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PUCL Bulletin, March 2006

A fair, just and equitable treatment for the NGOs

A letter to the State Governor by Indukumar Jani, Editor, Naya Marg; Prakash N. Shah, Editor, Niriikshaka; Devavrat N. Pathak, President Gujarat PUCL; Gautam Thaker, General Secretary Gujarat PUCL

His Excellency Rajyapalshri,

The State of Gujarat,
Raj Bhavan,

Respected Rajyapalshri, We beg to bring to your kind notice the following for your kind consideration. PUCL, People’s Union for Civil liberties is a nation- wide (NGO) a voluntary organization primarily concerned about human rights, liberties and the dignity of the citizen.

The present day world is being run by three major institutions (1) The State (2) The Market and (3) The Civil Society, all three of them working together, but also respecting each one’s sphere, functioning with autonomy of operation. Ultimately, it is the civil society, the people at large, who occupy sovereign position. All NGOs spring from Civil Society. They are close to people; they know them well and work for their welfare. All NGOs may not be of high rank nor can they function with equal success. But their valuable work needs to be appreciated, supported and sustained by the State. This is particularly true of SEWA. They have attained international reputation chiefly because they work on Gandhian lines devote their full energies to empower lower caste women, the Dalits, the poor and the marginalized. It is therefore all the more painful when we learnt that the State Government has chosen to treat in a less then dignified way.

Perhaps it is the topmost NGO not only of Gujarat but perhaps of Indian as a whole. If the State Government thinks otherwise, they should take into their consideration the position, popularity and prestige of SEWA. PUCL stands for the maintenance, observance and protection of human rights of all particularity of the NGO and the one like SEWA that is working for the upliftment and the dignity of women. Gender justice is the urgent need of our times. Let us not be found wanting in our effort.

The question that worries us is about the relationship between the Government and the NGOs. If a well recognized NGO like SEWA receives perfunctory treatment, what kind of fate would await several other NGOs working in Gujarat? May we take the liberty to request you honour to have to look at the whole matter from all sides so as to extend a fair, just and equitable treatment to NGOs, in this case the SEWA.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014