The HRLN West Bengal Unit was established in 2000, primarily to provide pro bono legal aid to prisoners detained in various correctional homes across the state. Over the years, the unit has expanded its work, and now engages in providing pro bono legal aid and advice to the poor and marginalized, persons with disabilities, refugees and socially discriminated sections. A core component of our programmes is engaging with people and working in collaboration with different stakeholders, including grassroots organizations, academics, policy-makers, the judiciary, students and activists. At present, our activities span across 18 districts of West Bengal.
We provide legal training on a wide range of rights-based issues to activists, district lawyers and other key stakeholders at the grassroots level. We have also appeared in various public interest proceedings and correctional home-related cases, and have obtained landmark orders from the High Court at Calcutta. The unit holds the distinctions for filing the first domestic violence case in West Bengal, followed by many landmark judgments on domestic violence.
- Women’s Justice: Focus areas include matters pertaining to sexual harassment of women at the workplace, particularly in educational institutions, domestic violence and obtaining adequate care and compensation for acid attack survivors.
- Criminal Justice: Providing legal aid to prisoners, particularly female prisoners, and juveniles. We also take up issues pertaining to detention of refugees.
- Disability Rights: We provide legal aid to disabled persons, and families of persons with disabilities and advise on matters relating to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, and the draft West Bengal State Rules under the said Act.
- Environmental Justice: Focus areas include matters pertaining to displacement of communities, destruction of forest areas and loss of livelihood due to environmental violations.
- Refugee Rights: In collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, we work for the rights and protection of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
- Transgender Rights: Providing legal aid to those transgendered persons facing discriminatory treatment from State authorities.
PIL's & Cases
Slideshow - PIL's & Cases.
The unit has represented several acid attack survivors, and has obtained orders from the High Court at Calcutta, which have successfully enhanced the compensation packages received by the survivors from the State Government. The unit also provides legal aid to student survivors of sexual harassment studying at various educational institutions in Kolkata, before the Internal Complaints Committees and disciplinary authorities of their institutions. The unit is active in fighting for women who are facing domestic violence, and represents their interests in many trial courts. The unit has historically fought for the rights of women prisoners housed at various correctional homes in West Bengal, and continues to provide legal aid to female convicts in these correctional homes, and represent them before the High Court at Calcutta.
The unit, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, has organised a monthly legal aid clinic for persons with disabilities, and families of persons with disabilities, to advise them on various legal issues and obstacles that may arise in their lives. The unit has also provided legal opinions on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016 and the draft West Bengal rules pertaining to the same, at the request of the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy.
The unit is also working with certain public-spirited individuals and people’s groups from areas in North-East India, to bring their environmental concerns before the Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal, pertaining to reserve forest destruction due to ecotourism activities as well as pollution of a major river by industries, and we are providing aid and advice to marginalised communities affected by mining and quarrying activities in various parts of West Bengal.
HRLN is proud to be the implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) India, providing legal aid to Rohingya refugees fleeing the ethnic cleansing catastrophe in Myanmar. We facilitate the refugee application process for Rohingya detainees in various correctional homes across West Bengal with the UNHCR, and we represent them in legal proceedings all over West Bengal. The unit also provides legal aid to Rohingya children who are being housed at juvenile homes across West Bengal before Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees, and makes efforts to reunite them with guardians and relatives who are living as refugees in different parts of India.
The unit has also effectively represented, and continues to represent transgendered persons in various legal fora, who have been discriminated against and denied opportunities by state and central authorities, in various fields. Several orders have been obtained, which provide for equal opportunities for transgendered persons, as envisioned in the NALSA judgment of the Supreme Court.
Support the West Bengal unit.
Visit the HRLN office for legal support or to know more about our work:
Human Rights Law Network
43/2B, Suhasini Ganguly Sarani
Kolkata - 700025
Phone : +91 9836977466.