Women’s Rights

INTRODUCTION

As an organisation that aims to achieve social justice for all, women are one of the most important marginalize groups CSJ works with. CSJ functions within the socio-legal framework, which enables us to better understand and address the disadvantages that inform a woman’s experience in accessing justice.

Laws related to violence against women and their implementation on the ground has always been our focus area. CSJ has donea significant volume of work that has lead to an improvement in the implementation of legal provisions and services provided to women complainants.

Through capacity building initiatives, we have encouraged leadership among women, especially in marginalized communities. In our awareness and sensitization campaigns, the organisation has designed trainings for officials to make laws and systems more responsive to the demands of women.

Strengthening Existing Mechanisms:

Nari Adalats

In order to expand the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, CSJ conducted an evaluation study on Nari Adalats to understand its best practices to replicate the model’s successes.

To understand the phenomenon of Nari Adalats and its impact, read Sushma Iyengar’s Study on Nari Adalats, where she has acknowledged CSJ’s crucial contribution.

Resources:Research Report

In order to make proceedings more meaningful, the Centre formulated a training design for paralegals that are members of the Nari Adalat.

Resources:

Tool for Capacity Building:
Training Design for members of Nari Adalat

Appointment of Protection Officers under Prevention of Domestic Violence law

To ensure implementation ofprovisions under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005), the Centre filed a Public Interest Litigation pushing the State to appoint Protection Officers at the Taluka level and ensure a quick disposal of pending applications.

Resources:

PIL for appointment of protection Officers
Copy of the Order directing appointment of Protection Officers

Setting up of Family Courts in Gujarat

CSJ-initiated campaign for the establishment of Family Courts in Gujarat triumphed after a PIL was filed,resulting in the establishing of courts in Ahmedabad.

Social Audit of Shelter Homes

CSJ carried out a social audit for Shelter Homes to examine the condition of services received that women get.

CSJ and Advocacy:

Recommendations made to the Justice Verma Committee

CSJ’s experience of helping women in the aftermath of the Gujarat Riots left us with a deep understanding of sexual violence in Indian society. This led us to recommending reforms to the Justice JS Verma committee whichwas set up after the heinous 2012 Delhi Gang Rape.

Resource : Policy Recommendations to Committee

Inputs on  formulation of gender policy for the State of Gujarat

Commissioner, Women and Child Department, appointed CSJ as a consultant to formulate policies on Legislative Actions that could be taken to ensure Gender Equity. Recommendations made by CSJ were later incorporated in Gujarat’s gender policy.

Research And Knowledge Creation:

Legal Status of Women in Gujarat

CSJ undertook a study in collaboration with the Commissioner (Women and Child department) to look into the attitude of justice delivery mechanisms towards women and the extent to which pro-women legislations are implemented. The department relied on the report to negotiate gender sensitization programmes with the police.

Resource : Report on Status of Women

Review of Laws related to Women

CSJ was invited by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (formerly the Commissioner, Women and Child Department) to study laws related to women and recommend changes.

Resource : Law review

Collaboration with WGWLO (Land Rights for women)

CSJ enjoyed a healthy working relationship with the Working Group on Women’s Land Rights, a network of NGOs and CBOs that focus on land rights of women. Being an organization that works within the legal system, CSJ contributed in inculcating an understanding of rights within the network and itspartner organizations.

Fruits of our collaboration with WGWLO:

  1. CSJ was responsible for the research in 10 villages across five districts, where questionnaires were filled along with FGD with women regarding the land allotment and rehab policy 2007.
  2. The paper based on 3 workshops held by the working group with regionally different groups from Muslim women gives insights into the basic inhibitions & the kind of practices prevailing while facilitating women’s land ownership.
  3. A paper narrating status of women’s ownership of land in context with public & private land including users’ rights.
  4. The action research undertaken by the working group on preparing paralegals & facilitating women to own her land narrates the process, methodology & insights in terms of Social inhibitions, administrative inhibition & Socio-Administrative inhibitions while carrying out the revenue procedures. It also suggests further actions enhancing women’s land ownership.

Research on implementation of PWDVA

CSJ carried out research on the extent of to which provisions available under PWDVA have been implemented. We identified loopholes and suggested remedies, which led to a set of recommendations to better the implementation.

Resources:

Recommendations
Research Report
Tools of research

Awareness, Training and Capacity Building

Hello Sakhi Helpline

In order to expand dispute resolution services and the client base, CSJ in association with MVLK (Mahila Vividh Lakshi Kendra, Kutch), gave technical inputs to establish a helpline called ‘Hello Sakhi‘ to make it easy for victims of domestic violence to report abuse and seek help.

Tools for trainings

As a capacity building organisation intent on promoting leadership in women and making legal systems more responsive to gender, CSJ conducted many sensitization trainings on laws related to violence against women for officials and representatives. Consequently, the organisation has developed tools and resources to continually conduct such outreach programs and training events.

Resources : Training Design

Targeted Interventions

Witch Hunting

In Sabarkantha and Dang regions of Gujarat, there have been several instances of “Witch Hunting”. Gujarat does not have a law on banning Witch Hunts, which CSJ successfully broughtto the notice of the Government by filing cases where incidents occurred.

In several cases, CSJ asked the police to add the word dakan (Gujarati for Witch). Similarly, lawyers from CSJ conducted sessions with the department of Women and Child Development on prevalence of the barbaric practice in many areas of Gujarat. This intervention is part of an ongoing national study CSJ is conducting with the National Commission for Women.

Intervention in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots

Post-communal violence, part of a special theme on Women’s Rights,CSJ appealed to the National Commission for Women to take up matters of sexual violence against women.

We also initiated and assisted in piecing together a report entitled Survivors Speak on the way the women were affected during the carnage. The report was widely used by activists and media and discussed bylegislators.