#India – Hidden spaces- Invisible workers #Vaw #Justice


KALPANA SHARMA, The Hindu , Jan 19,2013

Invisible world. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The HinduInvisible world. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

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The issue of violence perpetrated on domestic workers, largely women, remains mostly invisible and unaddressed.

The many conversations on violence against women that began on December 16 remain incomplete. We discuss the visible. We rarely mention the invisible or less visible, the violence inside closed doors, in private spaces, away from the public sphere. By this I don’t just mean the violence by family members. That is, in any case, shrouded in several impenetrable layers of silence. Apart from this, there is another form of violence, one that is largely accepted. Often the perpetrators of the violence can be women, even those who have themselves been at the receiving end of domestic violence.

This is the insidious form of violence that millions of domestic workers suffer each day in the homes where they work. It consists not just of physical or sexual attacks but of a lack of dignity, of lack of basic rights and of the absence of recognition that they deserve a fair wage for the work they do. We need to condemn and combat this hidden violence as much as we have now begun to talk about the violence on our streets.

This column has repeatedly taken up the cause of domestic workers because it is one of those under-the-radar issues that is somehow not addressed. The majority of domestic workers worldwide are women. In India, the official data puts their numbers at just seven million when it is evident that the actual number is many times more, closer to 90 million. And this figure does not take into account the children who are illegally employed for domestic work.

Worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an estimated 53 million people are employed in people’s homes. Over 80 per cent are women. Admittedly, this too is an underestimation. A new ILO report points out that, despite international attention being paid to the issue, little is being done. In 2011, after many years of campaigning by organisations that represented domestic workers, the ILO passed the Domestic Workers Convention (No 189). Yet two years later, the Convention has still not come into force because only a handful of governments — the Philippines, Uruguay and Mauritius — have ratified it. The Philippines has gone a step further by promulgating its own law on domestic workers giving them the same rights as other workers. Not so most other countries, including India, which is among the list of countries yet to ratify this convention.

Why is such a convention or a national law specifically addressing the problems facing domestic workers needed? Precisely because of their invisibility. They work under individually negotiated contracts, have no job security and can be fired at will. There is no regulation about their working hours or minimum wage. Nor do the women get the benefits of sick leave, maternity leave or a weekly day off. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that they are not organised and, therefore, cannot resort to any kind of collective bargaining. A law would at least inform them of their rights and would make it clear to employers that, even if they continue to exploit them as they do today, they are wilfully breaking the law.

The ILO report titled “Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection” brings out several disturbing statistics. For instance, more than half the domestic workers around the world have no limitation on the normal weekly hours of work, or get a weekly off, or get paid get paid a minimum wage. An estimated 15.6 million women working as domestics do not get maternity leave or cash benefits.

The central government has drafted a policy for domestic workers, one that will ensure that they come under the ambit of existing laws that relate to the rights of workers — such as the Minimum Wages Act, the Trade Union Act, Payment of Wages Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, Maternity Benefits Act, Contract Labour Act and Equal Remuneration Act. Karnataka was the first state to fix minimum wages for domestic workers, to accept that they were entitled to a weekly off and to ban children less than 14 years of age working as domestic workers. Of course, the implementation of this policy is another story but at least a beginning has been made.

There are many layers to the issue of violence against women. But as women’s groups have been repeatedly emphasising over the past weeks, several simple interventions can be made. I would suggest that one such step could be to implement a policy for domestic workers. Even though domestic workers now come under the ambit of the law on sexual harassment at workplace, as long as they continue to work as isolated, atomised individuals without other rights granted to workers in general, they will remain vulnerable to all forms of violence and exploitation.

If we can deal with these dark spaces in our society, where there is little value for the rights of the people who do thankless work, perhaps then we will be better placed to talk about the more visible forms of abuse and assault that have dominated public discussion and debat

BMC employees without #Aadhaar denied salaries #Illegal #UID #WTFnews


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Published: Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013, 9:48 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

 

Are you a government official without a unique identity (UID) card? Get one soon or else you will receive a financial jolt. And 20,800 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staffers will tell you how true that is.

 

Due to lack of UID card, the staffers from various departments have not received their salary for the month of December 2012.

 

“The salary was stopped as per instructions from municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar. The staffers in question had not shown any interest in getting their cards despite being instructed about it time and again,” said a senior civic official.

 

In August 2011, as per the state government’s directive, BMC had issued a circular instructing its employees to register themselves for the card. Despite having allotted a year’s time to get the cards, the circular received poor response. The period to register for the Aadhaar cards was later extended by four months. Eventually, BMC stopped salaries of those employees.

 

According to another senior civic official, the employees can get their salaries by merely registering themselves for the card. “If they have registered for the cards, but have not received the same, they can still get their salaries by substantiating their registration for UID with their respective establishments,” he said. With several employees not taking the national programme of Aadhaar card seriously, the decision to stop their salaries is a good one, he added.

 

However, the circular has started a debate in civic corridors, with Municipal Mazdoor Union chief Sharad Rao terming the corporation’s decision as ‘illegal’. “They cannot stop salaries of employees like this. We are moving industrial court in this regard and will recover the salaries along with interest from the civic body,” Rao said.

 

The BMC, considered as the largest local governing agency in the country, has 1.11 lakh employees and spends an

 

Gujarat: Govt accused of manipulating youth employment data



DNA, Ahmedabad, 8 December 2012

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government’s tall claim of providing employment to 65,000 youth under ‘Swami Vivekananda Youth Employment Week’ have been contradicted by its won reply to a RTI plea filed on issue.

Jyoti Karmachari Mandal (JKM), the organisation that filed the plea seeking details of Rojgar Melas held in state, has accused the state government of manipulating figures to mislead people.

They alleged that state government’s reply showed that beneficiaries were given employment letters and not appointment letters as claimed, with no signature by the appointing industry. As per labour laws, an employee should be provided appointment letter and not employment letter.

The reply also suggested that name of many beneficiaries had been repeated not once but as much as three times. In Ahmedabad, 4,370 were recruited under ‘Rojgar Mela’ but all on apprentice, with no legal benefits to the beneficiary.

Member of Documentation and Study Centre for Action, Trupti Shah said, “A look at the list of beneficiaries from Vadodara would indicate that out of the 3,534 candidates appointed for the post of apprentice, there were not more than 2,700 actual beneficiaries, while the names of rest 752 beneficiaries (21.27%) were repeated/duplicate.”

A total of Rs 1.87 crore was spent for holding 489 such meets. It was found that quality of job of 37.07% of the beneficiaries was not actual employment as 11,172 (30.4%) are on apprentice and 2,452 (6.67%) are trainees, who do not receive salaries but stipend. Also, the stipend paid is too less than the salaries.

Some of the candidates whose name had cropped up in the list claimed that they had no idea as to how their name had appeared on the list of beneficiaries of ‘rojgar mela’.

In Anand, 2,464 candidates were provided jobs and 621 of them were given the job of school co-ordinator. Though they were promised a salary of Rs 4,500-5,000 per month, they actually received 3,100-3,500.

 

Breaking the silence around disabled sexuality #mustread


Desexualised or hypersexualised because of their impairments, women with disabilities are denied the right to see themselves and be seen as independent sexual beings. Introducing a series on disability and sexuality byRicha Kaul Padte

 disabled sexuality

“I’d rather use my legs as wings” Source: Disability Culture

‘To be human is to be sexual’ – Winder

At first glance, this series may seem superfluous. Disability and sexuality doesn’t sound nearly half as important or pressing as disability and education, disability and employment rights, disability and healthcare, or disability and practically all the access issues that people with disabilities in India face on a daily basis. Sexuality belongs, perhaps, to the realm of afterthought – an added bonus when the ‘real stuff’ is sorted out. There are others to whom the issues may seem unconnected – sex and sexuality are often seen as belonging outside the parameters of the lives of the disabled. People with disabilities have more important things to worry about. Sex is not on their minds. And definitely not on the minds of disabled women. And on the mind of theIndian disabled woman? Not a chance.

But what if sexuality was more than simply sex? What if it had to do with what you feel when you look in the mirror; who you love and why; what your sexual orientation really is (despite what you are forced to tell people); the violences you have suffered in silence? Throughout the world women’s sexuality – in its all-encompassingWHO definition as thoughts, behaviours, attitudes, preferences and relationships that are influenced by a series of economic, social, psychological and cultural factors – is a topic shrouded in silence and secrecy. In a South Asian socio-cultural context where the sexualities of women are actively contained, controlled and oppressed – or passively ignored and denied – the repercussions for all women can be and often are deeply debilitating.  Constructed through images of advertising beauty, housewives producing the best meals, and always through a heterosexual male lens, Indian women find themselves living in a world where their sexuality struggles to find expression outside these frameworks. However, a life outside this framework does not necessarily mean a life of liberation. What about some of those women who aren’t held up to beauty standards or shaadi.com’s standards or any standards at all — not because they have escaped their chains, but because their chains are even deadlier — because they aren’t even considered to be in the gamebecause they aren’t considered to bewomen. Desexualised – or in the case of the mentally disabled, hypersexualised – because of their impairments, women with disabilities are denied the right to be sexual, and to see themselves and be seen as independent sexual beings.

Between 5 and 6% of the Indian population lives with an impairment (the social model of disability rights defines an impairment as the physical or mental handicap, and disability as the structural and societal barriersthat prevent an impaired person from living a full life). So with 70 million disabled Indians and a sex ratio that suggests that just under half of these 70 million people are girls or women, why is the subject of sex and the Indian disabled woman so hard to stomach? And furthermore, what are the far-reaching consequences of this indigestion?

Consistently framed within a discourse of charity, pity, or burden, and relegated to the status of ‘things’ to be ‘managed’, women with disabilities face disproportionate levels of sexual violence and abuse, suffer from low self-esteem and body image, and are given little to no sexual education (in a country where the levels and quality of sex education are practically negligible for even the nondisabled) under the belief that they cannot and will never have sexual partners. They consequently face a range of discriminatory practices and humiliating experiences from healthcare professionals, families and organisations that stem from similar myths and misconceptions about their sexuality, or lack thereof. However, what is changing faster than policies and attitudes are the sounds of resistance breaking through the silence around disabled sexuality – ie: sexuality that has very literally been disabled by society. Women from across the subcontinent – and the world – are bringing to the fore issues surrounding their sexualities. Demanding the right to be heard, accepted and actively included within larger discussions on sexuality and sexual rights, these women are activists, lawyers, educationists, counsellors, or simply individuals who seek to rupture the systemic silence around the rights and violations of their sexual selves. They are demanding conversations about sexuality through which first and foremost, a disabled woman is not seen for her cane, her wheelchair, or her crutch, but as a woman – just like you or me.

This series aims to explore and highlight the multifaceted arena of disability and sexuality through the narratives, voices, and perspectives of women with disabilities. It tries to reframe the discourse around sex, beauty, relationships, mental health and violence, and believes that through a redefining and expanding of what these terms have come to mean, all women – irrespective of disability -­- can deeply benefit. It seeks to further the whispers and murmurings of a powerful dialogue, and encourages others to join in.

On her blog, an activist and writer who calls herself Wheelchair Dancer writes of her experiences in coming to terms with her disability. After a long struggle – both personal and political, or somewhere within the always already mixed arena of the two – she declares: “I’m here. I’m disabled. And I do it. Yes, I do. Even in this body that you cannot imagine anyone [doing it with] and loving.”  This series asks you to dance with her.

(Richa Kaul Padte is a freelance writer and feminist activist living between Bombay and Goa. She was the co-author and project coordinator of www.sexualityanddisability.org, an online initiative by Point of View and CREA)

Infochange News & Features, September 2012

 

NAC Recommends ONE HOLISTIC Disability Law & Full Legal Capacity # Goodnews


English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NAC for Tax Benefits to Employers of Disabled Persons

New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) The National Advisory Council, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, has recommended giving tax benefits to private employers of persons with disabilities, in a set of measures to enable their greater participation in the workforce.

Giving its suggestions on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPDB), the NAC has also suggested extending subsidies and financial incentives for starting small scale income generation activities by household of persons with disabilities (PWD).

“RPDB should also mandate support to families with PWDs themselves in engaging in or accessing gainful employment, including financial and tax benefits to private employers of PWDs,” the advisory panel said in a recent communication to the government.

It has pitched for stronger anti-discrimination provisions to lower barriers to their productive employment, thus enabling greater participation of PWD in the workforce.

Voicing concern over non-recognition of full legal capacity of PWDS, the NAC has recommended that the Law Ministry review all statutes in order to include an acknowledgement of full legal capacity for such persons.

Noting that there were multiple laws that provide and protect the rights of PWDs, the NAC has suggested merging them into one holistic law to avoid inconsistencies and duplication.

At present the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act; National Mental Health Act; Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act; and The Rehabilitation Council of India Act govern issues related to PWDs.

The NAC also recommended that families with disabled members should be given higher weightage during identification of poor households and surveys for BPL and food insecure households.

It also wanted the RPDB to guarantee preferential access to households with PWDs to all poverty alleviation and social security programmes, including social security allowance.

The panel also suggested setting up a single National Disablities Commission and State Disability Commission to replace diverse institutions concerned with the rights of PWDs.

“This would save costs, prevent the creation of a large bureaucracy, and above all provide a single window of contact at the central, state or district level for PWDs to access their rights and secure redressal of their grievances,” it said.

The NAC also found “grave” the provision of upto six months imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine for persons violating the rights of PWDs.

“The penalties needs to be more specific and cannot be for blanket violation of all entitlements under the bills,” the advisory panel said.

WTF : CITU’s demand government to Strengthen Cyberpolicing!


Mar 31, 2012

Published on the eve of the Seminar on IT organized at Kozhikode in connection with the 20th Party Congress of CPI(M)

Resolution on IT sector adopted in 11th National Conference of CITU held at Chandigarh

Information Technology (IT) Sector

Ensure social security and minimum wage for workers in IT sector

Institute comprehensive safeguards for women working in IT field

Strengthen Cyber-Policing against antisocial activities on the Net

Promote Free and Open Source Softwares(FOSS)

This Conference requests the Government to ensure social security in Information Technology sector by implementing various measures including minimum wage, welfare fund and social security registration. This Conference demands that the contributions made by men and women working in IT sector towards creation of a better world for humanity should get acknowledged properly and that they should get adequate compensation and a good and healthy working environment.

This Conference demands that Cyber-Policing should be strengthened and strong and effective actions should be initiated against all anti-national and anti-social forces who are bent upon exploiting bugs and loopholes in existing technology to engage in sexual blackmailing, funds pilferage, character assassination, terrorism and other anti-social and anti-national activities. This Conference also demands that institutional safeguards against gender exploitation should be implemented in all establishments in the IT sector considering the fact that IT employ a large number of women.

This Conference wholeheartedly welcomes the lofty anti-monopoly ideals put forward by free and open softwares(FOSS),alternatively called Swathantra Softwares. This Conference requests all concerned to take steps to replace all proprietary softwares with free and open source softwares. This conference invites the attention of all concerned to the possibility of hostile cyber attacks utilizing vulnerabilities present in proprietary softwares if we continue using such proprietary softwares.

This conference notes the rapid growth of employment in IT and e-Governance sectors in India including the so-called Unique ID card initiative being promoted by the Government of India; e-Governance is expected to make governance relatively more people friendly, transparent and accountable. However this conference notes with dismay that such transparency and accountability are unfortunately missing in the execution of most e-Governance projects. Outsourcing and contract labor is being widely practiced in most e-Governance schemes without much regard to the welfare of those actually working to make these projects successful. The employment conditions of those working for various e-Governance projects needs much improvement. Hence this Conference demands that the Government take all steps to mitigate the employment related problems faced by those working in various e-Governance projects and related sectors and publish the actions taken on the web.

Obama: Cover Birth Control; 8 Egyptian Women Win


The Obama administration said Jan. 20 that health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women without charge, and it rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities, reported the New York Times. But the administration said it would give some employers affiliated with churches an extra year to comply, meaning that coverage would not begin for their employees until well after the 2012 elections.

Church leaders had personally appealed to Obama to grant the exemption, and he made the final decision on the issue after hearing all points of view, administration officials said

A decade long struggle of a feminist against Sexual Harassment in Kerala


P E Usha, a non-teaching employee of Calicut University, charged Prakashan, a male colleague, with making sexually coloured remarks about her in their workplace. This happened after she was assaulted sexually on a bus by a stranger late in the evening on December 29, 1999. Prakashan is said to have propagated a distorted version of the incident, i e, that it occurred with Ushaís consent and cooperation. Usha registered complaints with the registrar of the university and the Kerala Women’s Commission (KWC) seeking action specifically under the provisions of the SC judgment. It bears mention that while Prakashan was a member of the CPI(M)-led employeesí union (EU) and Usha belonged to the much smaller Calicut University Employees Forum (CUEF), not affiliated to any one party.According to Usha this factor has informed the delayed and blatantly partisan proceedings of the university on her complaint. For their part Prakashan and EU functionaries maintain that Ushaís complaint was motivated by union rivalry.

With considerable prodding from Usha, the university announced on January 27 the formation of an anti-harassment committee, under the UGC guidelines (University of Calicut (UC) Order no GAI/GI/1881/99). The announcement referred neither to Ushaís complaint nor to the SC judgment. The committee had the head of Prakashanís department (the dean of students welfare), a male, as the convenor and six of its eight members were affiliated to the CPI(M). It met on March 7, but resolved unanimously not to proceed with the complaint as one of the employees unions had questioned its jurisdiction on a complaint filed by a non-teaching employee [Syndicate Inquiry Report (SIR) 2000].

Three months after the incident in mid- March 2000, Usha moved the high court questioning the formation of the anti-harassment committee and seeking remedy against Prakashan. The university then announced the formation of a four- member syndicate subcommittee and placed the complaint before it; on April 17, Usha gave evidence and on May 5 five witnesses were interrogated. The section officer of the department in which she worked and another co-worker testified for Usha; the other witnesses were the president and two vice-presidents of Prakashanís union. The manner in which this committee went about its task is instructive. The Syndicate Inquiry Report states that the committee resolved to allow Prakashan to engage a legal practitioner for his defence ìsince the case involved many legal questionsî, no mention here of Usha. Usha points out that she was not given a similar opportunity. The committee considered two issues, (a) whether the ìallegations made byî Usha could attract the provisions of the SC judgment; and (b) whether Prakashan had made sexually coloured remarks about Usha. On the first issue the committee found that ìthe complainant was silent about what was the sexually coloured remark made by the accusedî ñ by which they seem to suggest not that Usha failed to reveal the content of the statements but that she had failed to make apparent what was sexually coloured about the statement! The committee goes on to state that

It is also worth mentioning that at no stage the authorities considered the complaint as one which made against sexual harassment as evident from various memos and orders issued in this regard (sic). The complaint was treated as false propaganda (sic). The committee is of the opinion that since the alleged sexually coloured remark was not communicated to the complainant directly but to her colleagues it could not attract the SC judgment [SIR 2000]. As against this the committee dismissed the evidence proffered by Usha’s witnesses:

Out of the five, three witnesses [office-bearers of the EU] did not support the complainantís alleged story. First witness Zainaba [section officer of Ushaís department] admitted that Prakashan had not communicated anything directly to her. But she overheard while the accused was talking with Abdul Kareem [Ushaís second witness]. On the other hand, Abdul Kareem stated that immediately after Prakashanís remarks he asked Zainaba about it and she replied to the effect that she already has information about the incident. And also he was not sure about the statement of Zainaba that she overheard the conversation to be true (sic) [SIR 2000].
Abdul Kareem (Ushaís witness) testified that Prakashan had made sexually coloured remarks against Usha directly to him. The committee dismissed his account on the following grounds: as Abdul Kareem had admitted that he was no friend of Prakashan there was no reason for the committee to believe that the latter had made these remarks to him; Abdul Kareem was an active worker of the CUEF, of which Usha was an office bearer. Besides Usha and Kareem were its senior leaders in the eastern block, where the incident occurred. ìIn the above circumstances we feel that it is not safe to rely entirely on the evidences of Abdul Kareem in the absence of any material or oral evidences to corroborate (sic)î [SIR 2000].

Usha moved to Thiruvananthapuram in July 2000 on long leave from the university. She has pointed out that it had become impossible for her to continue on campus as she had started receiving threats of violence against herself and her 12-year-old daughter.10 It bears emphasis that by this time, she had exhausted all legal remedy at the university, had moved to the high court and the KWC and even attempted to speak to Left party functionaries.Usha then formally approached the Kerala Stree Vedi, a statewide network of women and womenís organisations, and with their support in late August, she spoke to the press ñ the story appeared first in a popular Malayalam daily. If this sparked off wide publicity and considerable public support for the issue and had an important role in bringing pressure to bear on legal and quasi legal authorities to take note of the case, it has also led to charges from the mainstream Left that the issue was entirely the production of the ëpopularí media.

The KWC turned its attention to the complaint in September 2001 (the complaint was made in early January 2001). Its inquiry requires some elaboration if at least because its verdict against Prakashan reversed the Syndicate Inquiry Committee findings. The KWC considered the evidence of seven persons, besides the complainant and the accused. Two vice presidents of the EU (Sadasivan Pillai and Velayudhan) and Abdul Kareem, who were examined also by the earlier committee, maintained their positions. Both EU office bearers maintained that they had learned of the incident from posters that were put up on campus denouncing the campaign against Usha and from news reports. The report also presents the evidence of four other non teaching employees, two members each of the EU and CUEF. A woman member of the EU maintained that she had heard Velayudhan tell Usha not to take seriously the rumours that were being spread by Prakashan for he was known to indulge in such gossip. Velayudhan admitted speaking to Usha but denied the content. The three remaining witnesses, including another EU member, pointed out that Prakashan had narrated offensively a version of the incident on the bus [KWC Report 2000].

The KWC held Prakashan guilty of indulging in unfair practices against Usha. They recommended to the government and university that Prakashan should be suspended; Usha should be offered an option of transfer. However, the decision of the KWC was not unanimous. In fact the delay in taking up the issue itself has been attributed to internal differences. Besides, one of two CPI (M) members of the commission put in a dissenting note to the final recommendations, asking instead for a fresh inquiry. CPI(M) member of the commission, T Devi, accused the chairperson, Sugatha Kumari, of taking ëspecial interestí in the case and taking ëexternalí legal advice (Deshabhimani, November 11, 2000).

The KWC report and recommendations were forwarded to the social welfare department on November 11, 2001. On January 15, 2001, the department of higher education forwarded the KWC recommendations to the university and sought information on the action taken. Meanwhile, in December, Prakashan had obtained a stay from the high court on the order to suspend him. This was vacated by a division bench of the high court on February 2 with the stipulation that Prakashan maybe given an opportunity to present his grievances before the department of higher education about the procedures adopted by the KWC. This was completed on April 25 and an order revalidating the earlier one of January 15, 2001 was forwarded to the chief ministerís office, where it languished till after the elections.

Meanwhile Usha had made public her intention of going on indefinite strike from April 18 before the university administrative office. On April 19, Prakashan went on strike along with his wife and infant son. On April 30 Usha converted her strike into an indefinite fast, was arrested on the fourth day and moved to the medical college. Human rights activists tried to intervene by holding talks with the vice chancellor, who at first agreed that he would take action if he received the report from the higher education department. They contacted the department, which required a request from the university. When asked to send the request, the vice chancellor backed out with the comment that he would consider it but took no action. (Mathrubhumi, May 7).16 Usha called off her fast on the ninth day after mediation by Justice Krishna Iyer and on the ëassuranceí that the minister of education had told the press that he had signed the government order. The university has since suspended Prakashan. In June 2001, it constituted a compalints committee in formal accordance with the SC judgment.

Listen to her, what is the status of her case and how she went on fighting for more than a decade and is still fighting.