Charter of PCSDS

“Adopted in the First National Convention of People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space held in New Delhi on May 21-22, 2016”

1. Membership

1.1 HRDs being either organisations/individuals can become member of PCSDS if such organisations/individuals are committed to the objectives of PCSDS. Such organisations/individuals should also agree to abide by the rules and regulations of PCSDS.
1.2 All members (organisations/individuals) of PCSDS from a particular state would constitute the State General Body.
1.3 An individual can represent both an organisation and self in PCSDS. However, the principle of one person one vote would be followed in all the procedures.
1.4 An application for membership would have to be made to the State Executive Committee, which would vet such application as per the stipulated norms/mechanisms and accept / reject such application after due consideration. The decision of the State Executive Committee in this regard would be reported in the State General Body meeting.
1.5 Any application for membership can also be received by the National Executive Committee, who shall forward the same to the respective State Executive Committee for assessment. In the absence of the State Executive Committee, the application shall be considered by the National Executive Committee.
1.6 Any dispute or complaint regarding member(ship) would be looked into by the committee set-up for the purpose in accordance with the stipulated procedures which would place its findings and recommendations before National Executive Committee for appropriate action.
1.7 The members of PCSDS would have the right to elect or to be elected to the State Executive Committee and National Executive Committee through the process laid down for State General Body.
1.8 The members would have the right to receive communication and other relevant information related to issues discussed by the PCSDS.
1.9 The members would have the right to submit to the State Executive Committee cases / issues recommended to be taken up by the PCSDS.

2. Eligibility Criteria for Membership

2.1 That the incoming member accepts the charter documents of PCSDS in totality and shall provide a declaration to that effect.

3. Cessation of Membership

3.1 The membership of PCSDS shall cease in the following circumstances:
3.1.1 By resignation;
3.1.2 By dissolution of the organisation;
3.1.3 By default, in payment of membership subscription if any, for three consecutive membership subscriptions;
3.1.4 By expulsion on account of its acting against the interests of the PCSDS provided, however, that resolution confirming expulsion of the member shall be passed by the National Executive Committee on the recommendation received from the committee set-up for the purpose in accordance with the stipulated procedures which would place its findings and recommendations before National Executive Committee for appropriate action. The decision of the National Executive Committee in this regard would be reported in a National General Body Meeting; The National Executive Committee shall ensure that sufficient opportunity of hearing is provided to the member facing such expulsion;
3.1.5 By not attending either three consecutive meetings of the State General Body without a week’s prior intimation of their absence to the State Executive Committee.

4. State General Body

4.1 The State General Body would meet once in a year
4.2 The State General Body would have the powers to:
4.2.1 Elect a State Executive Committee
4.2.2 Elect representatives to National General Body
4.3 The State General Body would be convened with 21(twenty-one) days clear notice to the members. An emergency meeting can be held by serving 7(seven) days’ notice. However, in case of specific agenda, a special State General Body meeting can be convened in between two regular meetings of State General Body. Special State General Body can only be called on the requisition of one-fifth members of the State General Body.
4.4 The quorum for the State General Body shall be one-third members of the State General Body. If quorum is not established at a scheduled meeting, the meeting shall be reconvened to another date with 7(seven) days’ notice.
4.5 The reconvened State General Body shall take up all the functions mentioned in point 4.6 but not point 4.2 above, i.e. take up the business regarding organisational matters such as election of members to the State Executive Committee and recommendation of members to the National General Body, at any reconvened meeting without satisfaction of the requirement for 1/3rd quorum.
4.6 The State General Body shall conduct the following business:
4.6.1 Confirm the Minutes of the previous meeting;
4.6.2 Action taken arising from the Minutes of the previous meeting;
4.6.3 Review responses by PPTSDS to the matters from the State;
4.6.4 Approve the financial statements and accounts submitted by the State Executive Committee;
4.6.5 Any other matter brought forward by the members.
4.7 The matters arising would be decided by a simple majority vote.
4.8 No organisation/member shall act as proxy.

5. State Executive Committee

5.1 The State Executive Committee would consist of one representative for every five members in the state. For states with less than 15 members, the State Executive Committee would consist of one representative for every three members in the state.
5.2 The State Executive Committee shall hold meetings once in three months.
5.3 The State Executive Committee will approve memberships and maintain a register of members.
5.4 The State Executive Committee would submit the minutes of the meeting and proposals for interventions to PCSDS secretariat.
5.5 The State Executive Committee would call for meetings of State General Body once a year and Special State General Body.
5.6 The State Executive Committee would identify, discuss and forward cases and issues to Secretariat of PCSDS for interventions required in the state.

6. National General Body

6.1 The National General Body would consist of one representative for every ten members in the state. For states with less than 10 members, the National General Body would consist of 1 representative from the state.
6.2 The National General Body would meet once in two years. However, in case of specific agenda, a special National General Body meeting can be convened in between two regular meetings of National General Body. Special National General Body can only be called on the requisition of one-tenth members of the National General Body.
6.3 The National General Body would have the powers to elect a National Executive Committee. Special National General Body will not have the powers to elect National Executive Body.
6.4 The National General Body would be convened with three (3) months clear notice to the members by the Convenor/Secretary of the National Executive Committee. However, an emergency meeting can be held by serving one (1) month notice.
6.5 The quorum for the National General Body shall be one-third members of the National General Body. If quorum is not established at a scheduled meeting, the meeting shall be reconvened to another date with One (1) month notice.
6.6 The reconvened National General Body shall not take up any function mentioned in point 6.7, without satisfaction of the requirement for 1/3rd quorum.
6.7 The National General Body shall conduct the following business:
6.7.1 Confirm the Minutes of the previous meeting;
6.7.2 Action taken arising from the minutes of the previous meeting;
6.7.3 Review responses by PPTSDS;
6.7.4 Approve the financial statements and accounts submitted by the National Executive Committee;
6.7.5 Any other matter brought forward by the members;
6.8 The matters arising would be decided by a simple majority vote.
6.9 No organisation/member shall act as proxy.

7. National Executive Committee

7.1 The National General Body shall elect from among its members the National Executive Committee. The elected National Executive Committee will have the right to nominate members which it deems required for the functioning of the National Executive Committee.
7.2 Nomination Committee may be appointed to receive names from State General Bodies for elections on the National Executive Committee. The panel of names nominated shall thus be put to vote. Those receiving largest number of votes, but not less than thirty percent of the total number of members present and voting at the National General Body shall be declared elected as per the specification of size of the National Executive Committee to be determined by the National General Body.
7.3 The composition and character of National Executive Committee shall be as inclusive as possible. The National Executive Committee shall have a size proportionate to the size of membership of the National General Body. For the time being, it shall not be more than ten percent of the total National General Body of the organisation; and each National General Body shall determine the size of the membership of the National Executive Committee.
7.4 The National Executive Committee so elected will elect/appoint from among its member(s) either a Convenor/Secretary or such other office-bearer(s) as it may deem fit from time to time for the duration it may find necessary to do so, and will assign responsibilities and tasks accordingly.
7.5 The term of the National Executive Committee shall be for two years. However, no member shall continue on the National Executive Committee for more than two consecutive terms.
7.6 If the office of any member of the National Executive Committee is vacated before the term of office expires in the normal course, the resulting casual vacancy may be filled up by the National Executive Committee and any person appointed under this clause shall hold office only up to the date when the member she/he has replaced would have held office.
7.7 The National Executive Committee shall hold meeting twice a year, and, if necessary, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee shall be convened. The meetings of National Executive Committee should be convened with a prior notice of minimum two (2) months by the convenor/secretary of the National Executive Committee. The emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee should be convened with a prior notice of minimum fourteen (14) days.
7.8 The quorum of the National Executive Committee shall be one-third members of the National Executive Committee. If a meeting is held up for want of quorum, it shall be adjourned to another date, after prior notice of minimum seven (7) days, when it will not require any quorum.
7.9 If any member of the National Executive Committee remains absent for two consecutive meetings, without assigning any reason(s) in written to the convenor/secretary, she/he shall be treated as ceased to be the member of the National Executive Committee and the respective State Committee shall be free to nominate another member to fill in the resulting vacancy thus created in the National Executive Committee. Any person so nominated under this clause shall hold office only up to the date when the member she/he has replaced would have held office.

8. Powers and Functions of the National Executive Committee

8.1 The National Executive Committee of the PCSDS as above constituted, shall be subject to the Rules and Regulations of the PCSDS, be the highest Executive Body of the PCSDS and shall be responsible for organisation, general superintendence, direction and control of the activities of the PCSDS and shall exercise all the powers of the PCSDS not otherwise provided for in these rules and regulations as are necessary or expedient for the management of the PCSDS.
8.2 The National Executive Committee shall look after the growth and work of the PCSDS, in conformity with the policies, perspectives and programmes adopted by the National General Body. The National Executive Committee shall have the power to propose bye-laws to pursue the objectives of the PCSDS, provided such bye-laws are approved by a two-third majority of votes at the National General Body. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, the National Executive Committee is empowered:
8.2.1 To appoint members to the Secretariat of PCSDS and Registry of PPTSDS, comprising of co-ordinators and other staff who shall be responsible to organise/execute programmes as per the directions of the National Executive Committee, from among the members of the General Body or a suitable person from outside. The National Executive Committee shall fix the remuneration and other benefits of the co-ordinator(s).
8.2.2 To print, publish, issue, and exhibit any journals, periodicals, books, papers, pamphlets, advertisements, reports, lectures, souvenirs and other reading matter for the advancement, promotion and diffusion of useful knowledge and information concerning the works and activities of the PCSDS and PPTSDS, its objects and concerns.
8.2.3 To delegate all other powers of the National Executive Committee to the President and/or the Vice-President(s) and/or the Secretary and/or the Treasurer and/or duly authorised agent or agents appointed by the National Executive Committee as may from time to time be deemed necessary or expedient.
8.2.4 To do all such acts and things as are incidental or conducive to the implementation of the above or any one or more of them and as specified in the charter documents.

Secretariat Details

1. Secretariat would assist the National Executive Committee to implement the decision taken by the National General Body.
2. Secretariat would facilitate the decision making processes and, maintain information flow between various concerned bodies and members.
3. Secretariat would also undertake the ongoing work of the PCSDS, research, publications, campaign, advocacy, media, training facilitation, database maintenance, relevant information, coordination with pro-bono legal aid lawyers etc.
4. Secretariat will receive and process complaints/cases from the membership of PCSDS, engage in proactive roles to identify complaints/cases falling under PCSDS mandate and forward the same to the Registry of PPTSDS for further intervention.
5. Secretariat, if need be, will also assist the Registry of PPTSDS, to obtain further facts and information from the PCSDS membership.
6. Secretariat would also coordinate with the Registry of PPTSDS for undertaking PPTSDS activities.

ToR for PPTSDS

1. PPTSDS panel for every sitting would comprise a minimum of three and a maximum of seven members listed on the PPTSDS panel list.
2. PPTSDS panel would comprise of at least one member who has required expertise and experience in the concerned thematic area and one panel member from the geographical region. However, availability of the panel members would be primary condition in the composition PPTSDS panel for its sittings.
3. PPTSDS panel would, if required, appoint a sub-committee, hold bench sittings and appoint amicus as whenever required and deemed fit by it.
4. PPTSDS panel for every sitting would be assisted by the Registry of PPTSDS through research, documentation, complaint/case listing and compilation and all required coordination for holding PPTSDS panel sittings.
5. PPTSDS panel would hold its regular sittings on a quarterly basis. PPTSDS panel would also hold special sittings as and when deemed fit by the PCSDS.
6. PPTSDS panel during its quarterly sittings would be furnished by the Registry of PPTSDS with researched and documented socio-political analysis of the context with reference to the PCSDS objective and complaints/cases within the purview of PCSDS objective. PPTSDS panel after every sitting would submit to PCSDS a comprehensive report on the complaints/cases that were taken up for that particular sitting. This report would also include commentary, recommendations and further suggested actions on the complaints/cases looked into by the PPTSDS panel.
7. PPTSDS panel after every sitting would come out with interim findings and recommendations document. The comprehensive final report by the PPTSDS panel would be submitted to PCSDS within a period of 15 days. PCSDS would then further submit the report to all concerned.
8. PPTSDS panel would also accept oral and written submissions from the members of PCSDS. PPTSDS panel would also accept submissions through video conference if required in some cases. PPTSDS would also accept material evidences, photos, videos, etc. for cases it deems fit. PCSDS would also appoint, in case of need, experts and lawyers, to represent the complaints/cases before the PPTSDS panel.
9. PCSDS, if required, would also invite international observers to the proceedings of PPTSDS through video conferencing.