Can you believe that it’s been three years to this campaign? Yes! It’s been 3 full years! And, what a remarkable journey it has been!
With your support, Telangana now has a fully-functional Women’s Commission [Imagine me screaming this from rooftops!] The new Chairperson is a 3-time MLA and 2-time Cabinet Minister previously. We got the chance to speak to her about her vision and way forward – and i have to tell you – we are pumped!! We look forward to witnessing change under her guidance.
Sooo, presenting the Annual newsletter – my team calls it the victory edition – and rightfully so! Please give it a read – this latest edition was made with love, commitment and lots of team work. Things to look out for
Original cover art by the lovely designer Meghna
Chairperson’s vision and agenda for Telangana Women’s Commission
Special article: People in power and victim blaming
Special article: Women in Politics
Guest article: India’s CoVid widows
WCM campaigns, Volunteer quotes, Thought bubbles, etc.
Look forward to receiving feedback!
Interested in volunteering? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Please take in a moment to soak in the fact that Telangana today has a fully-functional Women’s Commission because of YOUR support. Because of your belief in collective change. Today, let’s celebrate this long-term systemic change we achieved and recommit ourselves to working together for gender justice!
Thank you for signing my petition. I am relieved to see that Bangalore city finally has an ABC centre for each of the eight zones of the BBMP.
The road has been bumpy. For several years, some of the zones had no dedicated NGO to attend to ABC, and the street dog population kept growing. Then, after the tenders were finalised, Covid struck, and ABC came to a halt during the lockdowns. Later, it resumed in some zones, but the monsoons set in. Finally, the last zone — Bommanahalli — got its ABC facility in December 2020, and the ABC and ARV (anti-rabies vaccination) programs are now on in all eight zones.
In addition to this, under the stewardship of Spl. Commissioner Mr. D. Randeep and the participation of the Assistant and Deputy Directors, the BBMP Animal Husbandry department has become a more approachable entity, bringing in better facilities such as the dedicated Rabies Hotline for Bangalore. Apart from Goa, Bangalore is currently the only other place in India to have a dedicated hotline for reporting rabid and suspected rabid dogs for pickup and observation. The hotline operates from 9 to 5, Monday to Saturday, and can be reached at 6364893322.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Despite all this, we have miles to go. Only a little over half of the 3 lakh dogs were neutered as of December 2019. For any program to be effective, it needs the involvement of us citizens. Please keep an eye on every street dog in your neighbourhood and even in a couple of surrounding streets. If you spot a street dog with no ear notched, please contact the NGO for your zone.
Over the last four years my journey to fight child abuse has grown leaps and bounds because of your support. I started with this online petition to the then Union Minister Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, which was a VICTORY, and went on to change how we looked at boys being sexually abused. All because of you.
Post that, I also had several campaigns to highlight child sexual abuse and create awareness on the same with the masses. Today I am glad to announce of yet another campaign called The Hope Run, which is a pan India run to fight Child Abuse of all forms.
India is home to over 19 percent of the world’s children, making it the country with the largest child population in the world ie. more than 250 million children.
ONE IN EVERY TWO CHILDREN IS SEXUALLY ABUSED. OVER 5 MILLION CHILDREN ARE HOMELESS. 10 MILLION CHILDREN ARE ENGAGED IN SOME FORM OF CHILD LABOR.
TODAY, INDIA’S CHILDREN NEED YOU to end this huge disparity and ensure a just and safe world for every child.
Through The HOPE RUN we aim to raise visibility and awareness of the problem of child abuse and also help other NGOs working tirelessly to fight every form of child abuse. We, as responsible citizens of India must come together to ensure that these NGOs are able to continue their work and increase their visibility. Thanks to you, I have been able to do the impossible before, and once again I am reaching out to you all.
Chief Secretary, Telangana Govt issued a G.O today announcing the chairperson and 6 other members. The Commission will function for five years from the date they assume office.
Chairperson is Ms. Vakiti Sunitha Lakshma Reddy was a three time MLA from the same constituency meaning she is well-versed with the system, policy making, decision making.
This is hope. This is what collective efforts bring. It may have been a long journey of 30 months but the future is extremely hopeful for all of us in Telangana, especially 1.5 Crore womxn living here.
Thank you for believing in the cause. Thank you for supporting!
This is too early for us to look into whats next. we will definitely meet the Commission and work together. Request everyone to give the Womens Commission their due spotlight, ask them the right questions, empower them to do more for all of us!
Two Pathbreaking Judgements: Undoing The Dickensian Nightmare
A survey of the functioning of the Family Courts in India will reveal the Dickensian nightmare faced by the children in custody proceedings. The children are mute spectators and at the receiving end of the harsh system of divorce and custody litigations. The voices of these children are never ever heard. According to a recent report, 1.36 million people in India were divorced. Using the law of averages we are looking at a million children crying for their voices to be heard.
The Indian family court system in effect has been ignoring the rights of the child to make an intelligent choice for themselves.The existing status quo has now undergone a revolutionary change in two of the significant recent decisions of the Supreme Court, delivered on the same date. The decisions in Smriti Madan Kansagra v. Perry Kansagra, (2020 SCC OnLine SC 887) delivered by Justice Uday Umesh and Ms. Justice Indu Malhotra JJ (the majority opinion) and Ritika Sharan v. Sujoy Ghosh (2020 SCC Online SC 878) by Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee JJ. now gives the children the voice and the platform to verbalise their aspirations and wishes.
The anachronistic situation was being faced by the children in India despite express provisions of the Guardians and Wards Act 1890. Section 17 (3) of the Act provides, “If minor is old enough to form an intelligent preference, the Court may consider that preference”.This is in consonance with the various treaties viz. Convention of Rights of Child 1989 (signed and ratified by India) and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (adopted by India) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (signed and ratified by India).
The principle of the children being heard was endorsed in 1989 by Article 12 of the said Convention of Rights of Child: –
“1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”
“2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.”
Ecuador (in 1998), Finland (in 1995) and Poland ( in 1997) incorporated the right of the children to be heard into their Constitutions. Countries like Kazhakstan (2002), South Africa (2005) and Australia (2005) have already incorporated the right to be heard into their legislations.
In Smriti Madan Kansagra v. Perry Kansagra, (2020 SCC OnLine SC 887), the Supreme Court allowed a 11 year old child, Aditya in accordance with his wishes, to move with his father to Nairobi despite having lived all his 11 years of his life in New Delhi with his mother. The court found an personal interaction with the 11 year old. “that he was a bright and articulate child, who was capable of unequivocally expressing his preferences and aspirations”.
In Ritika Sharan v. Sujoy Ghosh in CA No. 3544-45 of 2020. (2020 SCC Online SC 878), similarly, the Supreme Court brushing aside cruelty of the technical objections allowed the 7 year old child Sattik according to his wishes to live and study in a Covid safe Singapore with his mother. The Court found ” During the course of the interaction on the video-conferencing platform,Satsqtik indicated his desire to reside with his mother in Singapore”. The Court declared, understanding the sensitivity of the children, “In matters such as the present, the welfare of the minor child is of paramount concern.The jurisdiction of this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution is a facilitative constitutional instrument to advance substantive justice”
These two decisions of the Supreme Court, is the beginning of a silent and a necessary revolution in favour of the litigation affected children by giving effect to their own wishes and aspirations. In both situations the children’s views as young as 7 and 11 of age have been ascertained with great sensitivity and carefully by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and thereafter passed orders in consonance with their wishes.
Courts below have a track record of often ignoring repeated Supreme Court’s directives and judgments in family matters.
Family Courts, it is hoped, can no longer ignore these two significant decisions. Courts can no longer treat the children as a superfluous adjunct in the legal processes or be dismissive of the children as voiceless objects. It is hoped that the wishes of the children to choose the parent to live with, the institutions, they wish to study in and the city or the country they would like to live in, is given effect to by following the mandate of the Supreme Court. It will be a silent prayer of the million odd children of India, that this decisive revolution ushered in by the two judgments of the Supreme Court is not delivered in vain and their dreams and aspirations are fulfilled.
Views are personal.
(Author is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India)
What most bothers a Decision Maker is social and public pressure. You can get a person responsible for solving a petition to answer the supporters of the campaign. Encourage yourself to take sides for what matters to you. Take a look at these tactics online:
Easy online actions:
Share the petition on your social networks and ask your friends and family to also sign. Viralization is the key to make you listen.
Find the profile of the Decision Maker in social networks. Post on his/her wall and paste the link to the request.
Leave comments with the link of the petition on each photo, publication and tweet of the Decision Maker with the link of the petition and ask for an answer.
Ask your friends to also post on the wall of the Decision Maker.
Try to contact the Decision Maker privately, get his e-mail, talk to him by direct message or try to get his WhatsApp.