JUSTICE CORPS

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

Minutes of the fourth official meeting

Posted by justicecorps on January 15, 2007

MINUTES OF THE FOURTH OFFICIAL MEETING OF JUSTICE CORPS

Day: Saturday  

Date: 6th January, 2007

Time: 12 noon to 2:25 pm.

Place: Rationing Kruti Samiti office, Mumbai Central

Members present: Sanket Kashid, Ganesh Sodaye and Ronald L. Rebello,

* Hemant was indisposed; Shabana had gone to Delhi and hence could not come. Ramesh cannot come on a Saturday.

Agenda of the meeting:

  1. Review of previous meetings’ minutes
  2. Action to be taken during the month
  3. Whether to hold a massive demonstration on judicial reforms?
  4. RTI applications to be made
  5. Networks established
  6. Updates on Proposal submitted to funding agency.
  7. Exposure visit to Raigad/ Sarvahara Jan Andolan

 

1… Today’s agenda was decided as soon as the meeting began. There was no pre-decided agenda. Previous meetings’ minutes were reviewed. Enquiries about a bank account for Justice Corps are still going on. In the meanwhile, Hemant has prepared an excellent website on www.justicecorps.wordpress.com. The group is very grateful to him.  

2… Re: Action to be taken during the month by JC:

a) Supreme Court has hosted its annual report (2005-06) on its website. This needs to be printed and studied as it contains important details about disposal of cases, E-petition procedure introduced during the year etc. Ganesh has taken responsibility to print the same from TISS.

b) It was suggested by Ronald that since the SC has also put up the SC holiday calendar on the SC website, this must be studied, analysed and a letter (appropriately an appeal) to all SC judges must be drafted bringing to their notice the futility of long summer and winter vacations and requesting them to give it up voluntarily. Instead of commenting on the court calendar at the end of the year, we must do it in advance. Ronald will draft the said letter. Sanket will similarly find out details of Bombay HC calendar.

c) Re: Bom HC and RTI: Sanket will acquire the HC and District court RTI rules from Govt. Press and hand over to Ronald. Ronald will then draft a protest letter to CJ of Bom HC regarding the rules framed under RTI Act. This is to be done quickly as rules were made in November 2006 and still we haven’t been able to comment on it. Earlier JC’s campaign was against the non-implementation of RTI Act by the Judiciary in Maharashtra, but now it is against the obstacles in the rules framed. Some of the rules that create obstacles in accessing information are:

– Charging applicant Rs. 10 per Xerox copy when central rules keep it to a reasonable Rs. 2,

– Not providing info if it already exists on website, therefore making it difficult for computer-internet illiterate applicants to acquire information, etc.

3… It was suggested by Ronald that JC should have a demonstration at Azad Maidan in June to demand for various judicial reforms. Unless we come out publicly in large numbers, just by writing letters and appeals, we are not going to get the desired results. The group therefore unanimously decided to take up a morcha/public demonstration at Azad Maidan. The date decided was June 04, 2007 as we also need to have enough time for preparation, information gathering through RTI applications and study, mobilization of various groups and student volunteers etc. The basic minimum reforms that JC will demand during this demonstration are:

      • Two shifts in all lower courts in Maharashtra, especially criminal courts.
      • Increase in the strength of number of judges
      • Family Courts in all districts of Maharashtra
      • Computerisation of district courts
      • Citizens Charter for judiciary
      • Proper seating arrangements for litigants in courts
      • Witness Protection Programme
      • Abolishing unnecessary Court holidays
      • Proper and reasonable implementation of RTI Act by courts
      • Information about laws should be disseminated in very simple language on rickshaws, busses etc.

The team also identified probable partners who can be contacted for support. These are Sarvahara Jan Andolan, National Alliance of People’s Movement, Huku-ke-Niswa, Nirbhay Bano Andolan, Apnalaya, Kashtakari Sanghatna, Nav Maharashtra Yuva Morcha, Mahilla Rajsatta Andolan, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights. It was also suggested that some MLAs/MPs should also be contacted for support. Neelam Gore, Shiv Sena MLC who has worked on women’s issues, Mrinal Gore, Dr. S. P. Sathe, Principal of Indian Law School etc. can be invited to speak to the masses and express support.

Ganesh bought to the notice of the team that PUCL of Rajasthan had conducted a Jan Sunvai (Public hearing) on delayed justice. He said that we also need to study their report on the same to learn from it. Ganesh and Ronald will attempt to acquire the same.

Ronald suggested that we write to the Governor, Chief Justice, Secretary of Law and Judiciary Department and Home Department giving them notice of the demonstration and requesting them to give an audience to the group and partners.

We also need to send letters to all social movements in Maharashtra requesting them to identify people in their areas who have been victims of justice and mobilize such groups to come and speak during the demonstration.

4… In order to press for our demands strongly during the June demonstration and in order to study judicial reforms, we need to have sufficient data in our hands. One of the methods of acquiring this could be through various RTI applications. It was decided by the group that following RTI applications will be made to appropriate authorities:

a) Application to Law and Judiciary dept on number of family cases pending all over Maharashtra.

b) Application to Law and Judiciary dept. on whether there is a witness protection programme/ policy of the state.

c) Application to appropriate dept on policy on computerisation of courts.

Ronald will prepare drafts of above all applications and circulate to groups before sending the same to the relevant authorities.

Ganesh also bought up the issue of studying and analyzing the budget for judiciary, legal education and legal aid to poor. Team requested him to acquire info on the same through RTI and other means. Ganesh has agreed to follow-up the same.

Sanket, informed the team that he already has two applications pending before the Bombay HC on number of cases pending in Maharashtra.

5… Re:- Networks: Ronald informed the team that Yusuf Meherally Yuva Biradari after conferring on him the Sane Guruji Yuva Puraskar had co-opted him on their legal committee and also expressed support to Justice Corps. Yusuf Meherally Yuva Biradari has extended support for use of their office resources such as printing, posting, Xerox etc to Justice Corps after Ronald bought to their attention that JC has no funds. Therefore JC members will be able to have access to their office. Ronald will try and arrange the next team meeting of JC over there, including with some team members of Yusuf Meherally Biradri.

6… Project Proposal has been submitted by Sangeeta to Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust. Ronald and Sangeeta will soon follow-up the same and report back to the group. Project proposal copy is sent to team members by email.

 

7… The team was informed about an exposure visit to Adivasi hamlet, Keladh organized by students of Nirmala Niketan in association with Sarvahara Jan Andolan. TISS students, NN students will participate in the same and one of the resource persons will be Ronald who will speak on RTI, letter-writing, judicial transparency and right to food. The exposure visit will be held from Jan 11 to Jan 13. JC team members are also welcome to participate in the same. During this time, it may be also possible for JC team members to identify some students to act as volunteers for the JC team. Sanket said he will try to come. Ganesh confirmed his participation in the meeting itself. Hemant will be informed by Ronald.

 

8… Afternoon was dedicated to field visits in the court. Ganesh and Sanket after meeting went to visit the courts.

 

Minutes written by Ronald Rebello

Hosted on Website by: Hemant Morajkar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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