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The Process

Each inquiry involves research, tribunal co-ordination, investigation and public hearing, campaign, documentation, evaluation and follow-up. There are two secretariats, based in Mumbai and Delhi, which are responsible for coordinating the investigations.

Petition

A grassroots organisation may approach the IPT secretariat to organise an inquiry. This is accompanied by details of the nature of violation and relevant documents. In critical situations, the IPT also conducts inquiries in instances that require immediate crisis response. The secretariats process the request and terms of reference are drafted. An expert panel, chaired by a judge is formed to conduct the inquiry.

Site Visit & Public Hearing

A site visit is then organised for the Tribunal to study the situation first hand, meet with and record the statements of affected persons and government officials. In most cases where the abuse affects a large number of people, a public hearing is organised. An opportunity to depose before the Tribunal is also provided to the concerned state and non-state officials.

Report

A detailed report comprising the research and the findings and recommendations of the Tribunal is drafted. This report is released at a public meeting / press conference and distributed to government authorities, the media, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders both in India and abroad. Reports are also published in the regional language.

The endeavour is to develop a mechanism that will inform public opinion and potentially change government policy. In some cases, public interest litigation is filed on the basis of these reports to obtain relief for the victims.

Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Often during the process of the public hearing the IPT provides a forum for the various stakeholders to meet and discuss their grievances. Sometimes through the process a solution is reached in which the rights of the affected group of the affected group are honoured and in the least further violations are prevented.