PUCL Bulletin, October 2001

General Secretary's report to the National Council meeting in Allahabad on August 18 & 19, 2001 at GB Pant Social Sciences Institute

Colleagues, I welcome you all to this meeting. I am sure you are comfortably lodged.

The Agenda of the meeting, as circulated, includes: General Secretary's Report - discussion on it; election of the National Executive Committee; chalking out a programme to mark the 25th year of the founding of the PUCL; financial status of the PUCL; and any other item with the permission of the chair.

I had requested all the members in my letter of July 30th, 2001 to let me know if they would like the National Council to discuss any item. Fr. T. K. John, Delhi suggested that the National Council should discuss how to keep alive the issue of Governments notification on obtaining prior permission from the government for the participation of foreign invitees to seminars, etc., held in India (after the rejection of the PUCL writ by the Supreme Court); to take up the matter of the steady erosion of the pluralistic structure and culture of the country; and the problems of the peoples of Kashmir and North-East. Shri D. N. Pathak, Gujarat has sent a note on the State of Human Rights in Gujarat. This is being published in the September issue of the PUCL Bulletin.
We are meeting for the first time after the National Convention held at Jaipur on April 24th & 25th 1999. This also happens to be the first meeting of the National Council formed according to the amended Constitution, which came into force after the Jaipur Convention. The process of inviting the names of the State representatives started on July 5, 1999. Seats on the National Council were allotted on the basis of one seat for every 50 members. Names were received by the stipulated date from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. For the rest of the States, the President and the General Secretary nominated members. Names were received by the stipulated date only from Bihar, Gujarat, and TN & Pondy only. The error was discovered on 24.8.2001 after the National Council Meeting. I am deeply sorry. I could send the complete list of 89 members to all the members only on June 6, 2001.

During the intervening period three new States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal have been created. The process of establishing branches for these new States was started immediately after their creation. The branch for Chhattisgarh has come into existence. Its Convenor, Dr. Binayak Sen, is the 90th member of the National Council.

Members representing Bihar already include members for the areas now ceded to Jharkhand. Two representatives from Uttaranchal were invited. The process establishing the Uttaranchal branch and the Jharkhand branch is proceeding under the guidance of Shri Prabhakar Sinha and Shri Ravi Kiran Jain. It may be mentioned here that Shri Ravi Kiran Jain organised extensive tours of the two main regions of Uttaranchal, Kumayun and Garhwal, by teams of U.P. PUCL. These tours were a spadework for enthusing the people towards democratic institutions from the grassroot level in which Civil Liberties and Human Rights of the common people will figure prominently. Similarly, Shri Prabhakar Sinha and Shri S. Bhattacharjee from Bihar PUCL have been taking initiative in the Jharkhand area. I am confident that very soon these two new branches will also come into existence as vibrant additions to the PUCL family.) Our efforts to activate Assam, J & K, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Orissa, and West Bengal branches are continuing. Lately some concrete developments have taken place in Orissa with the help of Shri Prabhakar Sinha, Shri S.K. De, and Shri Nishant Akhilesh.

During this period we lost some of our members. I received information about the death of following members, though in some cases the information was received very late. I would request the members to stand in silence for one minute after I complete reading this report. H. Chalkhum, Manipur, (Died on June 24, 1998); Dhirendra Kumar Dheer, Uttar Pradesh (November 30, 1998); Shri S. Sahay, Delhi (December 12, 1999); P. K. Bal, Orissa (December 21, 1999); R. S. Yadav, UP (February 10. 2000); Ajit Kumar Sharma, Assam (June 12, 2000); Dr. Usha Mehta, Mumbai (August 11, 2000); Prof. G. Kumar Pillai, Kerala (September 16, 2000); Dr. Ved Kumari, Rajasthan (February 6, 2001); Justice T. Chandrasekhara Menon, Kerala (March 11, 2001); Paresh Banerjee, Jamshedpur (April 8. 2001) and K.V. Sharma, Orissa.

I am happy to place on record relevant parts of the Audit report of the accounts of the National office for the year 2000-01 ended 31. 3. 2001

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