girls of 10 years of age. It was a magnificent programme in which women covering all age groups participated in various activities like music, singing, painting, poetry, recitation and speeches.


This year the Foundation organised legal awareness camp in rural and slum areas of Delhi and Haryana posters and videocassettes supported all camps and lectures. Advocates, professors of law counellors, activists and law students participated in this year's programmes.


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 people.
(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) Propagation of small family norms, emphasising that a small family is not only beautiful but also strong.
(v) Formation of self-help groups for women for vocational training and sustainable employment, nutrition and health care of pregnant women, AIDS/HIV positive women, physically and visually handicapped women, working women at their workplace and of the elderly and children. The message is to combine knowledge with income.
This year the Foundation collaborated in various programmes with number of organizations including guild of Service, Indian Institute of youth Affairs, Rohtak and other like-minded N.G.Os.


 
Seminars and Workshops

3rd March 2006 is an international sex workers day. The Foundation, in collaboration with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, organized a one day National Seminar on "The Problems Faced by Sex Workers" at the India Habitat Centre on March 2, 2006. The seminar was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Smt.Renuka Chowdhary, who delivered the inaugural address in three languages Hindi, English and Telgu..The inaugural session was presided over by the Hon'ble Smt. Justice Leila Seth, former Chief Justice, HImanchal Pradesh High Court. These were four working sessions (i) Health and Sex Workers, (ii)Children of Sex Workers and their Problems, (iii)Legal Issues(Law & Implementation)and (iv)Concluding Session. The working session were chaired by Dr. Smarajit Jana, Assistant Country Director, Care India, Mr. James Brown, Country Director, U.N. AIDS and Shri P.P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. The concluding Session was chaired by Shri Oscar Femandes, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge). The Key Note address was delivered by Hon'ble Shri Justice B.N Srikrishna, Judge, Supreme Court if India.


The Seminar saw large participation from all sections of society and was attended by over 350 and more community members themselves from different parts of the country like Kolkata, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai. The participants included Ministers, Judges, Parliamentarians, representative from the Department of Women & Child Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE INDIA, ILO, planning Commission, Police Department, legal luminaries, Health Specialists, U.N agencies like U.N. Aid, distinguished scholars on the subjects on the subject, students from various universities, professors, media, NGOS.


As many as 10 papers were presented at the seminar. The Seminar covered the entire gamut of the problems of the sex workers. In all these session the whole canvass was on human rights, health, economic issues, legal and sociological issues of sex workers. Detailed and particular attention was given to the children of the sex workers. All constitutional provisions including Articles 21, 23 and 39 were highlighted. There was a considerable focus on the Immoral Traffic prevention Act (ITPA), 1956 and its proposed amendment bill. On the health issues emphasis was laid on the HIV AIDS risks. The core problem was the disturbing human conditions of the community members, their health rights, the condition in which a women is constantly threatended, the breakdown of family relations, spread of STD/HIV leading to worsening health of women, creation of incentives for trafficking, sex slavery and pedophilia and creation of incentives for breach of domestic and international laws, as the evils of sex work. Various sections of Indian panel Code were also discussed. So were the provisions of the Immral Traffic (prevention) Act 1956 (ITP Act) keeping in law India's commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Prevention of Immral Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Other 1949. Three aspects of legal issues were discussed as follows:


The first approach is that law relating to sex work is very ambiguous, does not take a clear police-stand, is unequal and therefore, the only solution is : ban all sex work and rehabilitate sex workers. There were not many takers for this view. The second opposite viewpoint supports ITP Act as a "protective" and not a "punitive" legislation because it seeks to punish those who are the real offenders; who exploit the sex workers th pimps, the agents and the procurers. The law should progressively discourage sex work in all beginning with punishing the agents' pimps, brothel keepers and sex workers who are organized and who are openly soliciting. Thus, the ITP Act its proposed amendments are a half-way house between an outright ad outright legalization.


Thus the proceeding were recorded, stimulation the participants and raised serious contovesies. However, everybody collectively believed and encouraged the viewpoint that steps should be taken for decriminalization. The priority was to improve the working conditions of sex workers and providing social, economic and legal security to them and their children.


The participants were impressed by the work undertaken through SAKSHAM; a program of care in India. SAKSHAM works in six high prevalence HIV stetes in the country with a mandate to build capacity of marginalized communities of sex worker and injecting drug users to take a lead in addressing the underlying socio-economic and political structure that shape their lines and are the ultimate factors that determine vulnerability to HIV infection. Empowerment of marginalized and stigmatized communities involves a multi-dimensional approach and address core issues such as the self-esteem of people.


The most interesting part of the Seminar were the narration by community worker about their experiences as a worker. They vividly brought the inhuman conditions under which a sex worker has to live and the degradation that she and her children undergo. Darbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee impressed on establishment of local Self- Regulatory Boards in the red light areas. In recognizing that they had to formalize their efforts, Durbar, in 1999, established Self-Regulatory Boards in three red light areas of Kolkata, with the aim of ending exploitation of sex workers within the industry. These boards have ten members, including sex workers, representatives from the State Social Welfare Department, the Labour Commission, State Women's Commission and State Human Rights Commission and in some cases, well known social workers and feminist activists. There Boards serve to hooligans or the police. Board members monitor whether any children or adults are trafficked into sex work or whether any one is being made to work against her will, to provide trauma counseling and health services; in case of children, to organize repatriation, with representatives of Board accompanying them to their homes, or if they did want to go back, to government residential schools, and maintain contact with them.


Leading personalities specializing on the subject addressed the participants. Among them were Dr. Smarajit Jana, Assistant Country Director, Care India; Mr. Ashok Alexander; Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, India Ms. Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, Planning; Mrs. Uma Shalini Singh (IPS), Addl. Deputy Commissioner of Police; Ms. Ratna Kapur; Mr. Amber Qamaurddin; Mr. Anand Grover; Ms. Charu Ali Khanna, Advocates and Mrs. Krishna Gupta, Mala Singha, community members.

 
Legal Literacy Programme on Right to Information

A Legal Literacy programme on Right to Information was organized by Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation in collaboration with Guild of Service in Village Chhagla, Najafgarh 20th October, 2012. Dr. K.S. Bhatti, Advocate and Shri H.N. Gandhi, Administrative Officer, Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation , Mrs. Diana Khambatta, Vice President, Guild of Service and Ms. Menu Chaudhary, Asst. Public Information, RTI Participated in the programme which was attended by more than 150 persons.

"Right to Information" makes the Government and other organization answerable the citizens. The participants were informed that before 2005 there was Freedom of Information Act 2002. Due to persistent effort of several civil society organization and champions of Right to Information, especially the effort of Smt Aruna Roy and others, the Right to Information Bill was then passed by Lok Sabha on 11th May, 2005, and by Rajya Sabha on 12th May, 2005. It got the assent of the Hon'ble President of India on 15th June, 2005. It was explained that an information seeker could collect document , e-mails, opinions, advices, Press release, circular, orders, reports and electronic data and any other information available with the Government/body.

 
WOKSHOP ON MOTHER'S DAY & DIVORCE UNDER MUSLIM LAW

Mother's Day was celebrated on 7th May, 2012. The Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation in association with Sur Nirman Educational and Cultural Society, organized a Workshop on 21st May, 2012 at Welcome Colony, Seelampur, Delhi. The workshop covered various topics relating to 'Mother' such as - (i) Status of Women both as working women and housewives, (ii) Position of girl child from 'Womb to Tomb', (iii) Divorce and its various forms. Shri H.N. Gandhi, Admn. Officer of the Foundation and Ms. Monika Singhal, Advocate participated in the workshop

The workshop also covered the issue of Divorce under Muslim Law. Under unfortunate circumstances, when a matrimonial contract is broken, divorce takes place. A man may divorce his wife without giving any reason, by pronouncing the word 'talaaq' 3 times. Every adult Muslim husband of a sound mind is competent to pronounce talaaq. A husband, who is minor or of an unsound mind, cannot pronounce it. A guardian cannot pronounce a talaaq on behalf of minor husband.

 
WOKSHOP ON WILL

A workshop on "WHAT IS WILL AND WHY DO I NEED ONE" was organized by the foundation in association with Sur Nirman Education and Cultural Society on Saturday, 15th September, 2012 at Delhi Gate in Gali Guna Misar, Delhi. Resource persons included Dr. Abha Kulashreshta, Advocate, Shri Neeraj Kumar, Advocate, Shri H.N. Gandhi, Administrative Officer, Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation and Ms. Sajida Khan, President, Sur Nirman Educational and Cultural Society. There were more than 120 participants. It was explained to the participants that a WILL is a legal document that entitles one's loved ones get the assets one wishes to give them. Making a WILL is fairly a simple process and in the events of one's death, can give peace of mind to members of the family.

There are following 5 types of WILLs:
(i) Self proving/Testimony WILL
(ii) Holographic WILL
(iii) Oral WILL
(iv) Living WILL
(v) Islamic WILL
The WILL should be in writing and signed by the person and witnesses. If one does not have a WILL, one dies intestate. In such a case, the State will direct the distribution of one's assets according to a set formula. Methods of preparing the WILL, with compilation of list of assets and debts, safe deposit boxes, items of sentimental value, were explained to the participants. They were also explained how to change a WILL by replacing the old WILL or to make an amendment known as Codicil.


 
Centre for Health of Women and Children

A workshop on "WHAT IS WILL AND WHY DO I NEED ONE" was organized by the foundation in association with Sur Nirman Education and Cultural Society on Saturday, 15th September, 2012 at Delhi Gate in Gali Guna Misar, Delhi. Resource persons included Dr. Abha Kulashreshta, Advocate, Shri Neeraj Kumar, Advocate, Shri H.N. Gandhi, Administrative Officer, Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation and Ms. Sajida Khan, President, Sur Nirman Educational and Cultural Society. There were more than 120 participants. It was explained to the participants that a WILL is a legal document that entitles one's loved ones get the assets one wishes to give them. Making a WILL is fairly a simple process and in the events of one's death, can give peace of mind to members of the family.

There are following 5 types of WILLs:
(i) Self proving/Testimony WILL
(ii) Holographic WILL
(iii) Oral WILL
(iv) Living WILL
(v) Islamic WILL
The WILL should be in writing and signed by the person and witnesses. If one does not have a WILL, one dies intestate. In such a case, the State will direct the distribution of one's assets according to a set formula. Methods of preparing the WILL, with compilation of list of assets and debts, safe deposit boxes, items of sentimental value, were explained to the participants. They were also explained how to change a WILL by replacing the old WILL or to make an amendment known as Codicil.


 
Centre for Counseling and Legal Aid

The Foundation's Counseling and Legal Aid Centre in Delhi, assisted by a panel of professional counselors, lawyers and volunteers rendered speedy and effective justice to women in distress during the year. The harassed victims, approaching police stations in distress, referred to us in the Gender Awareness Programmes, were provided free legal aid by our legal experts.

The Public Interest Litigation filed by the Foundation in the Supreme Court of India for the implementation of the statutory provisions for Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is pending before the hon'ble court. The Foundation also got favorable orders for a number of destitute women and physically challenged citizens from courts.