Annual Report 2012-2013
Every year, since its inception, the Foundation invites an eminent person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women and human rights. Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Hon'ble Minister of State, HRD delivered the Eighteenth Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture on "Educating Women: The Quest for Equality" on Wednesday. 5th December , 2012 on India International Centre, New Delhi.
Dr. Tharoor said, if I had to pick the one thing we must do above all else, I now offer a two–word mantra, a mantra that would have found instant resonance with the eminent jurist whose memory we honour today: "educate girls". Increased schooling of mothers has a measurable impact on the health of their children. The children of educated mothers consistently out-perform children with educated fathers and illiterate mothers. He further said that a girl, with more than 6 years of education is better equipped to seek and use medical and health care advice, to immunize her children, to be aware of sanitary practices from boiling water to the importance of washing hands. He added that reproduction could also be brought under control if more women are educated. The reason Kerala's fertility rate is 1.7 per couple while Bihar's is over four, it is because Kerala's women are educated and, unfortunately, most of Bihar's are not.
The more girls go to school, the World Bank says, the higher the country's per capita income growth. And when girls work in the fields, their schooling translates directly to increased agricultural productivity. One marvelous thing about women is that they like to learn from other women, so the success of educated women is usually quickly emulated by their uneducated sisters.
Despite our clear priorities, it is clear that in our own country, we have a long way togo to fulfill this particular tryst with destiny. In 2011 literary rate has moved up to a healthy 82.1% for men and stands at a more acceptable 65.5% for women. But it is a matter of deep national concern that even today nearly one out of every three women in our country is illiterate. Less number of eligible women pursue higher education. Our ambition is not merely to ensure that women participate in greater numbers as consumers of our education but they also occupy a pride of place and disseminators of knowledge and serve as effective administrators of education system at all levels.
He said that there is no better answer to the challenges facing India. He concluded with the words for former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan " No other policy is likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition, promote health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and increase the chances of education for the next generation. Let us invest in women and girls".
Chief Justice of India Altmas Kabir, who was the Chief Guest in the function, spoke at length of his experience with legal aid camps across the country. He also said that a nation that could not look after its women can never be successful or developed. Stressing the fact that knowledge is empowerment, Justice Kabir said, that education must be made accessible to girls. Appreciating laws like the Right to Education Act, the CJI asked what will happen after the child has attained the 14 years age. There is a need to educate women. She has a Right to Education. Stressing the fact that knowledge is empowerment, Kabir said the education must be made accessible to all girls.
One Day National Seminar on Protecting and Promoting Safety, Dignity and Equality of Women was organized by Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation in collaboration with Lady Shri Ram College, on Saturday, 26th October, 2013 at Lady Sri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. The programme was chaired by Dr. Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission and was inaugurated by Hon'ble Justice Smt. Ranjana Prakash Desai, Judge, Supreme Court. The seminar was attended by all sections of society including judges, lawyers, social activists, NGOs, academicians, media persons and young students some of whom also addressed the participants.
Shri M.C. Bhandare in his welcome speech emphasized that in today's world of human rights we live in a knowledge society in which brain power prevails and physical power of men has become redundant. All human beings are born fee and equal and all have the same dignity, safety and equality of opportunity and status. In brain power nature has corrected its balance; women are equal to men, rather superior to men because out of 10 toppers in board university examination 8 are girls. He was happy to say that as a Chancellor of Utkal University, he gave 200 gold medals out of which girls got 190 gold medals and the boys got only 10 gold medals.
Let women have fully social, economic and political parity. Our Constitution provides the same. What is required is action with a change of mind set of treating every human being with equal safety, dignity and equality. This is the message we should convey through the Seminar. He recommended 3 I's for the young students - Independence, Integrity and Industry. Youths are the strength, wealth and future of India.
In her inaugural address Hon'ble Justice Smt. Ranjana Prakash Desai highlighted the need to address the lacunae in laws that deal with women. We need strict enforcement of existing laws, while sensitizing the population. In her address, Dr. Rebecca Tavares, U.N. Women's representative for India, highlighted the impact of the December 16 gang rape case on people across the world. Speaking on equality for women, Syeda Hameed, Member of Planning Commission, lamented that there was no headway in the Women's Reservation Bill, struck for over two decades. Out of 136 countries, India ranks 101 in gender gap. Enforcement, fear of law and compensation to victims must be adhered to at the earliest.
Kamla Bhasin stressed on the need to talk about violence that is perpetuated under the garb of family and tradition in India. Violence against women is the biggest war in the world right now. Ms. Suman Malwa, DCP, CAWC, Nanakpura gave a detailed description of the measures taken for the safety, and security of women in Delhi including help lines which worked round the clock to address to the calls of the women in distress. Smt. Sushma Kapoor stressed on the role of society in protecting and promoting safety of women. Advocate Shwetasree Majumdar demanded sexual autonomy for women.
Shri Dipankar Gupta, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) emphasized that once you give dignity to a woman, you give dignity to yourself. Dr. Mira Shiva spoken the importance of health of women and the safeguards they should adopt for a healthy life. Shri Arun Mohan emphasized that an educated girl is better equipped to seek and use medical and health care advice. Prof. Usha Tandon emphasized that law and role of society both can protect the dignity of women.
Speaking on the equality of women Shri Pravin H. Parekh emphasized that the development of a nation depends on the social status of women. Dr. Krishna Menon emphasized past several centuries women will never be given equal status which is the need of our. Prashanto Sen speaking on Women Reservation Bill said that Political participation of women must form part of a wider strategy to improve the lives of all women. Manjula Rath emphasized that JSB foundation has done a lot for the Protection of differently challenged Persons and was hopeful of getting good result in PIL pending before the apex court. Bani Bains, a 3rd year) student of LSR said:"I think these seminars are informative and any academic discussion on issues of gender is the need of the hour, not only for legal reforms or police reforms but for larger structural reforms on issues about women that are not even acknowledged by society.
The Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of a Justice Sunanda Bhandare Forum for Natural Resources Laws (JSBFNRL) by the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.
To be launched on November 30, the Forum will facilitate research and publication and also organize conferences and training programmes. It will also conduct certificate courses and issue diplomas in the field of Natural Resources Laws under the aegis of the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Forum for Natural Resources Laws.
The establishment of the forum is a major step in supporting legal education and research activities conducted by the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. By naming it after Justice Sunanda Bhandare, it is yet another milestone in the road towards fulfilling her dreams for a just, egalitarian and forward-looking society where natural resources form part of the national pool and are judiciously used for the benefit of all citizens.
The Foundation is pleased to announce that it is, from this year onward, instituting an Annual Justice Sunanda Bhandare Award. The Award, which carries a citation and a cash prize, will be awarded every year to an individual or organization that displays extraordinary courage and dedication in furthering the Foundation's goal of gender justice.
In response to the Public Notice issued by Justice Verma Committee regarding amendments to criminal laws, relating to safety and security of women, our Foundation submitted recommendations pertaining to Fast Track Courts, Legal Protection, providing help in the hospitals and other important safety measures for women to the Committee on 4th January, 2013.
After the December 16, 2013 gang rape of Nirbhaya, where there was lot of criticism of inaction on the part of Delhi police, Addl. Dy. Commissioner of Police, South East District, requested Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation to organize a workshop to strengthen the knowledge on gender sensitization of police personnel. Accordingly JSBF organized a Seminar on Wednesday, 10th January, 2013 in the Conference Hall, Sarita Vihar, South East District, New Delhi.
At the suggestion of Shri O.P. Arora, ACP, Incharge of Gender Sensitization programmes our Foundation organized a full day programme in Nanakpura on Monday, 18th March, 2013.
Similarly on a request received from Mrs. Seema Sharma Traffic Inspector Road Safety Cell/ traffic, a Gender Sensitization Programme was organized on Friday 31st May, 2013 at Traffic Police Headquarters Todapur, for educating Road Safety Cell of the Traffic Unit of Delhi Police.
The objective of the programmes was reorientation of attitude and proper sensitization of the police personnel, sitting at various police stations for the behavioral attitude towards the victim, the victim may be handicapped, aged, infirm, ladies or anybody. The participants were advised to respect a lady as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, as a sister and as a friend.
Our Resource persons included Smt. Seema Malhotra, Social Activist, Shri Ambar Qamaruddin, Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri Santosh Sachin, Advocate, Supreme Court, Shri Dalip Singh, Advocate, High Court, Shri Rakesh Saxena, Advocate, High Court and Shri H.N. Gandhi, Administrative Officer, JSBF. The participants in the gender sensitization programmes included Addl. CP/SE,Addl. DCP/SE, 57 police personnel including upper and lower subordinates from different police stations of South East District, Inspectors, Sub Inspectors, Assistant Sub Inspectors, Head Constables, Constables from West Delhi Zone and Inspector Traffic Road Safety Cell and Traffic officers of different ranks of various zone at Traffic Police Headquarters, Todapur. The subjects covered in the programmes were:
(i) Status of women in the society and involvement of police personnel in the development of society.
(ii) Gender and Sex and Gender Sensitiveness of police personnel in their function;
(iii) Types of violence against women, rape, molestation, dowry related harassment, cruelty and dowry deaths, domestic violence and women's rights, sexual harassment at work place.
(iv) Communication skills - verbal, non-verbal, direct and clear and counseling skills and interaction with family members of criminal.
Difference between sex and gender was highlighted. Sex is biological and gender is variable. Gender is not "predetermined" - it is constructed by societies.
Touching upon Sexual abuse it was explained that sexual abuse is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester. Sexual misconduct can occur where one person uses a position of authority to compel another person to engage in an otherwise unwanted sexual activity. For example, sexual harassment in the workplace might involve an employee being coerced into a sexual situation out of fear of being dismissed.
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which a child is abused for the sexual gratification of an adult or older adolescent.
Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest and results in more serious and long term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.
Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, baby sitters, or neighbors, strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men.
Domestic violence Act is defined in a comprehensive way to combat domestic violence. It includes physical, mental, verbal, emotional, sexual and economic abuse, harassment for dowry, including insults on account of the victim's not having any children or male children. Domestic violence is one among several negative factors that hinder women in their progress.
Equally disturbing is the finding, that two of every five women, in an abusive relationship in India, remain silent about their suffering because of shame and family honor.
Rape and its ramifications were also discussed. It was explained that Rape is the most despicable crime in society, because it violates not just the body but also the psyche of the victim. The trauma is heightened when the victim is a minor. The same is the case of gang rape. There are wide spread shocks and concerns when news report of rapes are covered by the media. People demand very stringent punishments but the laws provide lighter punishments under the law. The laws were made in the 19th century. They do not measure up to the modern day social consciousness.
Rape victims require three types of remedy. Punishment of the rapist, medical aid and psychological counseling and rehabilitation to the victim.
Under instructions from Commissioner of Police, Special Police Unit for Women and Children Nanakpura planned to organize a meeting on 15th of every month to discuss the issues for safety and security of women in Delhi. The first such meeting was organized on 14-1-2013 in Conference Hall, Special Police Unit for Women and Children, Nanakpura, New Delhi subsequently followed by 10 monthly meetings in which steps taken by the police for the safety and security of women were explained and discussed with NGOs and their feedback taken on regular basis. A number of safety precautions were discussed and analyzed. These have been published in "Stop Violence Against Children and Aap Ke Adhikar"
Lt. Governor Delhi organized meetings with various NGOs at Raj Bhavan on 24-12-2012, 19-3-2013 and 13-08-2013. Points highlighted by the various NGOs requiring urgent attention in regard to Safety and security of Women were brought to the notice of Hon'ble Lt. Governor.
Special CP (Traffic), who has been coordinating meetings both at Nanakpura and in LG's office, informed that action on most of the points has already been initiated by Delhi Police. The sexual offender's registers are being maintained in the police stations and photographs of the convicts have also been uploaded on the Delhi police website. Text of all the proceedings are available in our booklets and uploaded on the Delhi police website.
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 making good progress and is at the final stage
The Foundation, in association with Sur Nirman organized a Legal Awareness Programme on Saturday, 15th June, 2013 at Pandav Nagar, Delhi. Our legal experts enlightened the participants about gender sensitization, rights of Muslim women and various safeguards available to them. In questions and answers free legal advice was also given to the four ladies who were facing difficulty in their marital life.