People's Union for Civil Liberties

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People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) is a prominent civil rights organisation in India. It was formed in 1976 by veteran socialist and campaign leader Jaya Prakash Narayan (also known as JP), who launched it as the People's Union for Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (PUCLDR).

Working with JP

It was originally intended to be an organisation free from political ideologies, bringing those concerned about defending civil liberties and human rights from different backgrounds onto a common platform.

According to the PUCL[1], the PUCLDR was a loosely organised group of people who were working with JP, a prominent figure in the Indian Opposition in the 1970s.


After the return of Indira Gandhi to power in the 1980 elections in India, the organisation was re-named as the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Its founding conference was held in November 1980.

Its constitution laid down that the members of a political party will not have the right to hold any office if they joined the organisation; the number of members, belonging to political parties, in the national or state executive committees shall not be more than 50% of the members of the National Council and the National Executive Committee respectively (and also the corresponding bodies at the state and local level). Not more than 10% shall be members of any single political party.

Prominent Indian names

It has had V. M. Tarkunde as its president and editor-politician Arun Shourie as the general secretary. Later, Y. P. Chhibbar was appointed as executive secretary. Those elected as president and general secretary (have included: V. M. Tarkunde; Rajni Kothari; Rajindar Sachar; K. G. Kannabiran; Arun Shourie; Y. P. Chhibbar; and Dalip Swami, among others.

It publishes a monthly journal, the PUCL Bulletin, in English. The PUCL also organises a JP Memorial Lecture on March 23 every year, the date on which the Indian State of Emergency was lifted in 1977.

The PUCL Bulletin is available for download in pdf format on the group's website:

Award, no funding

It presents its Journalism for Human Rights' Award which carries a citation and an award of Rs 20,000. PUCL, as it policy, does not accept money from any funding agency, Indian or foreign. All the expenses are met by the members, the office bearers, and the activists.

Arrest of Binayak Sen

Binayak Sen is the National Vice-President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and General Secretary of its Chhattisgarh unit. In May 2007, Sen was detained by security agencies for his alleged links with Maoist rebels. Despite protests from Human Rights groups like Amnesty International, he remains in custody. In December 2007, his bail petition was rejected by the Supreme Court of India.[2] On May 25 2009, Sen was granted bail by the Supreme court on his own surety.[3]

See also

Citizen's Justice Committee


External links