Dec 21

Campaign Against Child Labour-TN

Campaign Against Child Labour, launched in 1992, consists of a network of over 5400 anti-child labour groups spread over 12 states in India. Women’s groups, dalit organisations, trade unions, academic institutions, media agencies.  Child rights and human rights organisations, research bodies, corporate houses, student volunteers and eminent citizens constitute an integral part of the campaign.

CACL is committed to the total eradication of child labour through building public opinion, investigation of abuse / exploitation, advocacy, lobbying and monitoring of national and international developments.  The campaign believes in networking and alliance building with other like-minded groups.  It intervenes in specific cases of violation of child rights and abuse of children and initiates people’s resistance, advocacy and lobbying to restore justice and rights of the child.

Campaign Against Child Labour – CACL has been advocating during the last decade for the implementation of Need Based living wages (minimum wages) for all workers and the need for a legislation to guarantee social security to cover all workers in the unorganised sector.  CACL strongly recommends that these measures along with strict enforcement of law to prohibit child labour (Child Labour Act 1986 to be amended accordingly) will improve family income and enable parents who are workers from the unorganised sector to send children to school.

Dec 21

Campaign Against Child Labour – The Child Labour Prohibition Bill 2014

Campaign Against Child Labour*

 The Child Labour Prohibition Bill 2014

 PART – I

 PRELIMINARY 

  1. Short title, extent and commencement                                                                                                                            
  • This Act may be called the Child Labour Prohibition Act – 2014

 

  • It extends to the whole of India

 

  • The Provisions of this Act shall come into force immediately on receiving the Presidents assent and the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette. Some parts may come into force within 120 days and 365 days.

 

  • The purpose of this Act is to prohibit employment of all children upto 18 years in all forms of employment and Right to Free, Compulsory, Quality and Equitable Education upto 18 years or 12th, 
  1. Definitions:

 

  • “Appropriate government”
  • “Child”
  • “Child Labour”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     —————————————————————————————————————

 

  • The earlier version of this bill was discussed at two National Consultation at Chennai organized by Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, Campaign Against Child Labour – Tamil Nadu and Centre for Child Rights And Development with the drafting assistance of D.Geetha, Advocate. Several Social Organisation and experts participated in this Consultation with their comments.


  Child Labour means –

   “Child Labour Prohibition Officer” means the officer appointed under Section 6

  • “Committee”
  • “Compensation

 

  • “Employer”
  • Establishment”
  • “Factory” 
  • “Family
  • “Fund
  • “Inspector”
  • “Occupier”
  • “Rehabilitation”
  • “Reparation”
  • “Restitution”
  • “Workshop”

PART II

 PROHIBITION OF EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN AND RIGHT TO SCHOOL EDUCATION 

  1. Prohibition of employment of children:

PART – III 

  1. Right to Free, Compulsory, Quality and Equitable Education 

PART – IV 

AUTHORITIES 

  1. Child Labour Monitoring Committee:– 
  • District Task Force Committee:- 

 (4) The functions of the District Task Force shall include      

 

 

  1. Child Labour Prohibition Officer(s) – Block Level (Panchayat Union, Municipality or Municipal Corporation) 

 

  • Powers and Functions of Child Labour Prohibition Officer

 

  1. Inspector (s) for Prohibiting Child Labour 
  • The Inspectors shall have the power

PART – V

PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES

  1. Penalties 

PART – VI 

RIGHTS OF THE CHILD IN EMPLOYMENT WHEN THE CHILD LABOUR PROHIBITION BILL 2014 COMES INTO FORCE 

  1. Rights of the Child in Employment when the Child Labour Prohibition Bill 2014 comes into force       

PART – VII

REMEDIES AND RIGHTS OF CHILDREN WHEN VIOLATIONS BY THE STATE AND EMPLOYER OCCUR AFTER THE ACT IS NOTIFIED 

  1. The Child Labour Prohibition Act 2014 having ratified some of the major HR instruments

 

 

  1. Rights of Children 

 

PART – VIII 

MISCELLANEOUS 

  1. Children engaged in working in home-based and family led Establishment 
  1. Disputes as to Age: 
  1. Display of notice containing the prohibition of employment of children 
  1. Procedure relating to offences – 
  1. Child Labour Rehabilitation- Cum- Welfare Fund/Account: 
  1. Grants and loans by the Central Government 

 

  1. Power to make rules: 
  1. Rules and notifications to be laid before Parliament or State Legislature – 

 

 

  1. Certain other provisions of law not barred –

 

 

  1. Amendment of Act 11 of 1948 –

 

  1. Amendment of Act 69 of 1951 –

 

  1. Amendment of Act 44 of 1958 –

 

 

  1. Amendment of Act 27 of 1961 – 
  1. Amendment to Factories Act 1948-

 

 

  1. Power to remove difficulties –

 

The Non-Negotiable for Samacheer Kalvi

 

  1. Repeal and savings –

Contact Address:

Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF)

No.54, LDG Road, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai – 600 015, Ph: 044-22353503, Fax:22355905, email:humanrightsadvocacyandreseach@gmail.com, hrf@md3.vsnl.net.in

 

Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL – TN & PY)
Plot No.106, MGR Nagar, 100 Feet Road,  Puducherry – 605 004, Phone: 0413 2266741

 

Dec 21

Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) – Submission of Alternative Child Labour Prohibition Bill, 2014.

 

18.07.2014

To

Dear Madam / Sir,

Sub. : 1.    Submission of Alternative Child Labour Prohibition Bill, 2014

  1. Recommendations on Child Labour (Prohibition &

Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 – regarding

 

 Ref.: Notification of Ministry of Labour and Employment

          No. A-42025/2/2004.

—–

­

Greetings from Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL).

Several Civil Society organizations and Federations have come together and prepared an Alternative Child Labour Prohibition Bill, 2014 which is enclosed herewith. We request the Labour Ministry to take this into serious consideration towards total eradication of child labour in all forms upto the age of 18 years.

We acknowledge that the Ministry of Labour and Employment proposes to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and is inviting comments.

We held a Consultation on Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 on 5th July 2014 in Chennai. The observation and Recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the comments of the Ministry of Labour and Employment have been analyzed and studied. This was held in collaboration with UNICEF Office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

We support the Parliamentary Standing Committee in recommending  that  instead  of  having  a  fragmented  approach  on  the  issue,  legislation for each case of child labour, the  Government  should  bring  a  New  Child  Labour  Policy and Legislation. 

We present the Main Recommendations of the Consultation as below.

  • As per the National Policy for Children, 2013, ` a child is any person below the age of eighteen years’. Hence a new term `adolescent’ for classification of children is not a required. The term adolescent is not legal a term and it is related only for sociological reasons. Further, India has ratified the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states in Article 1 that a Child means every human being below the age of 18 years.
  • The proposal to link the age of child (in the new Act) with the age defined in The Right of Child to Free and Compulsory Education Act is not acceptable; the age should be linked with the age defined in  the National Policy for Children, 2013. Therefore the Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 has to be amended so as to grant this right for free and compulsory education upto 18 years or completion of 12th

Several laws already define the Child as a person who has not completed 18 years of age that include

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
  • It is not acceptable to ‘regulate’ child Labour even after 67 years of Independence. Article 24 of the Constitution of India (Fundamental Rights) read together with Article 14,15,19,21,21A, 23, and Directive Principles Article 39(e) (f), 39(A) , 45,46, 47 illegalises child labour. Child Labour should be prohibited upto 18 years of age in all forms of Employment. Hence we need a Child Labour Prohibition Act, 2014 (CLPA) which civil society organisations have drafted for the union governments consideration. Article 32 of UNCRC enjoins upon the Government of India to recognize the Right of the Child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous so as to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

 

  • Child helping  her/his  family before or after  school  hours  or  during  vacations,  in  fields,  home  based  work  forest  gathering, animal husbandry  should also be prohibited, upto the age of 18 years  since it interferes with the child’s right to education, leisure, mental or physical health, moral or social development. There are several evidence that this provision has been misused by employers and the homes have been slowly converted into production places. Therefore, it is not required and would promote indirectly, to engage children in the labour sector. Match industries, beedi making, spinning mills, carpet making and Fireworks are some examples how home based work takes place for lakhs of children.

 

 

  • The proposal to punish the parents and guardians of the child labourers is not acceptable. The Supreme  Court  in  its  judgment  in  the  case  of  C. Mehta  had  observed  that  providing  an  alternative  source  of  income  to  the  family  is  a  prerequisite  for  the  eradication  of  child  labour  and  that  employment  should  be  provided  to  an  adult  in  the  family  in  lieu  of  a  working child.

 

  • Employer by whatever name including agent, contractor, occupier etc., should be made the offender and those who facilitate the procurement of child for labour shall be the abettor and face charges of criminal intimidation and conspiracy. Public Servants neglecting to do their duty to prohibit or rescue child labour should also be punished.

 

  • Prohibition should not be limited to prohibition of employment upto 14 years. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 prohibits children only up to 14 years and upto 18 years only in certain occupations. It also provides for exemption for children below 14 years to work as detailed in the exemption clauses. There should be no exemption clauses or special Schedules detailing prohibited occupations and processes.

 

  • We disagree with the separation between hazardous and non-hazardous. All forms of employment or work that denies Education, Childhood, etc., upto 18 years is hazardous.

 

  • Any employment of children is a Criminal Offence. All those employing children directly or through agents, middlemen, occupier, etc., are liable to being treated as a cognizable and non – bail able offence. Public servants are also punishable for negligence of duties

 

  • Remedies for children employment violating the law prohibiting child labour must include measures for rescue, rehabilitation, compensation, reparation, restitution and right to participation and information in all legal proceedings

 

  • It is also important that other legislation like Mines and Mineral Act, Minimum Wages Act 1948, the Plantations Labour Act 1951, Merchant Shipping Act 1958, Motor Transport workers Act,1961, Factories Act 1948 which prohibits Child Labour upto 14 years must hereafter be amended to prohibit child labour upto 18years.

 

Dec 21

Public Protest AGAINST GENOCIDE OF GIRL CHILDREN

 

Public Protest AGAINSTGENOCIDE OF GIRL CHILDREN Date: 16.12.2014                  Time: 3.00 p.m.

Venue:   Chepauk Guest House, Chennai

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

To

The Editor / Chief Reporter / Chief of Bureau

Special Correspondent / Station Director / News Director

 

Dear Sir / Madam

Campaign Against Sex Selective Abortion (CASSA) today at a Protest held at Chepauk, Chennai condemned the growing genocide of daughters and called for its immediate halt and strict implementation of Pre-Consumption and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technics Act (PCPNDT) Act. A spokesperson for CASSA said that there is an missing of 53,158 girl children in the year 2011 alone before and after birth in the age group of 0 – 6 years. This is as per the Infant Mortality Rate of Girls in Tamil Nadu at 20 per 1000, and Under 5 Mortality Rate of Girls at 30 per 1000. If this trend continues, it can be projected that approximately 5 lakh girl children will be missing in the next census period 2021, which was approx. 3 lakh in the census period ending 2011.

cassa-001

This is largely due to the practice of sex selection and abortion. CASSA further said that this increase in elimination of female fetus and increasing in the declining child sex ratio is a direct cause of the failure of the Health and Family Welfare Department, and specifically the non-implementation of the PCPNDT Act 1994 (as amended up to 2002) by the State and the District Appropriate Authorities. This is despite, the Campaign said, numerous Interim Orders by the Supreme Court directing the State for the constitution of State Supervisory Board, State Inspection and Monitoring Committee, District Advisory Committees; submission of report on sale of sex determination and sex selection technologies (scan and imaging technologies) to the Appropriate Authorities by the manufacturers, distributors, importers etc.,. The Campaign said that in Tamil Nadu, it is a shame that the Appropriate Authorities do not use their powers of the Civil Court, to verify registration, and other records, including Form F, power to summon persons concerned and records required, seizing the machines and cancelling the registration etc., regarding violation of the provisions.

cassa-002

During the Protest, Mr Jeeva, Convenor of CASSA welcomed the gathering and detailed the facts regarding the PCPNDT Act and the reasons for the missing daughters. Dr V.Vasanthi Devi, Former Chairperson of Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women delivered the inaugural address on the theme of the protest. Advocate Sudha Ramalingam, Senior Advocate of Madras High Court, Dr G.R. Ravindranath, General Secretary-Doctors’ Association for Social Equality, Kavignar Salma, Former Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, Dr. R. Senthil, Ex. MP of PMK, Advocate Badar Sayeed-Madras High Court, Ms. P. Suganthi, State General Secretary of AIDWA, Mr K.S.Kumar, Tamil Nadu Odukkappaddore Vazhvurimai Iyakkam, Chennai, Ms Revathy – Film Director, Ms Kavitha Muralidharan from India Today, Ms Virgil – Director of Arunodhaya, Mr Thomas Jeyaraj – League for Child Rights also participated and spoke on the theme of the protest.

The declining trend in Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in 17 dstricts in Tamil Nadu in the census period 2011, the skewing Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) in 2011 as 905 and a decline in SRB in 20 districts in 2012 comparing with 2011, clearly indicates the intensity of gender biased sex elimination by misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination and sex selection and poor implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 2002 (PCPNDT Act).

According to National Family Health Survey 3, in Tamil Nadu, 24 per cent of the married women in the age group of 20 – 24 were married before the age of 18 years.  Prevalence of anemia among school students was found to be 78 per cent.  The rate of child malnutrition  (two third of children are anaemic and one third are undernourished) and neo-natal mortality  (three fourth of infant deaths in the state occur within 28 days of birth) remain as the major concerns.  Inspite of this disturbing status of children, the Government of Tamil Nadu is planning to privatise ICDS Scheme.  It only reflects the gender blindness of the State.

Inspite of these realities, the Government of Tamil Nadu has not paid enough attention for the enforcement of PCPNDT Act 1994 amended Act 2002, which is a principal legal strategy to address the declining trend.  It has introduced Cradle Baby Scheme and Girl Child Protection Scheme, which are not aiming to address the root issues.  Health care services for women have been reduced to reproductive health care.  From Birth to Death, women are never considered as independent souls.

Moreover, the incidence of maternal deaths, early marriages, violence against women are threatening factors against the peaceful existence of women.   We want our government to commit to the cause of girl children and protect and promote the children’s right to survival, especially girl children to right to be born and life.

cassa-003

In order to mobilize collective voice against state’s insensitivity to gender blind policies and demand the state to hall all forms of violence against women, including the extreme form of sex selective abortion and female infanticide and to raise the civil consciousness of the general public, CASSA in coordination with sever other forums for children, women and human rights, organized a Public Protest near Chepauk Guest House, Chennai on 16th December 2014.

The following demands were placed to the State:

  • Strictly enforce the PCPNDT Act 2002 and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971.
  • Constitute immediately the State Supervisory Board and State Advisory Committee.
  • Include SRB and IMR Gender Differential as part of the health indicators.
  • Government should undertake a research to study the link between the increasing scan centres and decreasing number in birth of girl children.
  • Publish a white paper on the status of utilization of funds and schemes for the welfare of the girl children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and feeding mothers.
  • Immediately withdraw the policy of the government to privatize ICDS Scheme.
  • Take action against irregularities found in the implementation of the ICDS scheme.
  • Enact a legislation to protect the rights of the Pre-School children (0 – 3 years).
  • Strictly enforce the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act and Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act.
  • Raise the age of marriage of women to 21 years by amendment.
  • In order to include all the children under the welfare schemes for health and development, bring coordination between Rural Development Department, Social Welfare Department, Health Department and Education Department.
  • Ensure an enabling and violent free environment for women and children.

Keeping the above demands in mind, the Tamil Nadu Government should take all the measures to eliminate anti girl child policy and anti-girl child attitude prevailing in the society.  The State should ensure the protection of all the rights of children upto 18 years and specifically the right to birth and survival of girl children by creating an enabling social, economic and political environment to live a dignified life without violence.

Please publish this news item in your esteem media and support us in addressing the issue of declining child sex ratio and the social consequences of genocide.

 Thanking you

Yours sincerely

 

  1. Jeeva

State Convenor

  1. Phavalam

Co-Convenor

  1. Fernandes

    Co-Convenor

Dec 21

A fact-finding Investigation into the incident of rape and murder of a 10 years old girl at Perumal Koil, Karudu forest in Chendrayanpalayam village, Vazhapadi taluk, Salem District on 5th of February 2014.

Short Description: 

child-004

On 14-02-2014 night, Thenmozhi (name changed) daughter of Paramasivam was abducted from the house. Next day Mr. Paramasivam got news that child Thenmozhi’s nude dead body was hanging in a neem tree at Chendrayanpalayam’s Perumal Kovil foothills.  Five persons Poobathi, Anandha Babu, Prabhakaran, Bala Krishnan and Anadhan were arrested by police and released under the Bail conditions.

Findings:

  • Paramasivam’s house doesn’t have doors. They used curtain instead of door. So it was easy for the outsiders to enter the house. Paramasivam took some money from his aunt Chinnaiyee Ganesa to purchase a handloom machine. Chinnaiyee Ganesa ran a small tuck shop using a portion of Paramasivam’s house. Later Chinnaiyee Ganesa demanded Paramasivam to sell his whole house to her and Paramasivam refused to do so. So Chinnaiyee Ganesa got angry and challenged to drive out Paramasivam’s family from the village before the temple festival. Chinnaiyeee Ganesa sold her tuck shop to Babu now arrested in connection with Thenmozhi’s murder. The five persons now arrested always use to drink and create problem in the village.

Thenmozhi was raped, murdered and hanged in a neem tree at the nearby foothill of Perumal temple. All the five were booked under Goondas Act and arrested the police. Case was registered under sexual harassment and child protection act. But the offenders were released under Bail and Chinnaiyee Ganesa’s family members were supporting the offenders. The government didn’t pay any compensation to Paramasivam’s family.

Recommendations:

child-005

  • The police must file a strong case and see to it that the offenders were punished by the Court.
  • Compensation should be provided to Paramasivam’s family by the government immediately.
  • The government should give a handloom machine at free of cost to Paramasivam. The government must also help Paramasivam to educate his other two children.

For full report please contact HRF

Dec 21

Fact finding report on sexual abuse of 2 girl children in TELC, student hostel at Pollachi, Coimbatore district.

Introduction:

Nowadays news about incidents of sexual abuse against children has become a daily issue. The news of two girl children sexually abused in Pollachi, Coimbatore district is a continuation of it. Tamil Evangeline Lutheran Church (TELC) is running an elementary school and a boys’ hostel at Pollachi, Coimbatore district. On 11.06.2014, two girl children staying in the TELC boys’ hostel were sexually abused and the same was reported in various newspapers on 12.06.2014 and 13.06.2014. A fact finding team was constituted by Tamil Nadu Child Rights Protection and they visited several places related to this incident and interviewed several people on 17.06.2014 and 18.06.2014 and has prepared a report on the same.

child-002

Brief facts of the case:

On 11.06.2014 night around 11:45pm when the children of TELC hostel were sleeping an unknown  person entered the hostel and abducted Magi (10 year old) and Dhanya (11 year old) by threatening with knife. He took them both to the nearby Sarvodhaya Sangam terrace and sexually abused them. A complaint was registered with the police and police rescued the two children and admitted them in Pollachi Government Hospital. A person named Veerasamy was arrested by the police in relation to this case. The warden of the hostel was also arrested and the hostel was sealed and the children were rescued and sent to some other home. Now most of the students were taken back by their parents and only few are in staying in home. 

Findings:

The TELC Church administration was running the hostel without obtaining proper permission from the government. TELC hostel was meant only for boys wherein three girls were admitted in that hostel this year which is against the norms. The hostel was surrounded by several damaged,  abandoned buildings and huge bushes. The doors and windows were badly damaged. The toilets and bathrooms were bit far from the hostel room, surrounded by bushes and without any lights. There is no running water facility in the toilets and bathrooms. There was no watchman for the hostel and also the warden also does not stay with the students in the night. The steps leading to the terrace of  Sarvodhaya Sangam building is very close to the hostel and it could be accessed by anyone from outside since there is no proper compound wall. There are large numbers of empty alcohol bottles and water covers scattered everywhere. This place looks like refuge for drinking people. More than one person came into the hostel with the main accused.

child-003

Recommendations:

All the three accomplishes of main accused also should be booked under POSCO Act. The Police department authorities are not aware of the POSCO Act. So the government must take steps to train the authorities about the POSCO Act. The two girls must be given proper Psychiatric treatment and the government must help and make sure that these girls continue their education. The government must take hard stand and take steps to close down all the unregistered hostels and homes throughout the state. The authorities who turned blind eye and allowed this unregistered hostel to function must be punished.

 

For full report please contact HRF

 

Dec 21

Fact Finding Investigation into the process of Spinning Mills Exploiting School Children as Labourers in Dindigul District conducted on 17th and 18th July 2014

INTRODUCTION

In and around Dindigul district several Textile and Spinning mills are functioning. In these mills children even below 14 years were being employed. It is very common here for the children to work in these Textile and Spinning mills during their school annual holidays. This year when the holidays were over the children working in the mills wanted to quit their job and go back to school. But the mill administration with the intent of retaining the children for work withheld their respective salaries. The children were forced to quit their studies and continue to work by the mill administration. The children were also forced to work for long hours by the mill management. Under the Sarva Shiksha Abiyan Scheme when education department authorities tried to enroll the dropped out school children in and around Kambilliambati village they came to know about children being employed in the mills. So they raided the mills and rescued 22 children employed by Bannari Amman Mills. Campaign against Child Labour (CACL), Tamil Nadu came to know about this incident through newspapers and a fact finding team was constituted to find out the truth.

child-001

Findings  and Conclusions:

  • In Dindigul-Karur and Dindigul-Trichy national highways (four lane roads) there are nearly 76 spinning mills and textile mills situated on both sides of road within a radius of 20km from Dindigul city. Some mill owners even own up to 2 to 10 spinning mills.
  • A large number of children even below 13 years upto 18 years are employed in all textiles and spinning mills. It is common for the children even standard VIII to drop out of school and be absorbed for employment in mills. Atleast 20 to 100 children are employed in shifts through day and night.
  • Denying their childhood and rights of children in the Indian Constitution and UNCRC these children do the same jobs as adults. They are used by mills for high surplus value extraction working more than 10 hours per day besides travel time. The Children are travelling at least 10 to 30 Kms every day for work.
  • At least 30 vehicles (van and bus) go to villages in and around Vedhachandhur, Vadhamadurai. They transport people from villages to their work shifts and bring them back. Atleast to 30% to 40% of them are children.
  • The percentage of high school and higher secondary schooling dropout is increasing in an alarming rate. The percentage of student’s continuing their education above 8th standard is drastically going down. The spinning mills are employing children above 14 years old as workers, which make the 9th standard students to choose spinning mill work against their education.
  • The mill owners are employing children above 14 years old as labours. They are taking shelter under the Factories Act wherein it allows children above 14 years to be employed. They fail to honour the Constitution the UNCRC which India has ratified and the National Policy on Children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children in Dindugal District work in these Textile and Spinning Mills discontinuing their studies

For detail Report contact HRF

Dec 20

National Conference on People’s Right to Information: Assessing Compliance of Police and Prison Authorities with the Transparency Regime

reforms-003Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative along with National Law University, Delhi organised the National Conference – “Assessing Compliance of Police and Prison Authorities with the Transparency Regime” during 20th – 21st September, 2014. Records creation under the criminal justice system from the micro to the macro level was discussed. The compliance with proactive disclosure obligations in police and prison departments was assessed. In light of the findings, a template for voluntary disclosure of information at a Police Station was shared and commented upon.

 

Participants also shared their own experience of RTI based interventions in police departments. CHRI presented their preliminary findings on the basis of a study of the status of compliance in police departments of creating a public database. Use of technology in documenting the processes of the criminal justice system as well as the Open Government Data platform was deliberated upon. The challenges and opportunities of the sub-culture in the Law Enforcement Agencies were addressed. The conference saw a 20 point action plan emerge from the contributions from participants.reforms-004

HRF also participated in this National Conference and presented a case chart containing details of RTI applications filed by HRF from 2007 to 2014 regarding prison deaths, torture in custody, encounter deaths, etc., and the reply received from various authorities at the Conference. Data on how various states and civil society organisations have taken steps to restructure their police laws and their experiences were exchanged in Conference.

 

 

 

 

reforms-005

 

Some Key details discussed:

  1. a) Status of compliance with the obligation of proactive disclosure of information by the police and prison departments – assessment on the basis of sample studies;
  2. b) Status of compliance in Police Departments with the obligation to proactively disclose information about individuals arrested for the alleged commission of various offences under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
  3. c) Disclosure of Open Datasets pertaining to the incidence of crime, prisons, and disposal of criminal cases by courts:
  4. potential for human rights advocates and civil society actors for seeking greater accountability using the Open Datasets; and

 

  1. interrogating the method of collection and the quality of data sets relating to crimes;
  2. d) Sharing of experiences and best practices of embedding transparency in the police and prisons departments; and

e)      Refining the templates for proactive disclosure of information at the police station level developed by CHRI and adopted by the Ahmedabad Police Commissionerate.

 

Dec 20

CITIZENS URGE THE GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL NADU TO ACT ON POLICE REFORMS

Dear Madam Chief Minister,

 

As you are aware, the Supreme Court Judgment of 2006 in the Prakash Singh case has stressed the need for police reform and issued directions, with a view to improve the autonomy, accountability, effectiveness and responsiveness of the police.  Subsequently the Supreme Court has issued certain directions for implementation. Tamil Nadu has not complied with several of the directives and avoided implementation.  We do not see any critical circumstance that requires the government to take “immediate action’ via an ordinance when for seven years there has appeared in successive government’s eyes no great compulsion to comply with the Supreme Court’s orders.

 

Seven years after the said Judgment, the Government has recently issued the Tamilnadu Police [Reforms] Ordinance, 2013 in purported implementation of the directions of the Supreme Court.  It is distressing that an Ordinance route has been preferred rather than a regular Bill in the Assembly, which could have enabled an informed discussion both among the elected representatives and among various sections of the public.

 

It is discouraging to note that the safeguards of independence and accountability explicitly drawn up by the Court’s directives have been removed or ignored in the Ordinance. The composition of the State Security Commission – a body that is set up to curb undue political interference in policing has been severely compromised. A Police Establishment Board to look into transfers, postings and promotions of officers of various levels has also been created via the Ordinance. However the wording of the relevant provisions, rather than insulating it from political influence, makes it vulnerable to the same. In terms of accountability – the oversight body created by the Ordinance is weak and subservient and nowhere resembles an empowered, independent police oversight body that is effective and able to curb policing malpractice and abuse.

 

 

 

We urge that a Bill be introduced to replace the Ordinance containing the following features:

 

  • Clause 3(3)(e) of the Ordinance which provides that a DGP can be prematurely removed “on other administrative grounds to be recorded in writing” should be deleted as it would undermine the autonomy of the police force. Clause 4 should also be similarly amended in case of tenure of subordinate officers.
  • There should be an explicit provision for the independent functioning of the DGP and prohibiting political interference in matters of:
    • Law enforcement
    • Investigation and prosecution of offences
    • Administrative decisions relating to individual police officers
  • The Security Commission should be an independent body comprising of atleast one or two sitting or retired High Court or Supreme Court Judges, and also 3 to 5 independent members from different sections of Civil Society:
  • The State Police Complaints Authority and the District Police Complaints Authority under Clauses 10 and 14 are composed predominantly of police officials, which undermines the very purpose of creation of such an Authority. The State Authority should be headed by a retired judge of the High Court /Supreme Court chosen from a panel proposed by the Chief Justice of the High Court and have 3 to 5 independent members chosen from a panel proposed by the State Human Rights Commission.  Similarly the District Authority should be headed by a District Judge chosen from a panel proposed by the Chief Justice and have 3 to 5 independent members.  The recommendations of both the State and District Authorities must be binding on the State Government.

 

  • Clause 12 and 15 should be amended to provide for submission of a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority in writing or orally (which may be reduced to writing by an official of the Authority) by a victim or any non-governmental organization espousing the cause of the victims and the provision for a notarized affidavit should be done away with.

 

The police force today is not only seen but also acts as, repressive system and protected by legal and de facto immunities. This must change. The primary goal of policing must be to ensure an environment in which all segments of the population can enjoy the fullest realization of their individual and collective Constitutional rights. We consider that new policing should be informed by the paramount values of democracy; norms of liberty: the realization of rights and inclusiveness.  Thus it is imperative that any new law to govern future policing in the state must be one that takes account of the recommendations of the Supreme Court as well as the needs and values of modern policing.  It must facilitate the emergence of a force which is effective, law-abiding and impartial and an institution that is schooled in constitutional values and scientific methods of investigation and law enforcement.  This is possible only if the administrative structure provides for a police force that is independent and accountable at the same time.

 

We therefore urge you, Madam, to introduce a Bill in the Assembly incorporating the directives of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit as suggested above, and refer the Bill to a Select Committee so as to facilitate a wider debate on all issues surrounding the Bill at the earliest.  We expect that the Select Committee would then hear the views of various sections of the public and propose measures to strengthen the independence and accountability of the police in Tamilnadu. No law introduced to govern policing today should be passed without wide public consultation.

Dec 20

Consultation on Drafting an Alternative Tamil Nadu Police Bill Replacing The Police Act of 1861 and Other Police Laws 25th October 2014, Chennai

REPORT

 

A Consultation on Drafting an Alternative Tamil Nadu Police Bill 2014 Replacing The Police Act of 1861 was jointly organised by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Campaign for Custodial Justice & Abolition of Torture and Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF). The Consultation was held on 25th October 2014 at Chennai.

 

At the end of the meeting a drafting committee was formed to draft an Alternative Tamil Nadu Police Law representing advocates, writers, human rights organisations, representatives of political parties and dalits and women’s rights organisations.  The following resolutions were taken at the conclusion of the meeting.

 

Resolutions pertaining to police legislation:

  • Purpose of a Police Act is to establish the basic structure and organization of the police, with accountability processes and mechanisms. Must be seen that the directives of the Supreme Court are complied with.
  • A Police Act should not create new coercive powers for the police, nor should it dilute accountability in any way
  • Any offences against the public must be kept to a minimum
  • A Police Act should not restate powers already available under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Different words in different laws that refer to and address the same set of circumstances create uncertainty and confusion, and allows in arbitrary actions.
  • Wherever applicable, any offences against the police in the Police Act must be read with all existing penal offences, mandatorily for those which amount to criminal offences

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Justice.K.P.Sivasubramanian, Former Judge, High Court of Madras,  Mr.Ossie Fernandes, Director, HRF,  Mr M.Jeeva, Convenor, CCJAT presenting their views

 

 

Some important followup action that where decided by the delegates

 

  • A Separate Consultation for media persons to be organised on police reforms
  • Educational material on existing issues like illegal arrest, delay in filling cases, custodial torture should be explained and taken to common people.
  • Signature Campaign with a educational leaflet to create huge support for police reforms to be organised
  • A note on critique of the 1861 Police Act, Tamil Nadu District Police Act and City Police Acts with the reason why it should be repealed should be drafted
  • Resolve to implead in the Supreme Court petition by Harsh salve challenging the 17 State police Acts including Tamil Nadu for diluting the Supreme Court Judgment in Prakash singh case
  • To work together to defeat (repeal) all draconian detention laws

 

Ossie Fernandes, Director, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation presented an Alternative Frame Work for a Tamil Nadu Police Act. He called for a complete radical change in Legislation governing the police and the mechanism for making the police system democratic independent, transparent and accountable. He said that several progressive decisions of the Surpeme Court where in contradiction to the day today functioning of the police system. He further added while quoting the alternative frame work that such a law should contain essential content including

  • role and function of police,
  • an accountable, transparent police station,
  • procedure to be followed by the police in the case of arrest, rape and sexual abuse, death in police custody and in extra judicial killings.
  • should contain a State Security Commission,
  • separate Investigation and Law and Order function of the police,
  • the need for a Police Establishment Board,
  • a Police Complaints Authority and Police Accountability Commission and Authority

 

Addressing the key session Ms. Devika Prasad, Sr. Programme Officer, CHRI said that after the Supreme Court Judgement in 2006 in Prakash singh case, 17 states have enacted New Police Act. But none of the states incorporated the 7 Directives of Supreme Court in letter and spirit. Rather it is diluted. Currently police accountability in Tamil Nadu by the standards of the Police Reforms Act 2013 has degenerated and does not guarantee even ensure minimum standards for the functioning of a police station. With regard to State Security Commission (SSC) we require the systemic process of evaluation of police performance. It is unfortunate that in Tamil Nadu the chairpersons of existing Human Rights Commissions have appointed to the State Security Commission in violation of Supreme Court Directives.

 

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Selva Singh, State Committee Member, CPI (M) sharing his opinion about the importance of Police Reforms

Ms.Devika Prasad pointed out in the CHRI critique of the Tamil Nadu Police (Reforms) Act 2013 that the act  passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly despite demands from the opposition parties be sent to a Select Committee was in gross violations of the Supreme Court case in judgment of Prakash Singh case. Devika Prasad said that the Tamil Nadu Police (Reforms) Act had diluted extensively the directives of the Supreme Court.

 

 

She said that there was no independent member in the State Security Commission. She pointed out of the worst aspect of the act is the Police Complaints Board (which is to deal complaints abuses against police officer) it makes it mandatory for people to file a return complaint attested by a notary public.

 

Basic features of a new act should be

 

  • A police Act should not create any new coercive powers to police
  • Police Act need not reflect already existing provisions in criminal laws
  • Any breach of DK Basu guidelines should be punished.
  • Already for some crimes punishment, guidelines will be there, such things need not be added in new police Act.
  • Lesser punishments for the already defined offence in IPC/ CrPc should be increased

 

M.Jeeva, Convenor, Campaign for Custodial Justice & Abolition of Torture chaired the inaugural session. Around 43 participants including retd Judges, Civil society organisations, senior lawyers, women’s organisations, political party representatives, Journalists, human rights organisations and social movements participated.  In separate session the representatives of Political parties Selva Singh, State Committee Member, CPI (M), Beema Rao, MLA,CPI (M),  Hyder Ali, MMK, Mallai Sathya, Natarajan, MDMK, Kumaresh, CPI(ML) shared views on the importance enacting an alternative Police Bill for Tamil Nadu. They also gave some suggestion such as Additional sections on ensuring women safety; makes a woman confident to give complaint in a police station should be included in the alternative laws.

 

Mr.Jeeva said that CCJAT has a role in exposing many custodial violations including torture, deaths, rape, encounter deaths, etc., This Campaign is also involved in filing litigations against custodial violations. As part of our campaign for democratic policing, this consultation is organised. He further said the present Tamil Nadu Police Act 2013 is not fulfilling the 7 directives of Supreme Court. Policing should function independently from political pressures. Irrespective of various statutory commissions existing violations against common people by police is continuing.

 

The committee authorized organisers of the meeting to take the necessary steps for drafting and circulating a New Police Act and implementing the plan for followup action

 

 

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