To start with, in 1980, he established a Consumer Organization in a village called Basrur of Udupi. After gaining sufficient experience in dealing with Indian bureaucracy, in 1992, he founded Human Rights Protection Foundation. In order to offer proper guidance and support to the aggrieved he joined a Law Institute to get Legal knowledge.
Even after lifting of Emergency, when the press did not respond sufficiently to the suffering of common citizens, especially against inefficient functioning of Government Departments and corrupt bureaucracy, he decided to start an in-house fortnightly publication ‘Balakedaarara Shikshana’. For twenty long years this journal published thousands of complaints of common citizens to protect their rights. The success stories of victorious citizens inspired other aggrieved citizens to fight for their rights.
He extends his helping hand against any kind of injustice, regardless of the nature of injustice, regardless of social position of the victim, or regardless of the party that caused it. Prime objective is empowerment of weaker section of Indian society, concentrating mainly on women, children, backward caste and backward communities and bringing them into mainstream.
In 1997, on the occasion of 50th year of Indian Independence, Udayavani, a popular daily of coastal Karnataka invited him to write a weekly column called ‘Bahujana Hithaya Bahujana Sukhaya’(For the sake of public good). Taranga, a widely circulated periodical regularly published detailed articles written by Dr.Shanbhogue in the last 40 years.
Whenever a situation arose, several other sister Organizations were created to tackle different types of problems. When complaints of atrocities on women and children were received, a separate Organisation called ‘Samanvaya’ was established in 1990. A fortnightly called ‘Saraswat Jagruthi’ was published exclusively to empower the victims and support their struggle. More than 600 cases of domestic violence and family disputes have been tackled by Dr.Shanbhogue and justice was done to each and every victims.
So far he has published more than 3000 articles in these columns as well as in other periodicals on Public Interest Topics. Having completed 41 years in consumer and Human Rights Movement he has redressed more than 38,000 grievances of citizens. None of the complainants have been charged for the guidance given or the service provided by him.
To bring the awareness among the people more than 2000 seminars have been conducted in States such as Karnataka, Maharastra, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Rajasthan. More than 700 workshops have been conducted in order to train advocates and future activists to continue these activities.
Recognizing his capabilities of resolving the disputes, Dr. Shanbhogue has been appointed as conciliation officer by the Udupi District Senior Citizens Protection Tribunal. Prior to enquiry at the Tribunal, the case files are sent to him for conciliation. At the conciliation meeting, both the parties would be advised to arrive at a settlement. They would be explained the consequences of the failure of conciliation. Thus, most of the litigants prefer to settle the matter before the Tribunal passes judgment. This would not only save the expenses but saves time as well. Dr. Shanbhogue has successfully guided more than 700 senior citizens to solve their problems.
Akku -Leela case is one of the striking examples. Akku and Leela were ‘D’ Group employees of a Government owned teachers’ training school. Throughout the 42 years of their service, they were paid a basic salary of Rs.15 per month. Repeated requests and representation to officials of education department and to elected representatives never yielded any result. Ultimately, Dr. Shanbhogue helped them in filing a petition to Karnataka Administrative Tribunal. In 2003, the Tribunal passed an order to pay them salary as per the minimum wages Act. But the state government appealed to High Court and subsequently to Supreme Court to quash this order. Ultimately, when Supreme Court ordered in favor of these two labourers, each of them got Rs.27,00,000 as back wages. This has been a landmark case in Labour Law. Whenever weaker section are affected, the litigation expenses, including court expenses are taken care of by his Organization.
A former professor of Pharmacology Dr. Ravindranath Shanbhogue is a household name in Karnataka. In fact, he is an “invaluable contribution” of the “Draconian Emergency” imposed during 1975 to Indians.
While undergoing imprisonment in Mangalore jail, he observed that the convicts were being exploited by the jail authorities. Massive human rights’ violations reported from various Indian jails motivated him to initiate a strong movement to protect the underprivileged. His Mission was to establish a result-oriented, issue- based, apolitical movement with non-violent methodology.
Dr. Ravindranath Shanbhogue, President Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi