PUCL Bulletin, 2001

PUCL Gen. Sec's note on the auditor's report

The auditors have said in their report "… we would like to draw your attention to the fact that despite being a non profit making organisation you have paid tax on your income for the second consecutive year". They have made two suggestions one of which concerns a slight change in our accounting procedures, which we have done. Their second suggestion is to, "get PUCL registered as a charitable organisation with the Income Tax authorities so that its Income is exempt from Tax. This should be an easy approval to get for an organisation like the PUCL with a galaxy of people as its members. If required we will be glad to discuss this matter further with you".

I suggest that the President and the former presidents be requested to look into this matter and take a decision.

It would be better and will impart more transparency to the working of the organisations if all the State branches maintained their accounts in a formal manner and got them audited every year. Already we have one instance where the Mangalore district branch received a notice from the Income Tax authorities. If the State branches need any help an advice in this matter, our auditors have offered to do the needful.

I would also like to draw the attention of the members of the National Council that the State branches and the members of the National Council are required to contribute to the National Office. A decision was taken long ago that every State should contribute at the rate of Rs. 100/- to the National office in lump sum or in installments and that every member of the National Council should raise or donate Rs. 1000/-per year. Enrolling two Life Members every year can do this. This decision was reiterated at the National Council meeting held at Allahabad on November 15th & 16th, 1997.

In connection with the election of the National Executive Committee, I would like to point out that the Executive "will comprise of the President, the General Secretary, other office bearers, all former Presidents and such other members as may be decided by consensus by the National Council or nominated by the National President and the General Secretary".

The PUCLDR was established in a National seminar held on October 17, 1976 and was inaugurated by Acharya JB Kripalani. VM Tarkunde was elected as its President and Krishna Kant as its General Secretary. It might be a good idea to observe the completion of 25 years on that day or on some other convenient date this year. We can hold meetings, seminars, or other programmes to mark the day at State level and at local level. I would like to emphasise that our approach should be that of sober stocktaking and not that of back thumping.
Now I would like to inform you about the work that the National office has been doing. At the National office we have copies of all the old issues of the PUCL Bulletin from issue No. 1 up to date.

We also have developed a research and reference Library that is used by researchers from all over the country and even from abroad. We have newspaper clipping from leading newspapers published from Delhi classified into about 20 topics of human rights and civil liberties. Researchers also use these. With the opening of a website on the Internet we are receiving matter / enquires from all over the world. The expenses of the website are met by our Web Master, an old member from Mumbai, Shri Sandeep Vaidya, who is now residing abroad. The monthly reports received by us show that the number of hits on the website on various issues are increasing month after month. The PUCL Bulletin is prepared regularly and published.

All reports of the work being done by the branches are (if received) published in the PUCL Bulletin. Court cases, enquiry reports, complaints sent to the NHRC or to various SHRCs are regularly published. If required, the National office pursues a case sent by a branch.

In spite of this account of our activities, a persistent nagging feeling at the back of my mind is that the PUCL is withering. Out of 25 odd State and local branches, not more than seven or eight are doing the work that is reported in the 'Bulletin. The rest of these are slipping into inactivity. The type of live and regular contact required between the State and local branches on the one hand and the National office on the other has grown slack. We have some local branches that are as active as any other active State branch. We also have State branches that are working, but either very slowly or outside the national network of the PUCL.

I would now, very humbly, like to add a personnel note. I started looking after the National office in 1980, first as the Executive Secretary, then as one of the General Secretaries, and then as the only General Secretary. I have been requesting the National Council and the National Conventions again and again that the PUCL needs to look for a new General Secretary. I seem to have become fossilized. Any one who takes over the works of the General Secretary cannot get into stride straight away. She/he will require 7 to 8 months to understand the Constitutional provisions, the entire procedure, and the set-up. The PUCL will also need space, say, accommodation of two rooms and a computer with a printer. I also have a feeling that some State branches also need the change of faces so that vigour and vitality be restored to the PUCL.
My appeals all these years to find and identify some person(s) for the post of General Secretary have been ignored. I am, therefore; compelled to conclude that unless I stop working on my own nothing is going to happen. I earnestly urge the National Council and all the senior members of the PUCL to pay serious attention to the need for change. Thank you very much. -- Y.P. Chhibbar, General Secretary

Home | Index