Over the last 40 years or more, the civil rights movement in India has emerged as an autonomous voice in defense of civil liberties and democratic rights of our people. The Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi, is one such organisation. It came into existence in 1977 as the Delhi unit of a larger national forum,PUCLDR, and became PUDR on 1 February, 1981.
In more than 40 years of its existence, PUDR has taken up hundreds of instances of violations of democratic rights, covering most parts of the country and involving the rights of many sections of society. PUDR conducts investigations, issues statements, distributes leaflets, organizes public meetings, demonstrations and dharnas, initiates campaigns, petitions authorities and fights legal cases to highlight the violation of people's rights and help towards their redressal. Through its investigations, PUDR has raised the issues of custodial rapes, deaths and torture, consistently fought for the rights of marginalized peasants and agricultural workers, upheld working class rights across different sectors, campaigned for gender equality both at home and outside, opposed caste oppression and communal violence and, articulated the rights and access of people and communities towards equitable resources. PUDR opposes bans and upholds the right to freedom of speech, expression and association. For almost two decades PUDR has demanded the repeal of death penalty and has actively taken up the rights of those who have been condemned to the death row. Along with these, it has actively campaigned against anti-democratic legislations such as TADA, POTA,UAPA, AFSPA and others, and has engaged itself in legal defense of civil liberties and democratic rights. Some of PUDR’s legal interventions have been of critical importance such as the Asiad labour petition which opened the doors to public interest litigation in India.
PUDR has always worked closely with similar democratic rights organizations located in different states and regions such as the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC), the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), West Bengal, the People's Union for Civil Liberties, (PUCL), Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai and many others. Several reports and activities have been jointly undertaken and in recent times PUDR has been an active member of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organization (CDRO), a wider body of non-funded, democratic rights organizations.
Membership in PUDR is entirely on a voluntary basis and activists meet on a weekly basis to help organize activities. Activists are not paid for giving their time or for undertaking activities and funds are generated solely from the sale of literature and from small donations of not more than Rs 3000. PUDR does not accept foreign funds, or funds from any institutional funding agencies, foreign or national. Constitution of PUDR