The Bihar unit started operations in 2005. Predominantly, the unit has been involved in the cases and fact-findings pertaining to health rights including sexual and reproductive health rights; HIV+ / AIDS, right to education, dalit rights, prisoners rights, acid attacks, livelihood, rights of persons with disabilities, housing, land rights, women justice and the rights of religious/sexual minorities. Apart from the above, the unit is continuously making efforts through workshops & consultations to expand the scope of its work and work on other facets of human rights and social justice with limited resources.
HRLN lawyers also pursue cases on behalf of the Bihar Bhoodan Yagan Committee in order to defend and protect the rights of the poor landless peasants who have been allotted land by the Committee in the purview of the State government. In 2015, the Bihar Legal Service Authority (BLSA) acknowledged the contribution of HRLN in preparing the “PRISONS OF BIHAR STATUS REPORT-2015” issued by BLSA.
1. 36 of the 38 districts in Bihar are among the 145 high risk districts in the country with 30% maternal deaths and almost 50% of the infant deaths in the country.
2. In the last 11 years, HIV + / AIDS infection rate has tripled in Bihar to cross the national average and consequently, Bihar has the highest prevalence in the country.
3. Despite the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s NALSA Judgment, passed in 2014 regarding protection of the rights of the third gender community, no step had been taken by the Authorities to implement and comply the directions passed in the said NALSA judgment. The third gender welfare board has not been established in the State.
4. Out of pocket expenses for treatment is one of the highest in the country due to poor health infrastructure.
5. Poor prison infrastructure.
6. Atrocities against the dalit community have increased manifold and the victims are facing difficulties in lodging the FIR.
7. Mega Rail Projects and closing of sugar industries have given rise to displacement, migration and the State’s record of rehabilitation is too poor.
8. Being a state which shares an international border, the cases of trafficking of both child and women are growing exponentially.
9. Poor implementation of the laws related to the land rights and non-distribution of lands among landless people.
10. High maternal mortality rates, infant mortality rates and occurrences of child marriages
The Bihar Unit through different Court’s orders has been instrumental in making the ART centers at Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Chapra fully functional and have reduced the discrimination by the government hospitals in the treatment of PLHIV+ to minimal due to the directions issued by the High Court to the extent that – a doctor is bound by his hippocratic oath and his license is liable to be canceled if he denies to treat a PLHIV+ . Further, the unit has been successful in helping several Victims and their families in getting the benefits of the family indemnity scheme in the cases of sterilization death and sterilization failure. Through one of the PIL’s supported by the Unit, the AIIMS Patna has assured to make available a fully functional 24×7 trauma/emergency ward with blood bank facility in the hospital by August, 2017.
The Patna High Court in another PIL has directed the State Government to comply with the Supreme Court Guidelines to stop Child Marriages in the State.
Due to the continuous persuasion on behalf of the Unit with Bihar Primary Teachers Association, the State government has been made accountable for the poor implementation of the Right to Education Act and the Rules formed thereof. Apart from standing with the Acid Attack Victims in their quest of justice, the Unit through court cases has made the grant of adequate compensation to such victims possible. The Unit with its limited resources is continuously providing legal aid and pursuing the rights of the marginalized and downtrodden sections of the society such as Dalits, women, prisoners, differently-abled and sexual minorities. Implementation of the NALSA Judgment passed by the Apex Court with respect to the rights of the Third Gender community in the State by way of the directions issued by the High Court to the State Government and BLSA in one of the PIL is another highlight.