The people and the Ashram both were much disturbed. Hence the Ashram decided to carry out detailed studies on 4 issues – land problems, irregular functioning of primary schools, fair price grain shops’ functioning and bonded labour. This laid the foundation of the Rural Entitlement Programme. A writ was filed in the Supreme Court in 1982 to address 2 issues:
- Rights on the land of section 4 of the Forest Act, and
- Freedom of bonded labour. For the other 2 issues, state level advocacy was resorted to.
As a result, the situation of primary schools improved. The Ashram itself ran the ration shops in 1983-84 and made grains and kerosene available in the remotest areas. Later, villagers themselves started managing fair price shops.
The Supreme Court ordered the Uttar Pradesh Government to free and rehabilitate bonded labour. With the assistance of BSA, almost 1,500 bonded labourers were freed.
The hearing on Section 4 continued in the Supreme Court till 1993. In 1986, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member Commission for land rights entitlement. One of the members of this commission was Prembhai. The court also appointed legal advisors for the villagers. The government team consisted of 6 courts of Additional District Judges and 25 Assistant Record Officers and 1 Record Officer.
Considerable energy and money of the Ashram and villagers was spent. The bright side, however, was that a very large number of cases were settled through Lok Adalat system.