Supreme Court

In August 2011, Prerana was invited to be a member on the Supreme Court panel appointed in Criminal Appeal # 135/2010 currently on in the Supreme Court where the emphasis is on discussing the problems faced by women in prostitution and the possibility of offering them rehabilitation. Ms. Priti Patkar had been actively taking part in the meetings of this panel through the remaining half of 2011 and Prerana made various submissions to Mr. Pradip Ghosh, the Chairman of this panel. This was an important development for Prerana as we got the opportunity to take our 25 year long experience of working on rehabilitation programs to a macro level influencing policies.

On July 19, 2011; the Supreme Court in the above matter made the following observation:

We may reiterate that this exercise has been done by us because the word "life" in Article 21 of the Constitution of India has been interpreted in several decisions of this Court to mean a right to "life with dignity". It is only if a sex worker is able to earn a livelihood through technical skills rather than by selling her body that she can live with dignity, and that is why we have requested all the States and the Union of India to submit schemes for giving technical training to these sex workers.

As part of the efforts to implement the Supreme Court order, and to take steps to enable sex workers to live with dignity, a workshop was conducted by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women in collaboration with Prerana to clarify the concept of rehabilitation. This workshop was conducted on December 28, 2011, at the office of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) and the participants included representatives from Civil Society Organizations (Save The Children India – Mumbai, Chaitanya Mahila Mandal – Pune, Snehalaya – Ahmednagar, and Prerana – Mumbai) who are working with women victims as well as 48 women victims comprising of those who have already been rehabilitated and those who are interested in being rehabilitated. The workshop was inaugurated by Ms. Shomita Biswas, Member Secretary – MSCW and coordinated by Mr. AK Dangat, Senior Counsellor – MSCW. The facilitator for the workshop was Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Associate Professor, Centre for Criminology and Justice, Tata institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Project Director, Prayas. The workshop aimed at arriving at a proper understanding of the concept of ‘rehabilitation’ and seek suggestions from these women on what the approach to rehabilitation should be.

Currently we are involved in taking this action forward and providing our inputs as panel members appointed by the Supreme Court.