Action


Understanding that multi-dimensional challenges require multi-dimensional solutions, we work closely with communities to identify available and effective grievance mechanisms to expand their access to economic and social rights. Using administrative remedies, strategic legal cases and transnational complains, we work with our partners at every stage of the redressal process, from identifying and documenting human rights violations, to researching, drafting and filing of cases.

Strategic Litigation


The Indian legal system offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that the fundamental rights of the poor and marginalized are protected. Created in the 1970s as a judicial response to the government disregard for human rights, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) empowers any member of the public - including individuals, community organizations and NGOs - to file legal petitions when the fundamental rights of an individual or group have been violated. At Nazdeek, we believe it's our responsibility to capitalize on this remarkable opportunity to effectively promote access to justice. As such, we develop strategic legal cases from the ground up, working with our community paralegals to document human rights violations and use the judicial system to demand structural change.

Case Spotlight


In Pooja & Ors. v. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board & Ors, we have demanded access to adequate sanitation and hygienic living conditions in Bhim Nagar, Nagloi, a slum in West Delhi. Specifically, the petition seeks 24-hour access to community toilet complex to address the high risk of gender-based violence for young girls and women, increases in the number of toilets and bathing facilities and community ownership over the delivery of sanitation and hygiene benefits. Despite Supreme Court decisions, international human rights law and numerous policies mandating access to proper sanitation and hygiene, rights to life, health and equality have been violated. While the case is still pending, it has resulted in significant impacts for the 5000 community members such as 24-hour access to public toilets, complete renovation of the toilet with new latrines, bathing facilities and water connections and upgradation of sewer lines.

Pooja v. Ministry of WCD involved 5 poor pregnant and lactating women who were denied essential maternal health and nutrition benefits provided under nationwide safe motherhood interventions such as the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in violation of their constitutional and international human rights to health and equality. Based on extensive field investigations, we identified serious gaps in implementation with some women denied benefits under IGMSY for more than one year and the government stating that they didn't have the funds to pay. This contravened publicly available budgetary information showing that funds had been sanctioned to the State government. On December 2, the Delhi High Court agreed with our claims and ordered a range of reliefs, including immediate disbursement of maternity benefits to our eligible Petitioners. The strategic impact of the case is that it empowers other similarly situated women to demand their payments and entitlements and has resulted in better accountability from the government. The court order is attached Pooja_IGMSY_order.

Administrative Complaints


We believe communities should use all available remedies to fight against injustice. We work with paralegals to file administrative complaints with relevant government agencies to obtain rights and entitlements under government schemes and laws. Our complaints are drafted like legal petitions, with strong facts, laws and reliefs included in every demand for local justice. Our complaints have led to real change at the grassroots level to learn more check out our Impacts.

Complaint Spotlight


Anganwadi Centres (government funded nutrition centres) in Balipara Block, Assam had stopped providing meals for nearly six months to pregnant/lactating women and children. After the filing of four complaints against some of the Centres, on 9th April 2015, 527 Centres in the Block, serving 27,400 beneficiaries began distributing their food distributions.

Additionally, a complaint was submitted to the Provident Fund Commissioner in Golaghat, Assam seeking past due retirement payments for workers at Rangajen Tea Estate. The Provident Commissioner sanctioned 3 crores rupees ($642,000) of retirement benefits for eligible workers and ordered that bank accounts be opened to ensure receipt of the funds.

 

Transnational Grievance Mechanisms


Nazdeek is supporting three local NGOs in Assam, India, in their efforts to end human rights abuses of tea plantation workers resulting from a project financed by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC). IFC invested $7.8 million dollars to adopt a "worker-shareholder" model in 24 Tata-owned tea plantations in northeast India. Marketing itself as socially responsible company, Tata Beverages is the world's second largest distributor of tea, which is sold under multiple brands around the world, including Tetley.

The complaint, filed in February 2013 with the World Bank's Compliance Advisor Ombudsmen (CAO) office has exposed serious and systematic violations of human rights and labour rights in violation of Indian labour laws and the World Bank's own Performance Standards. It has led to extensive international and domestic media coverage on the inhumane conditions of tea garden workers in Assam such as the recent BBC story, "The bitter story behind the UK's national drink"

The CAO released an investigative report in response to the complaint in November 2016. Additional resources and information on the report and initial complaint can be found at accountabilitea.org.