Action group for judicial transparency, justice reforms and human rights.

Minutes of third official meeting

Posted by justicecorps on January 4, 2007

Day: Thursday

Date: 28th December, 2006.

Time: 11 am to 5:20 pm

Place: Rationing Kruti Samiti office, Mumbai Central

Members present : Ronald L. Rebello, Sanket Kashid, Hemant Morajkar, Ramesh Kadam.


1.. Ronald first made a detailed presentation on the problems affecting the justice system of the country as of today, the dynamics involved, the problems of citizens in accessing justice, the recent trends of judiciary, the visits of Sanket and Ronald as team members of JC to various courts and their observations, the judicial reforms demanded by Justice Corps and need for the same etc. Additionally, an idea of the activities of Justice Corps during the year (2006) were discussed such as campaign by JC to get the RTI Act, 2005 implemented by Bombay High Court, responses of various people to it and notice to Maharashtra CM calling him to fill up the vacancies in MHRC, letters to the Editor on judicial reforms etc.

3.. Similarly, the various topics of documentation done by Ronald and Sanket were also presented. So far JC has been able to do documentation on around 40 issues concerning justice reforms, judicial transparency, law and human rights. It was emphasized that systematic documentation has come to a halt since October 31st, 2006 as Ronald has resigned as an employee from Rationing Kruti Samiti. This is because when he was in RKS while doing RKS documentation, he used to also do documentation on judicial reform. Nevertheless, while now newspaper cuttings are being collected on the same, there are absolutely no resources or funds for gum to paste the clippings, for paper, box-files to maintain these clippings etc.

4.. After this presentation, the inclusion of new members in the team was discussed. Hemant Morajkar a budding young journalist and a graduate in Bio-technology has decided to join the Justice Corps team as a core committee member. Shabana Shaikh of Women’s Research and Action Group (WRAG) and a third year student of law has also consented to be a team member, telephonically. She could not make it to the meeting as she had an illness in the family to attend. Ramesh Kadam, involved as a full-timer with Rationing Kruti Samiti and associated with various movements and Unions, in the afternoon session of the meeting said that he would be interested in becoming a member, though he would not be able to participate fully into it and suggested that decisions should be conveyed directly to him. Therefore, as of today, the team strength of Justice Corps is a total of 6 members, namely, Ronald Rebello (Founder), Sanket Kashid (Co-founder), Ganesh Sodaye (Member), Hemant Morajkar (Member), Shabana Shaikh (Member), Ramesh Kadam (Member). The team felt that it is of significance to have one more lady member in order to have a balanced team.

5.. So far there has been no progress on the front of having a bank account for Justice Corps. Sanket and Ronald made enquiries with two-three banks – HDFC, New India Co-operative Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce. None of these banks are ready to open an account for Justice Corps as it is an unregistered organization. It was decided to further make enquires on the same and not give up hope. Ramesh informed the group that Bank of Maharashtra permits opening a “current bank account” for even unregistered organizations. Hence, Sanket and Ronald have decided to make further enquires. Sanket will follow-up the issue of a bank account for Justice Corps. It was emphasized that in order to get even a small amount of funding, a bank account is very much essential.

6.. Justice Corps in order to make its presence known to a wider audience, needs to have a website and an E-group on which essential messages can be disseminated. Hemant, a regular blogger has taken the responsibility of designing, monitoring and updating a website for JC. The content is to be provided to him and he would host it on one of the free blogs available on the internet. Hemant would host the material on www.justicecorps.wordpress.com.

7.. It was brought to the notice of the team that since its inception in March 2006, Justice Corps has met officially only thrice. (Though Ronald and Sanket have met on numerous occasions and have discussed issues unofficially). This is because the team members have not been able to match their schedules. Therefore, it was decided that in the year of 2007, a fixed date should be decided for the entire year, so as to dedicate time to JC. The team decided that the first Saturday of every month will be a JC meeting day come what may. The meeting will be a full day meeting beginning 11 am sharp and should end by around 5 pm. Meeting will be held in the RKS office at Bombay Central till such time as it is permitted by RKS. This was decided in the morning. Ramesh who participated in the meeting in the afternoon expressed his inability to take part in this meeting as he has already pre-booked this day in the month for RKS activities, which cannot be altered. Ganesh Sodaye and Shabana have agreed telephonically to the said schedule.

8.. Sanket bought up the issue of visiting cards. It was discussed that in the course of networking with other activists, organizations and representing JC, there is no identification or contact details that can be given. Hence, it was decided that each one of us would print our visiting cards for JC, for which each of us would bear our own expenses since there are no funds. It was decided that a model visiting card would be designed by Ronald and will be sent to team members via email.

9.. Regarding the activities for JC, it was discussed that each one of the team members need to identify sensitive lawyers connected with various courts and streams of law, who would help us in understanding the problems of those particular courts. For instance, a labour court lawyer to advice on problems of labour courts/laws, a criminal court lawyer on criminal matters/courts and so on. Similarly, we much identify litigants in each court and document their cases in case study formats.

Lectures in various colleges on different topics such as right to information, judicial reform, and public interest litigation too can be organized to mobilize opinion. NSS, student units, principals and faculties of these colleges can be contacted for the same.

To make entry into the slums, it was decided that printing of RTI pamphlets in Hindi and Marathi should be distributed with JC details on it.

Ronald mooted before the group the idea of sending circulars to various colleges inviting students for internship with Justice Corps. This will give an opportunity for JC to mobilize the student community on the issue and also the shortage of human power for documentation will not be felt. These students can indulge in an array of activities at various levels depending on their skills. Ronald has taken the responsibility of co-ordinating the same and following it up. Sarvahara Jan Andolan (Raigad), Kashtakari Sanghatna (Dhanu-Talasari), Rationing Kruti Samiti (Mumbai) are the three organizations where students can be placed for internship in addition to doing JC work.

Ramesh came up with the idea that the organization needs to be membership-based rather than a federation of networks. This idea was supported by all. Ramesh averred that he can collect over 1,000 members within three months. However, the team was clear that the members of JC need to be empowered and concerned individuals and not any Tom, Dick and Harry should be part of it for their personal gain.

Sanket suggested that JC members should get co-opted in All India Press Letter Writers Association (AILWA), a 26 year old registered body of letter writers from the country. The object of joining the association is that JC can be run through AILWA, in particular to obtain funding for JC activities as at present JC is unregistered and no funding agency may provide funds. More appropriately many issues are in common with AILWA such as the recognition of the right to information, judicial transparency and reform and good governance. Besides AILWA members are in the mood of retiring after serving 25 years and want young people to run it. It was proposed by Ronald that Hemant and Sanket, both who are also letter-writers may join AILWA. Unfortunately, the idea of taking costly membership of Rs. 1,000 acts as a deterrent and makes the organization appear elitist. Sanket and Hemant will take their own decisions in this regard.

A short break of an hour was taken during the day to read pending newspapers in RKS office so as to acquire clippings on Justice Reforms. It was decided that such activity would be continued every time and in this way clippings on food security would also be culled out for RKS team, mutually benefiting both organizations.

The meeting completed at 5:20 pm.

 Minutes written by Ronald and Sanket.




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