Case History

kanchandevi

Kanchan Devi is a permanent resident in Muhalkhad Charhi Tehsil and District Kangra. Kanchan’s mother and father weave baskets, mats and other products from bamboo for their livelihood. During her childhood she suffered from heart ailment because of which she was not able to complete her studies. She spent her entire childhood in pain and suffering. Her family continued her medical treatment and they were also monetarily backed by their community people. However, due to her health issues she could study only till sixth standard.

On August 7, 2008 Kanchan Devi married Rakesh Kumar in a Hindu ceremony. Rakesh Kumar was the son of Jashi Ram; the family being from Panchayat Tikari in district Chamba. Since the reference of Rakesh Kumar was provided to Kanchan Devi’s family by their own relatives, the family of Kanchan Devi did not enquire much about the background of Rakesh Kumar. There was a period of 7-8 months between the referral and the marriage and during this period Rakesh Kumar used to visit Kanchan’s residence and grew fond of each other in the ensuing period.

Things were fine till the second day of marriage. On the third day, Rakesh Kumar returned home inebriated and abused Kanchan physically which became a habit in due course of time. He also alleged that Kanchan had illicit relations with other men. Further, Rakesh removed the name of Kanchan from her parental Panchayat register and did not register her name in the register of his own Tikari Panchayat (In-laws Panchyat). Frustrated with her condition, Kanchan returned to her parent’s place and stayed with them for some time after which Rakesh came to their home, apologized for his mistake and took her back. This time they moved to the city of Ludhiana where Rakesh was working and stayed there from September 16, 2008 onwards. But he returned to his old ways and kept abusing Kanchan even when she was pregnant.
He imposed lots of restrictions on her such as he did not allow her to talk to her parents, relative, friends. He also made demands of dowry, including a motorbike, T.V, refrigerator and he also took away Rs. 11,000 from her fixed deposit. The situation went out of control one day when one day Rakesh tried to burn her alive by removing the pipe connection from the gas cylinder, but she was lucky to escape the same. She ran from her home and called her parents from a telephone booth close to her home in the absence of her husband. After this, Kanchan’s parents came to take her and took her back permanently.

Role of CORD

kanchan

On February 15, 2009, Kanchan Devi came to CORD and filed a complaint of domestic violence. After this, CORD Legal Cell team members provided her information about domestic violence related Acts. With the help of CORD Legal Cell, Kangra, she filed the case and it was registered in police station. On March 4, 2009, under the guidance of CORD, Kanchan Devi submitted a domestic incident report in the Kangra Judicial Magistrate Court and later the court gave the decision in the favor of the Kanchan on April 18, 2011. The Hon’ble court entitled the following relief:

  • Protection order: That the respondent (Rakesh Kumar) shall not use force or violence against the petitioner and he is restrained from doing so by this order of the court.
  • Maintenance order: The petitioner (Kanchan Devi) entitled to Rs. 1200/- month on account of maintenance to maintenance and minor son from the respondent (Rakesh Kumar).
  • Compensation order: The petitioner (Kanchan Devi) was also entitled to receive Rs. 10,000/- as compensation for the loss of earning as well as travelling expenses incurred by her in prosecuting the petition.

But the respondent didn’t follow this order and she had to file a petition for the execution of this order. She faced challenges like:

  • She did not receive the benefits of any government programs because her name was not entered in the Panchyat register
  • Her husband did not provide any maintenance for her and her children

Issue related to Non-Enrollment in Panchayat Register

In case, names are not present in the Panchayat Register, the following consequences may be there:

  • A person is not liable to get any benefits provided by the Govt. in terms of Cost subsidies, etc.
  • A person cannot participate in Gram Sabha meetings as a member.
  • A person is not entitled to get a Job Card (100 days employment guarantee under MNREGA scheme).
  • A person faces identity crisis in the village.
  • A person is not entitled to get any Social Security extended by the Govt.

Kanchan Devi belongs to a very poor family. Thus, she approached her Gram Panchayat to enter her name in the Panchayat register. The concerned secretary advised her to give them a NOC from her in law’s Panchayat (Tikari). But concerned secretary refused to enter the name of the applicant and her son in the panchayat register.

The concerned secretary of the applicant’s Gram Panchayat (Muhalkar chahri) harassed the applicant many times and the he also took the applicant to the Block office twice to talk to some person and misguided the applicant over and over again. The applicant in this situation, was helpless to receive any types of benefits of government schemes and her ration card was also not been made. The concerned secretary also mentioned the wrong address on the birth certificate of the applicant’s child.

When applicant filed an application to Samadhan (State Government ‘s grievance redressal website), they misguided and replied totally wrongly that Kanchan had filed her case for Divorce in the court.

Subsequently, a letter was written to the Block Development Officer (BDO). The B.D.O called Kanchan to present to the Nagrota Bagwan B.D.O office. Sunil Mishra who came with Kanchan spoke with B.D.O, and the office sent a letter related to this matter to Sub-Divisional Magistrate. However, no action was taken. Nearly eight months later, CORD team member Smt. Premo Devi accompanied Kanchan to the office of the Deputy Commissioner Kangra at Dharamshala, to talk with District Commissioner regarding her ration card. District commissioner marked the letter and sent it to SDM Kangra. SDM Kangra took immediate action and sent the letter to BDO Nagrota, where the Secretary entered the name of Kanchan Devi and her son into the family register of Mohalkhad Charhi.

Integrated support at a Glimpse

  • Health – CORD provided necessary help and guidance for her heart surgery in Shimla.
  • Community Inclusion – CORD linked Kanchan Devi to Community Based Organization i.e., Mahila Mandal (Shiv Shankar Mahila Mandal) and Self Help Group (small amount of money is collected by all the members of the self-help group. Inter-loaning is done between the members) for her socio-economic upliftment and social inclusion to empower her against social paradoxes/challenges from the society, she being a single women. As she in her tender age suffered a lot so she became the member of yuvati sumuh in order to make the girls aware of their basic rights. Inspired by CORD, she willingly provided voluntary services for adolescent girls of her village as identifying herself as a Village Volunteer Resource Person (VVRP) by CORD. As a VVRP, she organizes and participates in AGG meeting and provides learning of life for betterment of others futures.
  • Livelihood – She is working as a peon in a private school where she earns Rs. 1500 per month which is her source of income. She is also involved in the work of making socks (Rs. 20 per pair of socks). She is also working at a Shop.
  • Social Security – Through CORD’s facilitation she has applied for Pension scheme as a Single Women and Mother Teresa Scheme for education of her child.
  • Child Education – Her four year’s son Rahul Kumar is also studying in a private school where she herself is a peon.

Future Aspirations

Kanchan Devi wants to give best possible education to her son. She is a single parent and doing her duty with every possible means. And she wants to own a home where she and her son live a happy life as she somewhere in her mind thinks for how much time she will be a burden on her parents and brother.

At present she is happy with the type of life she is living and now she is an independent woman in every aspect.