"An Indian civil society organization striving for gender justice through women's empowerment and policy advocacy interventions"

Advocacy through State Legislative Council

The above work got strengthened due to advocacy at state level. SAK has been taking up above program related advocacy and other gender justice issues at state level through its Chairperson Dr. (Ms.) Neelam Gorhe who is member of State Legislative Council. The issues taken up in the last ten years are:

  • 1) Raising concern over increasing incidences of sexual attacks on laboring women in the state on the backdrop of rape incidences in informal sectors Dr. Gorhe suggested plans for providing security to women at work places and also demanded to make Supreme Court's Vishakha Guidelines compulsory at all establishments. Vishaka Judgment of SC gives guiding principles to take appropriate measures to provide safety and security to women at all government and public establishments and deal with incidences of sexual abuse of women at work place. Seeking special time in the House Dr. Gorhe explained the lethargy on the part of Government in implementing the guidliines of SC and dealing with issues of women harassment at work place. (Monsoon Session 01/08/2002)
  • 2) With a view to promote Gender Responsive Budgeting in the State Budget and special provisions for women's economic development in different ministries and concerned departments Dr. Gorhe while offering her comments on the state budget submitted a charter of demands to State Government during the budget session of March 2005 to make the state budgets gender friendly. (30.03.2005)
  • 3) Moving a Resolution on 13.03.2003 (State Budget Session) in the Upper House of State Legislative Council ,to curb the increasing incidences of female feticide in the state Dr. Gorhe dDemanded appropriate implementation of Maharashtra Regulation of of Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1988 to curb such incidences. She brought the House's attention to the decreasing sex ratio in the state which has come down to 922 as per the Census of India 2001.
  • 4)During the Winter Session of 2003 Dr. Gorhe Mooted a special Bill to Upper House titled "A Bill to Prohibit Eve Teasing And To Provide For Certain Other Matter Connected Therewith" on 12.12. 2003 for the approval of the House. The bill was introduced by her on the background of increasing incidences of attacks on girls at public places including travel, schools and colleges. She quoted number of examples of sexual attacks on women and girls and expressed need of bringing culprits to the book.
  • 5) Through a special resolution she drew the attention of state government to the fasting prostitutes in the state and suggested measures for their rehabilitation. She emphasized on adopting the Recommendations of Mr. Avade Committee which was set up for looking into rehabilitation needs of sex workers. (Budget Session -28.03.2003).
  • 6) In a special memorandum to Chairperson of Upper House Dr. Neelam Gorhe demanded closure of Cyber Café which are used for showing porn pictures. These cafes are spoiling young generation in the state. (Winter Session 13.12.2005).
  • 7) On 05.07.2006 followed up in the legislative session on government's announcement of free passes to women senior citizens reminding government to implement the same in favour of women.
  • 8) In the Winter Session of 2006 Dr. Gorhe presented Women's Rights and Child Labour Committee Report to the Upper Legislative House. The committee had studied the provisions made by Self Governing Bodies in the state to upheld the rights of women and abolishing child labour. In her presentation to the House she quoted facts and figures of poor performance of self governing bodies in making provisions for women and children and she requested Chairperson of House to direct the State to increase the provisions for women and child welfare at municipal corporations.
  • 9) Drawing attention of House to the serious issues faced by farmers in the state and increasing incidences of suicides amongst farmers from Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh Dr. Gorhe demanded immediate action to stop the same. She emphasized on rehabilitation of farming families which are in distress and which have experienced suicides. This issue was taken up during winter session of 2005 on 06.12.2005.
  • 10) Illegal / illicit country liquor dens in Bhor town in Western Maharashtra and its impact on women and their families and requested state government to inquire into the matter to take legal action against such owners involved in illegal trade. (Winter Session dated 9.12.2003)
  • 11) Illegal means adopted by trustees of a popular religious Trust in Pune district (Jejuri). She drew the attention of the house to the irregularities found by Auditors and Charity Commissioner in the affairs of this religious trust and demanded the inquiry into the transactions carried out by the trustees and appropriate action against them. (Monsoon Session dated 14.06.2004).
  • 12) Drew the attention of the Upper House to the causes of accident occurred at Mandhardevi Yatra (Pilgrimage place) in which 350 people died due to breaking out of fire which followed stampede in the fair. She demanded immediate measures at all religious fairs to avoid recurrences of such accidental incidences and long term management measures for such accidents. (Winter Session 09/12/2005)
  • 13) Dr. Gorhe Challenged the City development plan of Pune City which has drawn serous criticism from the citizens of Pune. She expressed the contents of plan as disastrous to environmente and if implemented can affect the environmental balance of the city. She demanded to make the plan pro - people so as to address the need of urban people. The issue was taken on the backdrop of discussion in public and section of media that the plans are a nexus of builders and politicians and it is for their development and not the citizens. The open spaces are being brought under construction which can create serious environmental hazards to citizens. She demanded a inquiry into the preparation of Plan from crime investigating agency and not to allow the implementation of the plan in its present form. (Budget Session: 20.03.2003)
  • 14) Demanded the setting up of Family Courts in the state at all those cities with one million plus population in response to the need of appropriate implementation of Domestic Violence Act as Family Courts are important institutional mechanisms in the implementation of this progress law. (Budget Session: 19.04.2006). She drew attention of the House to the fact that although the Family Act was passed in September 1966 and was made applicable from 1984 State has set up only 4 courts in the state. All district headquarters and towns with 10 lakh plus population need Family Courts for the early disposable of cases of violence against women.

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