NHRC seeks more teeth

At its foundation day, the commission hopes that its recommendations be taken seriously by the states

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Archana Mishra | October 21, 2016 | New Delhi


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Photo: Arun Kumar

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is waiting for a hearing in the Supreme Court on October 26 as it seeks more powers. Its restricted recommendatory and advisory role could be further enhanced and it could ensure that recommendations are followed by the state governments.

“A matter is pending before the SC, specifically looking into how the recommendations can be seriously taken by the states. I hope that the SC will pass appropriate orders, giving more authority to our recommendations,” said NHRC chairperson HL Dattu while addressing the media on the foundation day of the commission on Friday. 
 
He said that a division bench of the Allahabad High Court in a case has said that if the state governments are not in a state to take the NHRC’s recommendation, they should approach higher judicial authority. Otherwise, the recommendations are required to be accepted. If compensation has been awarded then it has to be given to the kin of the deceased.  
The powers of the NHRC became major issue when the Manipur government refused to pay the compensation in the extra-judicial killing by police and armed forces between 1979 and 2012. 
 
The Supreme Court is now considering whether the NHRC's recommendations are just for the advisory purpose or it is binding in nature. The apex court in an earlier hearing has said that the recommendations must have value especially in those cases where armed forces are involved. 
 
In a press statement, NHRC said, “The onus is on governments in states and centre to ensure that the faith of the people in the NHRC is not shaken even by exception, when some of them choose to ignore its recommendations, not on the merits but merely on the ground that they are not bound under the Protection of Human Rights Act to accept them.”
 
In the specific cases like ‘Hindu exodus’ from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, that  hogged national limelight,  the chairperson said that the commission by its proceedings dated June 10, 2016 directed the investigation division to make on spot inquiry and submit a report to the commission. 
 
“During inquiry, they have recorded the statement of the witnesses, police officials, and district magistrate. The investigation division has submitted its report and asked the principal secretary of the state to give their comment on it. The report has been submitted and it has to be discussed,” said Dattu.
 

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