“Study to review the Subject laws which infringe upon the domain of the Panchayat Raj Institutions” supported by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India: It has been observed that the laws dealing with the functions earmarked for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) by virtue of Article 243G, Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution and PESA are governed by some Central Act or State Act, which do not confer authority and responsibility on the Panchayats and have created parallel structures. Therefore, RLEK undertook the task to review the laws which infringe upon the functional domain of the Panchayats in order to strength these bodies of local-self governance. This study identified, reviewed and provided remedial action in regard to the Acts which infringe upon the domain of the Panchayats.
“Study to Review the Efficacy, Status & Implications of the Nyaya Panchayats” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The objective of the research was to delve into the mechanism of justice delivery by Nyaya Panchayats at the grass-root level. The research assessed the present status of Nyaya Panchayats in the states that they exist, made a desk assessment of the provisions of the Nyaya Panchayat related state laws to highlight provisions relevant for the drafting of a new bill while identifying commendable provisions as well as shortcomings in these statutes.
“Local Democracy in Asia: Representation in Decentralized Governance” supported by the UNDP Bangkok Regional Office. The broad aim of the research was to explore the different types of mechanisms that can affect the degree of accountability present in local governance. The major thrust areas of the research were accountability, responsiveness and participation. The research was carried out in the states of Haryana and Chhattisgarh bearing in mind the variations in their demographic make-up and Human Index Indictors.
UNESCO Small Grants Programme on Poverty Eradication “Analysis of the existing laws and policies at the National level in addressing poverty eradication within the human rights framework”. The research aimed at analysis focusing on the relationship between poverty and human rights. It dealt with the issue of effectiveness of the existing legal and policy frameworks in ensuring and promoting pro-poor policies and eradication of poverty within a human rights framework.
Evolving Jurisprudence for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) financed by the UNDP and supported by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India. The orientation of the study was to evolve and enrich the jurisprudence of PRIs. The research constituted a study of judgements, State Laws (State Panchayati Raj Acts and subject laws) and regulations of the 14 northern Indian States.
Compilation, categorization and analysis of judgments on Panchayati Raj. The legal team was engaged in the compilation, categorization and analysis of the cases on Panchayats of Supreme Court and all High Courts delivered from 1993–2004.
The study “Traditional Wisdom in Natural Resource Management’ the Only Way to Conserve” was conducted by the Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra with the support of National Law School, Bangalore. The aim of the study was to observe various hill communities of Uttarakhand like jaunsaries, Van Rajis, Boksas, Van Gujjars, Bhotias and Tharus to ascertain the effectiveness of the local people at local level practices in protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. Further, it endeavors to document the traditional practices and self imposed rules of these communities. It is also explores the community evolved traditional natural resource management systems in addressing issues of equality, sustainability and minimization of conflicts.
Independent Observers’ Report on Jammu and Kashmir Elections 2002: Inspite of the ‘security’ issues which made official election observers, polling officers and presiding officers reluctant to go, a twenty-five member team (including students and researchers from Sri Lanka, Nepal and U.K.) from RLEK volunteered to go to Jammu and Kashmir (including the region of Ladakh) as Independent Observers for the 2002 Assembly Elections. They spent over a month in the State assessing the pre-election conditions as well as the conduct of polling on election days. From the team’s observations, a report has been compiled which gives an impartial and objective account of the elections and assesses the extent to which they were genuine, free and fair. This was published and distributed widely through a press conference a day before election results were to be declared.
Citizens Rating: A first of its kind initiative of the State, to rate the performance of various government departments, apart from rating the most corrupt bureaucrats and ministers in the state was conducted by RLEK. The citizens rating empowered the common man and giving voice to his opinion and helping him to act as a watchdog. Spread over months of research based on public opinion of the bureaucrats and ministers, the report was an outcome of a survey covered the efficacy and efficiency in functioning of the government departments. It was an effort to highlight the existing corruption existing in the State and lend a voice to peoples voices. The Citizens Ratings was an outcome of a sample survey of 10,015 respondents from across the 13 districts of the state and revealed peoples hopes and aspirations towards a more accountable, transparent and responsible governance.