Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Vivek Varma, J. while addressing the present petition requested the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to have a complete inquiry or investigation due to the alleged violation of human rights and negligence in the prevention of such violation.

Alleged display of police brutality upon students who were protesting against the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is the reason for the filing of the present petition.

At Aligarh Muslim University a huge number of students assembled to share solidarity with the students of other Universities who were protesting against the above-stated Act. On the evening of December 15th, peaceful processions according to the petitioner was lodged at the Library canteen of the University.

A huge contingent of the police forces moved towards the University circle and provoked the students by different means including intentional utterance of abusive words. Students were heavily injured by the brutal lathi-charge, rubber bullets and pellets.

Further, the petitioner stated that to disburse the assembly of the students, the force was used by the State. The contingent of police forcefully entered in different parts of the University including the library, hostels, classrooms, offices, etc. and brutally behaved with students. Police officials intentionally assaulted the students and also vandalized the vehicles parked on the University campus.

It has also been alleged that a large number of students were detained and tortured then on 16-12-2019, University Registrar issued notices to vacate the hostels.

Counter affidavit filed by the Inspector General, Law & Order U.P. and Senior Superintendent of Police, Aligarh stated that the students in violation of the precautions as per Section 144 CrPC gathered at the University circle and when the authorities noticed the hindrance being caused by some of the students in their routine functioning, Registrar, Aligarh Muslim University requested the District Magistrate, Aligarh to take appropriate steps.

Registrar of the University had sent a letter to the District Magistrate requesting the deployment of security forces to prevent any untoward incident. District administration received certain intelligence inputs and also information from the Proctor of the University about the assembly of the students inside the University campus and their march towards Bab-e-Syed apprehending unwarranted incidents.

Gathering taking advantage of darkness started pelting stones vigorously from various directions and that enormously destroyed University property. Having no other option, the district administration decided to enter into University campus to disburse gathering and preventing the property from being damaged.

Additional Advocate General submitted that the above-said action was taken to prevent loss to public and public property at large. He also stated that in accordance with Article 19 of the Constitution of India, the right available is only to assemble peacefully without arms. But in the above incident, the assembly was absolutely unlawful and was abating for violence.

Senior Advocate, Sri Colin Gonsalves stated that the petitioner’s demand is to have a complete investigation as there is a violation of human rights and commission of cognizable crime. He also referred to the observations made in the Supreme Court Case in Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Assn. v. Union of India, (2017) 8 SCC 417, wherein it was stated that,

“..inquiry or investigation by the National Human Rights Commission is of civil nature and that too is not an effective measure to bring the culprits of doing wrong to board.”

 

Decision

On perusal of the above-stated aspects, the High Court stated that, under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 the Commission may inquire suo motu or on a petition relating to the students for violation of human rights or abatement thereof or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant.

There has been alleged violation of human rights and also alleged negligence in the prevention of such violation. The narration of the facts certainly demands a probe.

Court on perusal of the powers of the NHRC stated that the entire matter is to be inquired by the Commission.

Inquiry by the State Human Rights Commission also but in light of the fact that the National Human Rights Commission is already undertaking inquiry relating to similar allegations on a complaint filed by the students and some faculty members of Jamia Milia Islamia University, the Bench considers it fit to have an inquiry in the present matter too by NHRC.

Commission has been requested to complete the inquiry within a period of one month and to convey its findings and recommendations, if any, to this Court immediately after the conclusion of the inquiry/investigation. [Mohd. Aman Khan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine All 1, decided on 07-01-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Death of more than 100 children at Kota Government Hospital

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of more than 100 children at a government-run hospital in Kota district of Rajasthan in the month of December, 2019. Ten out of a hundred children died within 48 hours between December 23 and 24, 2019. Reportedly, over 50 per cent of the gadgets installed in the hospital are defunct and the hospital is lacking cleanliness and basic infrastructure including oxygen supply in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan to submit a detailed report, within four weeks in the matter including the steps being taken to address the issue and to ensure that such deaths of the children do not recur in future due to lack of infrastructure and health facilities at the hospitals.

According to the media report, the state authorities have reportedly stated that the number of deaths is low in comparison with earlier years. As per the statistics quoted by the State authorities 963 children have died in the year 2019 at J.K. Lon government hospital while this figure was above 1000 in the preceding years.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 03-01-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

NHRC issued the following statement with respect to the police action in Jamia:

It has been brought to the notice of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India that certain individuals are attributing that the Commission has condemned police action in Jamia Millia Islamia. This statement is incorrect and the matter is still under enquiry.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 02-01-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has deputed a team led by its SSP, Ms. Manzil Saini to conduct and on the spot inquiry to know whether incidents in Jamia Millia Islamia involved violation of Human Rights. The Commission has received complaints in the matter and registered a case.

The fact-finding team will submit its report, which will be analysed and placed before the Commission for appropriate recommendations in the matter.

The complaints received in the Commission include allegations of illegal detention of students of Jamia Millia Islamia by Police and denial of legal and medical access to injured students in the Police action.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 201-12-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that minor victim of sexual assault was set on fire by her tormentor resulting in her death in Agartala district of Tripura.

The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Tripura calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks including status of the investigation and any relief granted to the NOK of the deceased.

The Commission has observed that though it is not mentioned in the media reports that whether the aggrieved family or the victim had approached the police authorities with their complaint but the death of a minor girl as a result of a barbaric act done by the accused is a matter of concern for it. Reiterating its displeasure towards increasing incidents of sexual assault of women across the country, the Commission has said that it is awaiting reports from all the States and UTs including Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in the matter.

According to the media reportsd, carried today on the 9-10-2019 that on 28-10-2019, the victim was kidnapped by the accused from her residence and was subjected to sexual abuse. Later, the accused raised a demand of Rs 5 Lakhs in lieu of solemnizing marriage with the victim. Some amount of money was reportedly paid by the family and there was a dispute between the family of the victim and the accused for the remaining money. As mentioned in the news reports, the accused and his mother have been arrested by the police after the incident.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 09-12-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, a person tried to outrage the modesty of a woman and when he was not successful, he poured kerosene on her and put her on fire.

The victim woman has suffered 85 per cent burn injuries and has been admitted in the SKMCH Hospital where her condition is critical. Reportedly, the victim’s family had approached the police five times for registarion of an FIR but no acrtion was taken but neither an FIR was registered by the police nor any action was taken against the accused.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news reports, if true, amount to serious violation of human rights of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Bihar calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Commission would also like to know about the status of the investigation and treatment of the victim woman, who is reportedly in a state of coma at SKMCH Hospital in Muzaffarpur. The report must include whether any departmental action has been taken against the guilty police officials and whether any relief has been granted to the victim/ family.

According to the media reports, the accused who allegedly assaulted the victim has also sustained burn injuries in his hand. The accused, as mentioned in the news report was harassing the victim for the last three years for which the family of the woman had approached the Ahiyapur police station five times, to get an FIR registered but no FIR was registered by the police. Now, reportedly, the police is making efforts to arrest him.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 09-12-2019]

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The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a 12-year-old Dalit girl in Nuh was allegedly abducted, taken to an under-construction house of a “cop” and gang-raped for two days. The news reports also reveal that the grandmother of the victim had approached the police authorities on 09-07-2019 but no help was provided to her by the police eventually filed a case under the POCSO Act yesterday on 11-07-2019 and nabbed three persons, who reportedly confessed to the crime. Reportedly, the victim lives with her grandmother as her parents are no more. She was away when one of the culprits approached her and took her out.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Haryana calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The report should also communicate about the status of the investigation being conducted in the matter and the relief and rehabilitation and counseling provided to the victim girl as the case has been registered under provisions of the POCSO Act and the girl also belongs to Scheduled Caste.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the poor girl. It is more disheartening, as reported, that for two days when the girl was being assaulted and her grandmother was seeking help from the police authorities, no action was taken on her request. Had the timely action been taken by the police personnel, perhaps, the girl could have been saved from the clutches of the perpetrators in time. As alleged, such an inhuman approach shown by the police personnel is highly condemnable. Apparently, public servants have failed to do their lawful duty.

According to the media reports, the victim was known to one of the accused, who is at large. He took the unsuspecting girl for a drive and called up his accomplices. They took her to an under-construction house belonging to an SPO, so that nobody could venture inside the house. One of the accused has confessed that the victim girl was threatened of killing if she dared to tell anybody, about the incident.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 12-07-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that more than 17 students, 15 to 19 years, were killed in the massive fire which broke out in the four-storeyed building housing their coaching centre at Surat in Gujarat on the 24th May, 2019. Many are still in critical condition, undergoing medical treatment in hospitals.

Considering the incident as a grave violation of the human rights of the young students, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat calling for a detailed report in the matter including status of the criminal cases registered against the building owner and others found guilty along with action taken against the public servants concerned. He has been asked to include in his the legal status of the building, its construction, fire fighting measures, fire safety clearance and relief granted to the grief-stricken families. The Commission also expects that the best and free of cost treatment is provided by the State to the injured persons. Response from the State government is expected within 4 weeks.

Issuing the notice, the Commission has also observed that it has been constantly insisting the authorities to be more vigilant to avoid such tragic incidents. Going by the media reports, it appears that there was no safe passage for the victims, which could have been used as a fire exit in case of emergency. The mere announcement of compensation to the aggrieved families cannot be a solution to such kind of hazards. Several such incidents have occurred across the country where precious human lives have been lost due to negligence by the authorities and lack of Fire Department’s clearance.

According to the media reports, the fire reportedly started likely due to a short circuit at the staircase near the lower floor and engulfed the entire premises. As there was no way out for the people present on the top floor to come out of the building, they started jumping off the building. Some of them have sustained serious injuries. It is mentioned in the news reports that the horrifying incident was recorded by many passersby, which indicates that nearly a dozen teenagers were trying to escape the thick smoke rising from the building, forcing them to jump off to save their lives.

The fire department officials reached the spot and deployed 19 fire trucks and two hydraulic platforms to douse the fire and evacuate the people trapped in the building. An enquiry into the matter has reportedly been ordered by the state government. Reportedly, Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased have been announced by the State government and as a precautionary measure all the Tuition Centres/Coaching centre, etc have been ordered to be closed in the area. The fire hazard checks are also being conducted in various places.


[Dated: 25-05-2019]

National Human Rights Commission

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Justice H.L. Dattu, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, India continues to remain a Member of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, GANHRI, Bureau. His position was ratified during the Annual Meeting of the GANHRI General Assembly at Geneva, Switzerland on the 5th March, 2019, wherein he is leading an NHRC, India delegation comprising Mr Justice P.C. Ghose, Member and Mr Jaideep Govind, Secretary General of the Commission.

Justice Dattu was appointed to this position in 2016 after emerging as the unanimous choice of the NHRIs from the Asia Pacific region. He is representing the Asia Pacific region along with the representatives of three more NHRIs in the region at the GANHRI Bureau meetings. Justice Dattu’s vast experience and legal expertise is considered useful in giving a shape to the approach to the GANHRI on the human rights issues being faced by the international community.

The GANHRI Bureau is an important human rights body, which serves as the Management Committee of the GANHRI. The GANHRI Bureau implements all the decisions of the GANHRI General Meetings and directs the operations of the GANHRI between these meetings.

The GANHRI Bureau consists of sixteen, ‘A’ status NHRIs, four from each region, namely, Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific. Besides the Annual General Meetings, the NHRC, India has been regularly taking part in its activities as an active Member of the GANHRI.

NHRC

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports regarding attack on Kashmiri people, including students studying in various institutes at different places in the country in the aftermath of terrorist attack in Pulwama on CRPF convoy. The Commission has observed that the media reports on the incidents, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights. The contents therein are shocking and very disheartening.

Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development calling for reports in two weeks. Notices have also be also issued to the Chief Secretaries of the Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal as well as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi calling for their reports on the incidents mentioned in the news reports within four weeks.

The Commission has further observed that giving such bad treatment by targeting people of a particular region of the country by some elements will destroy the democratic fabric of the country. India is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations in the world and has a rich tolerant culture, which is identified and respected across the world. Such incidents would only tarnish the image of the country. The Central Government has to act quickly by taking action against the miscreants. There is a need for sensitization of local authorities, police agencies and the general public to maintain law and order at every cost.

It added that though there is an atmosphere of grief and anger across the country after the terrorist attack on the convoy of the CRPF in Pulwama in which 42 soldiers were martyred but even in extreme situation, a civilized society cannot accept such kind of violence by the people against their fellow countrymen. Rustication, suspension or action against the students, as mentioned in the news reports, can be a matter of investigation on merits but the incidents of ill-treatment of the Kashmiri people in different parts of the country is definitely in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, which protects equality before the law and equal protection of laws within the territory of India.

According to the media reports, carried today on the 21st February, 2019, the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Mr. Prakash Javadekar has dismissed reports of alleged harassment of Kashmiri students outside their state in the wake of Pulwama terror attack and said that the government is in touch with all institutions in this regard. However, it has also been reported that two Dehradun based educational institutions have stated on record that they will not admit Kashmiri students in future as the colleges, where the Kashmiri students are studying, were threatened by the mob. At least 10 Kashmiri students have been booked and around 20 suspended or rusticated from colleges across the country for what officials called “anti-national” social media posts. Once of the colleges suspended its Dean from Jammu & Kashmir as the mob asked to do it.

As per media reports, several Kashmiri students, migrants, traders and professionals have had to pack up and leave from different parts of the country particularly, Uttarakhand and Haryana. As per media reports, a 19 year old girl from Pulwama, posted some contents in praise of Pakistan on her Instagram account and six students belonging to the same group were suspended by a university in Roorkee.

Apart from this, there are media reports stating that 34 workers had left Muzaffarnagar and some more are planning to leave as some members of “Bharatiya Kisan Union” protested outside the mill and demanded that Kashmiri workers should be sent back. The Union said that people abuse and throw stones at the soldiers in the valley and come here to take shelter, hence they should be sent back to the valley. As mentioned in the news report, a 22 year old worker has stated that there are very few jobs available in the Kashmir due to which Kashmiri youth prefer to come here to earn an honest living but now it has become very difficult to stay back.

The District Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar has reportedly stated that they do not have a count of Kashmiris working in the area and they have not received any official complaint either from the police or the mill authorities. He has however stated that due action will be taken if any kind of misconduct is noticed.

Another news report published in the newspaper reveals that two Kashmiri youths, who were travelling in a train were beaten up as the mob called them stone pelters. The victims have been selling shawls from Kashmir in Haryana. They are reportedly staying in Delhi since December, 2018 and have been conducting their business for the last 10 years. As the mob attacked them, they somehow managed to escape leaving behind their articles, valuing around Rs. 2 lakhs. Similar incident has occurred, reportedly, in Kolkata, West Bengal.

[Dated: 21-02-2019]

NHRC

Appointments & TransfersNews

Mr Jaideep Govind, 1984 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh Cadre, joined the National Human Rights Commission, on 14th January, 2019. He is the 15th Secretary General of the Commission.

Background:

He has held various important posts in the Government of India, such as Additional Secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs and looked after critical areas of Left Wing Extremism, Police Modernization and procurement for CAPF etc. Mr Govind has also looked after the Centre-State Division and Human Rights Division in the Home Ministry. He addressed the U.N. Forum in New York on human trafficking and attended an important meeting on trafficking of women and children in Bangkok.

He has also served in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of J&K Affairs, Ministry of Tribal Affairs in Government of India. He worked in Madhya Pradesh as Division Commissioner, Ujjain for 3 years, Commissioner (Tribal), Madhya Pradesh and Principal Secretary, Technical and Higher Education etc. As Chief Electoral Officer, Madhya Pradesh he won Special Award in 2014 for best CEO in the country for the conduct of Lok Sabha Elections and also received Best State Award in 2013, for the conduct of Assembly Elections. He also won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence for Civil Servants in 2010 as part of the team for effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act when he was Tribal Commissioner in Madhya Pradesh.

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission: NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a six year old girl, studying in a government school in Delhi, has been allegedly raped by a person working as an electrician with the school around 1.30 P.M. on the 8th August, 2017.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to violation of human rights of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Chief Secretary is expected to inform whether all the guidelines/directions issued by the authorities for the safety of the students are being followed by the schools in Delhi. The Commission has also observed that the incident is reported to have happened in a government school. Being the custodian of the students, the school authorities are responsible for the safety and security of its students, especially the girl students. Prima Facie the incident indicates towards negligence by the school administration.

The NHRC also feels that there should be a State Human Rights Commission in Delhi to deal with such cases of alleged violation of human rights. However, till it comes into existence, it would continue addressing the issues pertaining to the NCT of Delhi. According to the media report, carried on the 10th August, 2018, the incident took place when the victim girl was about to return home, but she was stopped by the accused. The accused also allegedly warned the victim not to tell it to anyone. The victim was medically examined and the reports confirmed that she has been subjected to rape. An FIR in the matter has been registered by the police and the accused has been arrested.

National Human Rights Commission

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission: NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that on 20th July, 2018, a 31-year old Rakbar Khan, from Haryana’s Mewat District was attacked by a group of 8-10 cow vigilantes in Alwar district, Rajasthan and who succumbed to injuries a few hours later. The cow vigilantes have, reportedly, alleged that the victim died in police custody and not because of mob violence as claimed by the authorities. There are further reports in the print media that it took Alwar Police more than 3 hours to travel six km while taking a critically injured victim of lynching to the closest hospital, the Community Health Centre in Ramgarh.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the news reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim man. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Govt. of Rajasthan calling for reports in the matter within two weeks.
According to the media reports dated 22nd July, 2018, the victim of mob lynching, in his dying statement, told the police that he and his friend were walking back with two cows they had bought when they came under attack in Alwar’s Ramgarh area by the mob, which accused them of being smugglers taking the cattle for slaughter. Reportedly, rather than saving the life of the victim, the two cows recovered from him seemed to have been the priority of police. The cows were taken to gaushala 10 km away, a good one hour before the victim of mob lynching was brought to the CHC, dead.

National Human Rights Commission

 

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National Human Rights Commission: NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that in a State funded Shelter Home at Muzaffarpur in Bihar, at least 16 girls were raped. 44 girls were living in the home run by an NGO under the supervision of the Social Welfare Department. Reportedly, the Child Protection Officer of Muzaffarpur District has been arrested in connection with alleged sexual exploitation of girls in this Shelter Home. The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the DGP, Government of Bihar, directing them to enquire into the matter and submit a report within two weeks.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim girls. The Shelter Home is supposed to give security and protection to the victim girls but under no stretch of imagination the Shelter Home can be a playing ground of predators for their monstrous and vulturous activities, which are against the human dignity and sobriety of the women. However, in the instant case, the girls have apparently become victim of rape at the instance of the protectors in the Shelter Home, as the Government officials and the Shelter Home staff have been allegedly found to be involved in the incident. The State and the local administration have failed miserably to protect the rights and dignity of the victim girls.
Accordingly, the State authorities have also been asked that their report should also contain the reply to the following specific points:

1. Whether any approval was given by the Social Welfare Department to run the Shelter Home in question and what is the mechanism to monitor its functioning. If any monitoring mechanism is at place, why such incident took place;

2. Whether any of the victims belong to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe. If yes, whether the police has registered FIR under relevant sections of SC/ST Act and whether steps have been taken to pay monetary relief to such victims under SC/ST (POA) Rules;

3. Whether any Govt. official, as reported in the media, has been found to have involved in the incident. If yes, the details thereof be sent.

They are also expected to ensure that immediate legal action is taken against the accused persons and necessary arrangements/steps be taken for relief and rehabilitation of the victim girls.
According to the media report carried on the 24th July, 2018, the girls have been shifted to other shelter home after the incident came to light. The medical report of 21 of the girls have been submitted to the Muzaffarpur police which confirms 16 cases of rape. The report further states that one of the inmates stated that one girl was killed when she retaliated to the sexual harassment by the staff and she was buried in the premises. Reportedly, the sample of debris is to be sent for forensic test. 10 out of 11 accused have been arrested.

The inmates had narrated their ordeals in the social audit report prepared by TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences). The Social Welfare Department has filed the police complaint which has exposed the plight of the girls. A special investigation team has been formed to enquire into the matter.

National Human Rights Commission

 

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National Human Rights Commission: NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the Government of Maharashtra in the State Assembly has informed that 639 farmers committed suicide in the State between March and May, 2018. The reported reasons were crop failure, debt and inability to repay bank loans.

The Commission has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra calling for the detailed reports in the matter, specifically mentioning the status of implementation of the schemes for the farmers and relief to the aggrieved families. The response is expected within four weeks. The Union Government is expected to inform the Commission, if they have any specific plan or mechanism in their mind to effectively address the situation.

The Commission has observed that it is not for the first time that such news has come to its notice. It has been receiving complaints regarding the deaths of farmers across the country, including the State of Maharashtra. It has also taken suo motu cognizance of such matters. Committing suicide by the farmers in such a large number is a serious matter as it involves the right to life of the victims. Their families also come under tremendous pressure due to sudden demise of an earning member.

It has further observed that in spite of announcement of several schemes including crop insurance and loan waiver by the Central and State Governments, the forlorn story of poor farmers generally remains the same. The farmers are still choosing to end their lives, understandably, if not being able to cope up with the stress, financial crunch and social stigma due to crop failure. There is a need for the Central and State Governments to see that the schemes announced by them are implemented in true spirit, to achieve the target so that such tragic deaths of the farmers could be averted.

According to the media report, carried on 15th July, 2018, a total 639 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra between March 1 and May 31, 2018. The information had been provided by the State Revenue Minister in the State Assembly in response to the questions of the opposition members. They had, reportedly, alleged that all the schemes of the government, including the loan waiver, compensation to farmers in case of loss of crops and minimum support price (MSP) for agricultural goods, had failed, due to which the cases of suicide by the farmers have increased.

The news reports further say that as claimed by the opposition, in the last four years, as many as 13,000 farmers had ended life, of which 1500 committed suicide in the last one year alone. The Revenue Minister had reportedly stated that according to the parameters set by the State Government in October last year for declaration of drought, 8 talukas of Yavatmal, Washim and Jalgaon Districts were declared affected by medium intensity drought in April this year and the compensation along with other assistance has been provided to the affected farmers, accordingly.

It is further mentioned that on 29th May, 2018, the Union Government made amendments in the rules for declaration of drought-hit areas, based on the suggestions made by the states and accordingly the state revenue and forest departments have made the changes on 28.6.2018. The Chief Minister of the State has reportedly stated that appropriate action will be taken to recover the mortgaged lands of the farmers from the respective lenders.

National Human Rights Commission

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National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that the network of editors and media practitioners, namely, SAMDEN has urged the NHRC to seeks swift probe into Shujaat Bukhari’s killing along with his two personal security officers in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir on 14.06.2018. Reportedly, SAMDEN has also demanded swift action to be taken by the Central and the State Government for the necessary steps ensuring safety and security of all the journalists across the country.

As per news report, the deceased journalist had been under police protection since the year 2000. He was reportedly facing threats, being a rare voice of moderation and an advocate for peace and justice. Many other NGOs and human rights defenders have also raised their voice against the threats, attacks and murders carried out against the media persons.

The Commission has observed that in view of special provisions laid down under Section 1(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 in connection with the State of Jammu & Kashmir, it generally does not intervene into the matters relatable to entries enumerated in the List II (State List) mentioned under Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. In such cases, it is for the State Human Rights Commission to take cognizance of the complaints regarding alleged violation of human rights in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

However, it further observed that it is learnt that the State Human Rights Commission is closed for summer vacations till 30th June, 2018 and till date, cognizance of this case has not been taken by them. The way, Mr Shujaat Bukhari had been killed by the miscreants indicates that the media persons, even those who have been provided police protection by the State Government, are not safe in the valley. This is a case of violation of right to life of the victim and the incident is causing serious threat to free speech and freedom of press in the State.

Looking into the gravity of the matter, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police of the State of Jammu & Kashmir calling for detailed report in the matter. The State Government is also expected to provide details of the attacks made on the media persons during last two years along with number of persons died/ injured and status of relief/ rehabilitation provided to the victims and their families. The Commission would also like to know as to what special measures have been taken by the State Government to stop such incidents in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The response is expected within four weeks.

Besides this media report in the matter, a complaint from the Front Line Defenders, an NGO has been received which has been registered by the Commission. The formal letter from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is yet to be received by the Commission.

National Human Rights Commission

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a boy, belonging to Dalit Community in Purulia, was mercilessly beaten till he died, allegedly, by the workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress Party in West Bengal. Later, his body was found hanging by a tree. Reportedly, a Poster was also found affixed on the back of the dead body with a message written in Bangla language- “18 bachhor bayose BJP rajneeti. Ebar bojh” which means, “BJP politics at the age of 18. Now take this.”

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to gross violation of human rights of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal calling for a detailed report in the matter The DGP, West Bengal has been asked to intimate the present status of investigation in the case and the steps taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future. They have been given four weeks to respond.

The Commission also observed that India is a democratic country. Difference of opinion and ideology are obvious in a multi-party democratic political system. Bloodshed in the name of political differences is neither desirable, nor acceptable in a civilized society. Brutal killings of the party workers in such a manner are indicative of deficient law and order situation in the state, which does not allow rival political parties to exercise their political rights. Right to life of the poor Dalit victim has been grossly violated, which is a glaring instance that law enforcing agencies have failed to protect the precious human life.

According to the media report, carried on the 31st May, 2018 that violence continues in Purulia even after the Panchayat elections are over. Several other local BJP leaders have been threatened after the BJP won many seats in the district. The father of the deceased has alleged that his son was killed by the workers of the Trinamool Congress. They had also threatened to kill him on the polling day. The BJP leaders have leveled allegations against the Trinamool Congress party stating that the deceased was killed just because his ideology differed from that of the State sponsored goons.

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National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a 14 year old girl was detained at a police chowki and a police station in Noida for eight days. She was beaten, burnt with cigarettes and electrocuted there. Reportedly, the girl, a domestic help, was detained after her employer accused her of theft.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, indicate cruelty of the police personnel for which the deserve exemplary punishment so that a message could be given that such inhuman acts by a public servant cannot be accepted at any cost. The law does not empower the police personnel to humiliate and harm the innocent citizens. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, calling for detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks. He is also expected to send the report about the steps taken for counselling/ rehabilitation of the victim.

According to the media report carried today on 31st May, 2018, the family members of the victim girl have stated that she was detained by the police on the 14th May, 2018, at Salarpur police Chowki, where she remained till 16th May, 2018. They were not allowed to meet her and she was released on the 16th May, 2018. The police again picked up the girl, the next day and this time her 17 year old brother was also taken into custody. Both of them were finally released in the night of the 22nd May, 2018, following the intervention by an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan and an order from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

Reportedly, the CWC, on the 23rd May, 2018, also ordered a medical examination of the girl. The medico legal case report has revealed discoloured “brown-shaped circular discolorations” near her left and right wrists linking these to burnt marks. The report also mentions abrasions on the right forearm near the elbow and three discoloured abrasions on both wrists. The report specifically clarified that all injuries are more than 10 days old, caused by hard and blunt object.

The SHO of Police Station Sector-39, Noida has, reportedly, denied the allegations of illegal detention and torture. He has also claimed that the girl was not a minor. The MLC however, confirms that the girl is a minor. On a complaint filed by the NGO, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has sought a report from the Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida through Noida District Legal Services Authority. As mentioned in the news report, the girl has alleged that the employer himself came to their house and demanded that she work as their domestic help and when she protested, he took away her on his scooter in front of the neighbours.

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National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has decided to send its own team of officers for making a fact finding inquiry/ investigation into the incident of police firing in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu on the 22nd May, 2018, causing the death of more than 11 protesters demanding closure of Sterlite Copper plant. The Commission has asked its Director General (Investigation) to depute a team headed by an officer not below the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police assisted by three more officers of the rank of Dy. SP and Inspectors from its Investigation Division.

The NHRC team would leave forthwith and examine all the concerned including family members of the victims and independent witnesses as it deems appropriate and submit a report to the Commission within two weeks.

The Commission has given this direction after considering the representation made by Mr. A Rajarajan under W.P. (C) 5779/2018 before the Delhi High Court and the orders of the Court passed on 25th May, 2018, inter alia directing as follows:

¢ According to the petitioner, the respondent/NHRC should consider the representation made by the petitioner and trigger an independent inquiry based on the provisions of Sections 14 & 17 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (in short ‘Act’).

¢ Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and, given the fact that the respondent/NHRC has called for reports, at this stage, the Court is inclined, only, to give liberty to the petitioner to appear before the respondent/NHRC for obtaining suitable directions.

¢ Accordingly, the aforementioned representation filed by the petitioner will be placed before the respondent/ NHRC on the 29th May, 2018, for appropriate directions.

¢ It is made clear that nothing stated hereinabove will impact the merits of the case.

The Commission has observed that its instant direction in the matter is independent of the directions already given by it to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Tamil Nadu, vide its notices issued after taking suo motu cognizance of the incident on the basis of media reports on the 23rd May, 2018. They have been asked to submit detailed reports in the matter along with status of the treatment being provided to the persons who were injured in police firing within two weeks.

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National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media report that a 40 year old Dalit rag picker was beaten to death at Shapar village in Rajkot district on Sunday the 20th May, 2018, allegedly over the issue of collecting scraps in the area. Following a complaint lodged by the victim’s wife, police have registered an offence of murder and other charges against five unidentified persons under the IPC and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victims. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Gujarat calling for a report in the matter within four weeks along with measures taken for relief to the affected families.

According to the media report, carried on 21st May, 2018, the victim, a native of Parnala village of Surendranagar district of Gujarat, along with his wife and an acquaintance was picking rags around a factory in Shapar area. Five unidentified persons from the factory had an altercation with them and all three rag pickers were allegedly beaten up by them. After beating them, the women were sent back while the victim was held by the miscreants. When the women returned with some other persons, they found the victim on the ground. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead. As reported, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of the area has stated that there are wounds on the body of the deceased which could have been caused by blunt objects like sticks. The probe in the matter has been reportedly initiated by the police authorities.

National Human Rights Commission