About CVMC

Citizens Vigilance and Monitoring Committees (CVMC) at the state and district levels are civil society mechanisms set up to monitor the implementation of the law, including monitoring the monitors. They shadow the functioning of the DVMCs and SVMC. They function parallely when required to ensure that Dalits and Adivasis can live as full citizens and enjoy the benefits of development and progress. Regular, periodic, systematic assault on the life, person, or property of the scheduled communities – the most vulnerable of our society – are not acceptable and should have zero tolerance in Tamil Nadu, as indeed in any civilised society.

The Objective

The objective of the CVMCs is to make caste and ethnicity based discrimination and violence into a social issue with a broad based social response, so that it not pigeon-holed into a ‘Dalit’ or ‘Advasi’ issue, to be addressed as a ‘law and order problem’, with the burden falling on the Dalits and the Adivasis alone.

CVMCs enable citizens to fulfil eight of the eleven citizen’s duties under the Constitution of India (Chapter IVA Fundamental duties, Article 51A) namely 

a.    to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions;

b.   to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

c.    to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

d.   to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and   regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

e.    to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

f.     to have compassion for living creatures;

g.    to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

h.   to abjure violence;

i.     to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;

The Composition

The CVMCs will consist primarily of those who are professionals who will be supportive of social justice, but will be independent. They need to be those who have excelled in their spheres, and have considerable social capital and/or name recognition. Though human rights defenders will also be an important part, they will not be centre-staged.

Ideally the composition of the CVMCs would be (non cumulatively) 60% women, 60% professionals, with men and DAHRDs forming a maximum of 40% (non-cumulative). The more professionals and eminent citizen’s express concern, the faster these crimes will stop.

The Role of CVMCs

The Citizens Vigilance and Monitoring Committees at the state and district levels are to ensure that there is an autonomous citizens’ watch on the functioning of the state mechanisms and efficient implementation of the Act. Their role is strategic, to broaden the scope of engagement on social justice in general, and for the DAHRDs in particular.

Their outspoken disapproval of caste and ethnicity based discrimination and violence will reset the norms that valorise these crimes as somehow ‘honorable’ and a ‘duty’ to ‘age-old customs and traditions’ to become more socially just.

Tasks and Periodicity

The role of the CVMC is strategic and their tasks reflect this. They need to be at the forefront of the quarterly meeting with the district mechanisms and the state CVMC need to be there at the half-yearly meeting with the state mechanisms.

The primary tasks of the CVMC are to:

a.    Verify the reports and findings of the Dalit Adivasi Human Rights Defenders (DAHRDs).

b.   Draw out lessons learnt.

c.    Advice as to the follow-up.

d.   Engage with the state mechanisms for better implementation (quarterly district wise, and bi-annually at the state level).

e.    Release the findings to the general public (district-wise, annual).

f.     Attend the annual state / zonal convention and SMARTs (strategic multi-actor round tables).

g.    Support and protect the DAHRDs.

h.   Meet 4-6 weeks before the DVMC (tentatively 28 February, 31 May, 30 August, 30 November).

i.     The state CVMC shall meet half yearly (30 December and 30 June) before the scheduled SVMC meetings to take stock of the progress and engage with the state mechanisms.