Right from the start, Manushi has been involved in:
1) Providing legal aid and counseling to women in distress
2) Taking up the problems of vulnerable groups through Public Interest Litigation in the High Court and the Supreme Court of India. Some of the important PIL’s we have filed are as follows:
i) Challenging the denial of land rights to tribal women.
ii) Challenging discriminatory child custody laws.
iii) For the punishment of those guilty of 1984 massacre of Sikhs.
iv) Challenging the unconstitutional aspects of cycle rickshaw policy.
v) Challenging the corruption friendly policy for street vendors, including those provisions which violate the fundamental rights promised in the Constitution.
This activity has also been undertaken in an ad-hoc and need-based manner—all on the basis of unpaid, voluntary work. We have had no funds to set up a formal structure or funds for doing all this work. Therefore, we are unable to pay even a nominal fee to lawyers who take up our cases. This imposes serious limitations on the number of individual cases we can take up and the depth and quality of our research effort. For some important cases we have had to do special fund raising. Therefore, we plan to institutionalize this work by establishing a well-endowed Legal Aid Centre for the above-mentioned tasks.