Sunday, January 20, 2008
Haryana Has No Intention To Form Human Rights Commission

January 18, 2006

The Haryana government today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it had no intention to constitute a State Human Rights Commission, while the court has fixed April 5, 2006 as the date fo the final arguments on the issue.

A communication to this effect from the state government was handed over to division bench of the Chief Justice D K Jain and Justice Surya Kant during the resumed hearing on the PILs preferred on the subject by the Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), a Rohtak-based social activist Naresh Kadian and a few others.

While declining to set up a state HR commission as sought by the petitioners, the Haryana government has maintained that a mechanism was in place to deal with the complaints of violations of human rights, if any and as such, it did not feel the necessity to establish a separate authority to entertain and deal with such complaints.

Earlier, during the previous hearing, the court had been informed that the matter was under the consideration of the state government.

In view of the change in the government in the wake of general elections in February last year, the state counsel wanted time to know about the thinking of the leadership, which has now been oncretised into a categorical no to a human rightscommission in Haryana.

However, the bench fixed April for the final arguments on the petitions.



International PFA said...

•On October 10, 2004, a married couple, Sonia and Rampal, were ordered by a khap panchayat of Asanda village in Jhajjar district to dissolve their marriage and treat each other as brother-sister. They were forced to seek protection from Punjab & Haryana High Court as the district police and administration failed to act.

• On February 22, 2006, over 50 Dalit families of Farmana village in Sonepat district were forced to flee their village following an attack by upper-caste villagers.

• And figures compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2005-06 say 288 cases of atrocities against the Dalits took place in Haryana. These include 10 murders, 35 rape cases, and 15 kidnappings.

BUT despite all this, and against pressure from the National Human Rights Commission and rights groups, successive governments in Haryana have refused to set up a state human rights commission.

Earlier this year, Chief Secretary Prem Prashant asserted that “Haryana is a small state and no violation of human rights has been made here.” And on January 18, 2006, the government had told the Punjab & Haryana High Court that it had no intention of setting up a state human rights commission.

The same stand was repeated in November this year during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) asking the high court to direct the government to set up a commission.

This time the government counsel also told the court that an “adequate mechanism” existed for dealing with people’s grievances and, therefore, the government had decided “there is no need to set up a separate state human rights commission.”

The previous government of Om Prakash Chautala, too, had refused to set up such a commission. It is learnt that when Chautala was advised by senior officials to agree to the formation of a rights commission, he said no.

But critical observations from the high court may force the current Congress government to do a rethink. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain has asked the state to “place on record an affidavit as to what is the meaning of adequate mechanism to deal with the grievance of the people.”

The bench observed in its order that “although, it is the domain of the state to say that for certain reasons at a particular stage, it is not in a position to have a state human rights commission, but to say that there is an adequate mechanism available to deal with the grievances of the people under the existing administrative hierarchy is against the spirit of the international treaties and covenants, which stress upon the protection of the human rights.”

It also noted that “in our considered opinion, the mechanism involving the officials and other persons who are associated with the administration of the state, may not provide a sound system for redressal of grievances of citizens of that state.”

Says senior advocate R.L. Batta, who is arguing the matter for the petitioners, “The argument advanced by the Haryana government is ridiculous, to say the least. Tell me, if a state like Haryana doesn’t require a human rights commission, which state does?”

While senior government functionaries refused to say anything, a senior officer who is part of the team handling the matter confirmed that the government was doing a rethink of “all aspects connected with the demand” and a final decision would be taken in a few days.

The hearing resumes in the high court on January 15.

International PFA said...

High Court
Anupam Gupta appointed amicus curiae
Human Rights Panel in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Taking up a petition for setting up a state human rights commission in Haryana, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today appointed advocate Anupam Gupta as amicus curiae in the matter.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, also asked the state counsel to file its affidavit in the mater through the High Court Registry.

Coming down heavily on the state for submitting that it had adequate mechanism to deal with the complaints and grievances related to human rights violation and does not require a state human rights commission, the HC had earlier directed the state to file a detailed affidavit explaining its ‘adequate mechanism’.

The state, in its reply, had initially submitted that the government considered the matter and in view of existing adequate mechanism to deal with the grievances of the people it decided there was no need to set up a separate state human rights commission. The petition was filed by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties.

The Bench had ruled: Although it is the domain of the state to say that for certain reasons at a particular stage it is not in a position to have a state human rights commission, but to say that there is adequate mechanism available to deal with the grievance of people under existing administrative hierarchy is against the spirit of international treaties...which stress up on the protection of human rights.

As to which authority should deal with the grievances with regard to human rights raised by citizen and whether such a mechanism available with the state is adequate or inadequate, it cannot be adjudged by the same authority against whom such grievances are raised and such matters are open to scrutiny of court.

International PFA said...

Chandigarh, January 1
A demand for the constitution of a human rights commission in Haryana found an echo at the launch of a new human rights organisation, the Global Human Rights Council(GHRC) here today.

Various speakers, including the Dean, University Instructions(DUI), Panjab University, Dr Veer Singh, said human rights commission was the need of the hour for the state for the redressal of the people's grievances.

"The people of Haryana are constrained to approach the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, for the redressal of their grievances which takes considerable time and financial burden on the people, particularly the poor people," Mr Arvind Thakur, chairman, said.

Mr Satish Bhardwaj, GHRC general secretary, alleged that the atrocities, tortures, cruelty on the people and highhandedness of the police was on the rise necessitating the setting up of the commission. The non-political body would strive to build a people's movement against the atrocities on the common man and lower sections of society, Mr Bhardwaj added.

The GHRC was committed to the protection of the human rights, fundamental rights and constitutional rights of the people, particularly underprivileged, its patron, Mr Anil Kaushik, said.

Despite having a progressive Constitution, an alert judiciary and active NGOs, more than 60 per cent people were fighting for justice against atrocities by the investigating and government agencies, the delegates highlighted.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr Amar Singh Chahal, chairman for the Lawyers for Human Rights International, Anil Kaushik, chairperson of the All-India Human Rights Watch and Ms Pushpa Salaria, chairperson of the Human Rights Protection Forum.

Meanwhile, it was highlighted that the organisation with offices at Chandigarh and Shimla would collaborate with other organisations, including international bodies, working for the protection of human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various acts of the Government of India.