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Round Table Conferences
Public Hearings

Public Hearings and Round Table Conferences are conducted almost every year to focus the plight of the victims in accessing justice and the apathy of the justice administration system.

The Objectives of Public Hearings and Round Table Conferences are :

  • Sharing and understanding of the agony of the victims in accessing justice and the psychological trauma they are undergoing after the violence.

  • To sensitize the various personnel involved in the administration of justice.

  • To sensitize the public at large about the way justice system operates in case of   dalit women.

  • To share the experiences of DSS team.

  • To share the ground realities pertaining to impunity.

  • To share the ground realities of Anganwadi Centres, Schools and Social Welfare Hostels.

  • To  share  the  situation  of  elected  dalit women representatives of Panchayat Raj.

Public Hearings and Round Table Conferences are organized at district and state level involving victims & witnesses, higher officials of all concerned departments of the government, Commissions, advocates, social activists, reputed intellectuals of state and national eminence and media. All these years, Public Hearings served the purpose of accessing justice to the victims, sensitizing the officials and public at large through media. Each time, a few instances of about 20 to 30 atrocities involving gross injustice are taken up with documentation of all meticulous details and presented before the selected Jury. The victims/witnesses themselves explain the atrocity and their plight in accessing justice, the hurdles they faced in the process. The concerned officials present make a note of the lapses and give public assurances for resolving the lapses. DSS further pursues the issues with the officials to see that the promises made by them are implemented and in most cases, DSS is able to resolve even the complicated problems like inclusion of relevant sections, production of certificates, payment of compensations, change of public prosecutors etc. During the past 15 years DSS organized public hearings and round table conferences. The juries were each time constituted with persons of credibility, integrity and intellectual eminence.

Methodology and Broad Structure of Public Hearings

Each State level public hearing would be either a one day or two-day event and would consist of breakup of sessions, as per the number of cases selected for presentation. The modalities used are:

  • Testimonies by victims, their parents wherever relevant and the hurdles they are facing in getting justice.

  • Witnesses to corroborate the version of the victims.

  • Case studies of each atrocity or other form of violation of the rights of dalit women or girl child.

  • Fact Finding Reports or other relevant data concerning the incidents, the village and progress of the case, detailing shortfall in the implementation of law and procedures.

  • Preparation and submission of jury kit to the jury members and media containing all details of each incident and the names and details of the victims/witnesses that are going to present their testimonies.

Public hearings/RTCs provide an opportunity for a general sensitization of the society at large through media and every public hearing and round table conference served this purpose.  All these events were covered in leading TV channels and press, including national English daily like the Hindu, thereby giving voice to the issue of injustice to dalit women and girl child. DSS always involved other dalit organisations, rights  organizations, political parties in the public hearings, thereby providing them an opportunity to directly see and listen to the plight of dalit women.

DSS was able to facilitate the victims to gain confidence through these public hearings and assist them in getting the hurdles resolved, get compensation etc.

Having conducted state level public hearings to focus the plight of victims and to render justice, DSS trained the women collectives of districts to gather data, document the injustices in the process of implementation and conduct district level public hearings and round table conferences, to solve serious cases of the district.

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