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Aadhar To Babri Masjid Ruling: Does SC Have A History Of Employing Delaying Tactics?

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The Aadhar Act And Citizens Privacy

The Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services Act, popularly known as Aadhaar Act was introduced and passed as a money bill, in 2016, to give it legislative backing. However, the enlisting of people by the UIDAI, the nodal agency for Aadhaar, had started way back in 2009, by executive order. The government conceptualised the biometric identification proof, and gradually, made it compulsory. It was claimed that this was done in order to infringe upon the privacy of citizens and convert the country into a surveillance state.

This resulted in at least 30 challenges to the law in the apex court. The court gave the interim judgment, prohibiting the government from making it compulsory. The government didn’t listen, and by the time the final judgement came, it had implemented more than 2o centrally sponsored schemes, besides dozens of state schemes, using Aadhaar; enrolling in its database a hundred crore people.

Abrogation Of Article 370 & 35-A

To abrogate Article 35-A and Article 370, the GOI passed the J&K reorganisation Act. At present, 18 petitions are pending before the Supreme court, challenging the government’s move. The court has not given any interim respite and hence the law is very much in place, furthering the government’s agenda. Meanwhile, degradation of the constitutional position of the state was completed, and the state was reconstituted as Union Territory of J&K and the Union territory of Ladakh, after the deadline of 30th October. 

Triple Talaq Bill

To criminalise Triple Talaq, the government passed the Muslim Women’s Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill. At present, 4 petitions are pending before the Supreme Court, challenging the government’s move. The court has not given any interim respite and hence the law is very much in place, furthering another government agenda.

Citizenship Amendment Bill

The government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Bill in its previous term, which lapsed after it failed to pass in the Upper House. They are planning to reintroduce the bill in the winter session. Given the majority the government has been able to achieve since, the bill is expected to pass, and surely, like other similar discriminatory laws, it will land in court.

It is most likely that the court will not give any interim respite, and hence, the law will remain very much in place; and by the time the judgement comes, a lot of damage would have been done.

Babri Masjid Ruling

In the case of Babri Masjid, things may turn out the same. A judgement in favour of Muslims would compel the government to overturn it through a legislative enactment, which would land the matter once again in court. Now, given the sensitivity of the matter, whether the court would put an immediate stay on any construction activity remains to be seen. For once the law is enacted, no time would be lost before construction would start. Any delay and the construction of the temple would achieve irreversible milestones and create further legal hassles. In the event of the other possibility i.e. the verdict being in favour of the Hindus, there is nothing stopping the temple from coming up at the disputed site. In both cases, it will be a record low for the Indian judiciary. Not for the government. Not for the people. But for the judiciary. And not for the first time indeed. That we never took notice of the falling credibility of the Supreme court, is our own sin.

Recently, The Supreme court of India came under some strict scrutiny when the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement criticising the delay in adjudication of petitions raising fundamental rights violation in Kashmir.

The UN watchdog, in a scathing remark, raised some serious issues of law that need to be answered by the Supreme Court of India. It questioned why the lockdown in Kashmir was not tested on grounds of reasonable restrictions, even when it had been over 80 days since it came into effect.

It states that the curtailment of fundamental rights of an entire people was not a necessary, and proportionate response, and questions the preventive detention of the entire Kashmiri leadership without proper justification. The statement is also critical of the manner in which the law was passed, without any consultation with the people of the state, and on the basis of which the state has been reorganised. Not least for the supreme court, it points out the violence committed by the security forces and highlights the adverse use of pellet guns. 

If only the court was listening.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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