Legal Clinics

The Unit has been organising Legal Clinics to create a survivor friendly space where the survivors, witnesses, defenders , advocates and legal experts congregate for discussing the facts and status of the atrocities cases for strategising legal action and its follow up.In this year, we organized 11 legal clinics in the states of Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra ,Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, and provided support in 132 critical cases.

The preparation of legal clinic includes providing support to the survivors in drafting complaints, case registration, legal guidance and assistance throughout the process. After the legal clinic, the cases are effectively followed up by the associated advocates and defenders.The legal clinics have strengthened the relations and inculcated sense of confidence and solidarity among the survivors, advocates and Dalit human rights defenders.

Advocates Forum and Legal Resource Centres

It has been bringing committed Dalits and Adivasis advocates together and forming state level advocates forums which are effective platform for intervening in the Dalits atrocities cases and counter the prevalent caste based discrimination in courtrooms. This year 11 consultations were organised for promoting advocate forums and building their prosecution capacities. More than 415 advocates were mobilised this year across different states for forming state level advocates forums. These advocates are playing major role in generating awareness and monitoring the implementation of SCs and STs (PoA) Amendment Act 2015 and other legislations at ground level.

To promote the Advocates forums, five Legal Resource Centres (LRC’s) were established in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with State partners for providing support to the Dalits and Adivasis advocates in intervening in the Dalits and Adivasis atrocities cases. The LRCs have provided numerous opportunities to the new and young associated advocates to enhance their legal knowledge, skills and calibre necessary for case prosecution. As of now 120 advocates are associated with the LRCs.


Special Public Prosecutors

The legal centres major milestone has been spearheading a movement of ‘Appointment of Special Public Prosecutors’ (Section 15 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 and Rule 4(5) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995) for intervening in Special courts. This is very significant measure as it empowers the Dalits and Adivasis survivors to file petitions for appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPP) of own choice in critical atrocity cases. The LRCs also snowballing its scope of intervention with its initiatives of organising legal awareness camps, filing appeals, writ petitions and public interest litigations for the larger benefit of the Dalits and Adivasis communities. In this year, we filed 37 applications for SPP Appointment and received order of SPP appointment in 11cases.

Legal Workshops

1 National level (Delhi) and 3 State level legal workshops (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh) were conducted for analysing the collated case evidences of 30 serious Dalit women related atrocity cased for legal intervention and victim experiences in accessing justice. 86 Activists participated on the workshops. The collected evidence that demonstrates the systematic nature of violence against Dalit women and the structural, institutional and criminal justice system failings of State responses to cases of violence against Dalit women and girls were recorded for national and international advocacy.

Case Intervention

Violence against Dalit women: Increasing violence with aggravated forms of sexual assault on Dalit women led THE UNIT to exert impetus on differentiated, focussed and concentrated intervention for protection of Dalit women against violence. In this year the Unit conducted systematic fact findings and legal intervention in nearly 51 cases of violence against Dalit women. These cases were effectively followed up by the trained Dalit women activists and lawyers to support the victims at each stage of the case proceedings towards accessing justice.

Violence against children: As part of the ‘Zero Discrimination Campaign’the CSOs associated with the campaign are monitoring schools, conducted 45 fact finding on the select discrimination and violence cases of children and organized local advocacy with the police for invoking proper sections of POCSO and SCs and STs (PoA) Act. It has also been engaging with National Commission for Scheduled Castes,NCPCR and Social Welfare department for submitting the representations on the discrimination and violence cases for their intervention for speedy justice and to make inclusive policies for schools.