The main Delhi unit of the Human Rights Law Network is situated in the city’s boisterous Bhogal area. This serves as HRLN’s headquarters and the organisation’s main interface with all levels of stakeholders. Its administrative and accounts offices coordinate with donors, supporters and all the state units.
The centre has a sizable litigation team that, apart from handling litigations at lower and higher courts, takes up cases from across the country at the Supreme Court level. In this process, social activists work closely with the lawyers. HRLN is committed to documenting case law and making it available in local languages through its publications, films and ‘know your rights’ material, and the Delhi office coordinates these activities by gathering information from across the country.
The Delhi unit started with only three people. It underwent its first expansion in 2001, swelling up to a strength of 20 while working with the UNHCR on refugee rights. The team currently has more than 70 people in its two centres: the one in Bhogal and another working exclusively on refugee rights in Vikas Puri. The Delhi office, in addition to lawyers, also seats several initiatives: accounting, administration, technical, publications, design, website and resource centre and the library teams.
- Women’s social justice: The unit works against all forms of gender-based violence, sexual harassment, women’s property and inheritance rights, witch hunting, acid attacks, and child marriage, among other things.
- Reproductive right and law: We work to combat violations of reproductive rights and provide legal services to help individuals protect their rights. The unit also does advocacy to improve policies and the implementation of programs.
- Refugee rights: We assist refugees in securing civil and political rights by helping them acquire Indian citizenship. This work also undertakes crisis-response missions, investigation, monitoring, and fact-finding visits.
- Housing rights: We work to ensure everyone’s right to adequate housing by taking up cases related to forced evictions, unfair housing situation of the urban poor, and violations of pro-poor housing provisions.
- Prison rights: We work to get safeguard rights and procure the release of prisoners, especially indigent prisoners. To this end, we file bail applications, file for surety bonds
- and provide for monetary assistance for indigent prisoners.
- Labour rights: We investigate safety and welfare measures for workers. We have filed several cases in Supreme Court and High Court representing workers on the basis of discrimination, illegal closures, illegal termination, starvation death cases, minimum wages, no-pay and others. Our team also works at the grassroots level.
- Environment justice: We work to providing legal aid and public interest litigations, workshops, campaigns and publications to vulnerable sections of society affected by environmental degradation. Among other things, our lawyers have argued cases in the Supreme Court on silicosis, banning of asbestos, pesticides in the environment and food and the protection of forest.
- Criminal justice: We work to review prison conditions and capital punishment laws, and also to represent indigent undertrials.
Slideshow - PIL's & Cases.
20/04/2013National Consultation on Prison Legal Aid
02/04/2012Forced Sterilization and Family Planning
06/04/2011Bhalaswa Lok Shakti Manch Vs GNCT Of Delhi
14/01/2011HIV +ve pregnant woman denied treatment
16/07/2010State vs. Abdul Majid
16/07/2010Mr. Anthony Omondi Osino vs. FRRO
27/01/2010Writ Petition © No. 196 of 2001
The Delhi unit works intensively on cases of reproductive rights and acid attacks, fighting to ensure compensation and employment for victims of violence as well as ensuring their mental health. In addition to these, the unit handles cases exclusive to the Supreme Court, including but not limited to those on the death penalty, criminal justice, violence against women, forest rights, right to education, right to food, housing, bail applications, media laws, disability rights, and bonded labour.
The unit’s work in the Supreme Court has introduced several landmark judgements – such as the issuance of binding guidelines after forced sterilisations of poor women across the country, the return of lands of farmers in Singur in the Tata land acquisition case, and ensuring assistance, security and compensation for victims of the 2007 racial attacks on Christians in Odisha’s Kandhamal, among many others.
The Delhi unit’s impact spreads far beyond the capital, thanks, in part to the impact of its activities and litigations which have influenced the growing canon of human rights law both in India and overseas.
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