A training on Special Enactments was conducted by DSS for the Women Collective Leaders and Youth leaders on 10th and 11th August 2021 at The Cen t Hotel, Lakadika Pool, Hyderabad. Important Acts which are pressed into service to protect and promote the rights of dalit women were selected for the training. A total of 35 leaders from three districts of Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Vikarabad participated in the training.
Experts in this subject were invited to deliver lectures on these Acts.
Ms. Bhagya Lakshmi, State Coordinator of Telangana State acted as themoderator of the trainings.
1. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989:
In view of the importance of this statute, Prof. Karanam Murali, who is teaching law in the prestigious NALSAR University of Law was spoke on the subject.Prof. Karanam Murali
explained the practices of discrimination and untouchability suffered by scheduled castes and analysed the constitutional provisions of equality under Article 14 and how various aspects of discrimination are prohibited under Article 15. He traced the developments in reservations in employment under Article 16. He analysed the developments of law with regard to abolition of untouchability, first in 1955 under the Untouchability Offences Act and how it was later transformed into Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976. Originally only physical injuries were regarded as offences but later even insult and abuse is considered as an atrocity.He touched upon various disabilities faced by scheduled castes like temple entry and how different laws removed those difficulties. Commenting on the implementation of the Act he pointed out that the convictions are only in 6% of the cases, due to the failure of the personnel administering the law. He narrated how the scheduled castes are boycotted in various ways, but earlier the law recognized only two types of boycotts, while now after 2015 amendments 10 varieties of boycotting the scheduled castes is made punishable. He spoke extensively on the subject, highlighting theprovisions of the Act before and after 2015 amendments. He enlightened the participants about the intricacies of various sections and the case law on the subject. Participants who faced various practical issues in dealing with the police in the implementation of the law raised their doubts which were illustratively clarified by Prof. Karnam Murali.
Jhansi Geddam,National Convener of DSS who is also qualified in law and who has lot of practical experience in the actual implementation of the Act and hurdles faced in its
application elaborated how certain provisions are circumvented. She clarified citing actual cases of atrocities how the Act is being applied improperly and how the procedures for getting compensation are flouted. She narrated the participants the actual procedure to be followed by the police and government departments in releasing compensation under the Rules. Both the resource persons presented PPT of the lecture for the benefit of the participants.
2. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act:
This is yet another important Act which can be pressed into service by the victims of domestic violence.Practicing advocate Ms. G. Keerthi spoke on the topic.She explained the provisions of the Act in detail and the practical aspects of it citing cases.She said that the Act contains a total of 37 sections of which 4 sections are important.Sections 4 to 10 lay down the rights and duties under the Act.Section 12 lays down the procedure for making an application to the
Protection Officer, to the court or direct police complaint. She pointed out that now victim women are referred to Sakhi centers in the place of Domestic Violence Cells. She narrated the various forms of violence like physical harassment, sexual harassment, emotional/verbal harassment and monitory harassment like not giving necessary money. She analysed the details of reliefs like Protection Order, Residential Order, monitory relief, compensation order under Sections 18,19,20 and 22. She said that it is mandatory to dispose of the case within 6 months.
3. Ambedkar Thought:
Imparting Ambedkarism and the ideology of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar is a continuous process and is of utmost need to free the dalit women from the unconscious influence of superstitious beliefs and demeaning traditions.Ambedkar thought is needed for gender sensitiveness also.
On this subject, Sri. PSN Murthy, IDAS (VR), explained elaborately about Ambedkar’s way of thinking and functioning. He narrated how Ambedkarism has to be made part of daily life and the responsibility of everyone to propagate the thought.He narrated in detail the life of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar from the days of his schooling to his post-graduation and Ph.D in Columbia University. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar submitted to Columbia University, his anthropological thesis on origin and development of castes in India. In recognition of Ambedkar’s intellectual acumen,Lehman Social Sciences Library, the 2nd biggest library in Columbia erected a statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Later Ambedkar did his research in economics at London School of Economics and also did his law. He practiced as a lawyer in London for a while. In 1926 he was elected as Member of Legislative Council of Bombay legislature. During 1930s he organized temple entry struggles at Nasik and further struggles for the liberation of depressed classes. He appealed to the participants to emulate the ideology of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.
4. Personality Development:
Dr. Siddoji Rao, Convener of IAS/IPS Officers Forum, Help Desk, inspired the participants on the topic of personality development.He stressed the need for positive thinking as part of one’s personality.He analysed the personality of an individual as having two components of talent and intelligence.Of these two aspects, talent is genetic while intelligence can be acquired by anyone through hard work and study.He further explained that the people can be divided into two categories, namely, traditional and modern.
. The traditional category of people blindly follow the existing social patterns of living without questioning, while the modern category of people try to understand and analyse their way of life. It is this second category of people who contribute for the development of the society.Most of the people claim rights while forgetting responsibilities. But a balanced person first thinks of responsibilities and such people are willing to work hard, sacrifice and contribute. For gaining knowledge and insights, it is necessary to understand and analyze an issue and study it deeply. He advocated that everyone should cultivate scientific spirit, democratic values and show empathy towards others, particularly the marginalized sections in a humane way.
5. POCSO Act:
P. Syamala Devi, former Chairperson of CWC gave a detailed picture of POCSO Act and various provisions of the Act.She said, for the first time a special law has been passed to address the issue of sexual offences against children.Before the enactment of this law, sexual offences were covered under IPC only and the sections in IPC didn’t cover all types of sexual offences against children.There was no distinction in IPC between an adult and a child victim.Under the POCSO Act clear definitions of offences like, pornography, sexual assault, sexual harassment has been given which did not exist under the earlier laws.She explained
that as per the POCSO Act, a child is any person below the age of 18 years and the law covers all forms of sexual assault like touching and non-touching behaviors or gestures. She explained through PPT all sections in the POCSO Act. She analysed the need for child friendly procedures to be followed in all cases. She gave details of punishments for various offences. She narrated how various sexual offences are being committed and the prevalence of child sexual abuse and appealed to the participants to be aware of the law and procedure to give complaints.
6. Fact Finding Skills:Jhansi Geddam, National Convener of DSS enlightened the participants about the methods of fact finding and how to collect data from the victims and villagers when
we go for enquiring an atrocity. She clarified how a fact-finding report has to be written and how the details have to be mentioned in order and the requisite attachments like FIR copy etc. She stressed the need for being totally truthful in presenting the data and also the need to encourage the victims/ witnesses to be truthful about facts.
7. Safeguarding Mechanisms:
Mr. Satyacama Jabali explained about the need for safeguarding procedures in any organization.He presented PPT and explained about the concept of safeguarding and the measures to be taken to prevent various harmful practices that may occur.
He narrated various types of harm that may be caused to the people, community and visitors and how to identify the same. One should know what type of behaviour is acceptable and what is not acceptable. He gave illustrations. It is necessary to report any harm caused to anyone and the need to have mechanisms of reporting. He clarified various forms of harmful behaviour and the chief functionaries to take care of complaints and action to be taken. Then it is necessary to protect children below 18 years, others likely to be harmed, people who come in touch with our work, volunteers etc. He explained all types of harm with illustrations and case studies.
8. Interactive Session:
After the two days training, the state women collective leaders and youth members discussed and shared their practical experiences. They became confident about the training and assured that they will explain to the people in their respective villages about what they learnt here.