NHRC notice to Railway for arresting deaf, mute man #disability #Rights

New Delhi, Dec 3, 2012, PTI:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a report on the arrest of a speech-impaired and dementia-affected man and his subsequent jail for allegedly travelling in ladies compartment of a local train in West Bengal.

Taking cognizance of media reports forwarded to it by a human right activist, NHRC issued the notice to the chairman of Railway Board seeking a reply within four weeks.

The 38-year-old, Biswanath Dutta, who is suffering from mild dementia and impaired speech, was arrested by the Railway Police Force on the November 2 for traveling on RanaghatSealdah ladies’ special in violation of rules.

The RPF didn’t allow him to contact his family through them despite his request.

Custody for 11 days

He was produced before the magistrate who remanded him in judicial custody for 11 days after he failed to pay the fine of Rs 500.

“The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of persons with disability. A notice has been issued to the chairman of Railway Board, New Delhi, calling a report in the matter within four weeks,” a statement from the NHRC said.

It is further alleged that the victim didn’t own a mobile phone. His family tried to find him and even contacted RPF but they allegedly failed to inform them about his arrest.


#India-191 fake encounters in last five years, NHRC tells Supreme Court



By , TNN | Dec 5, 2012, 05.22 AM IST

SC has an explosive situation on its hands as the NHRC informed it that 191 fake encounter killings took place in the country in the last five years.
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, which relentlessly strove to bring to book perpetrators of the fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat, has an explosive situation on its hands as the NationalHuman Rights Commission informed it that 191 fake encounter killings took place in the country in the last five years.

Appalled by the attitude of the Manipur government in responding to over 1,500 alleged fake encounter killings in the militancy affected state in the last three decades, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai had asked during the last hearing, “Is there a war going on within? Is this the attitude and orientation of a state to say that if they are killing my men, we will kill them?”

In response to Manipur’s alleged unaddressed extra-judicial killings, the NHRC in an affidavit said in the last five years, from 2007 to 2012, it had received 1,671 complaints/information regarding fake encounters.

“The commission in the last five years has awarded monetary compensation to the tune of Rs 10.51 crore in 191 cases,” it said in an affidavit. The commission awards compensation in the range of Rs 5-10 lakh to the kin of victims if it comes to the conclusion after inquiry that it was a fake encounter.

The bench headed by Justice Alam had in the past minutely scrutinized Gujarat government’s attempts to put a veil on facts in the Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter killings and had ordered CBI probe into them, resulting in filing of charge-sheet against former minister Amit Shah, in addition to former senior police officials.

The NHRC mirrored the experience of the apex court in dealing with the two Gujarat fake encounters. “The only handicap is that in all the cases, respective state governments invariably take more than reasonable time to submit magisterial enquiry report, post-mortem report, inquest report and the ballistic expert report,” it said.

“Due to this delay on the part of the state governments in complying with mandatory requirements, the delay occurs in all the matters, as for want of these reports even the commission cannot draw any conclusion and cannot take any view in the matter as to whether the death took place in a genuine encounter or it was a fake encounter,” the human rights body said in its affidavit.

NGOs ‘Extra-Judicial Execution Victims Families Association of Manipur’ through Neena N and ‘Human Rights Alert’ through Babloo Loitongbam had requested the court to set up a Special Investigation Team to inquire into the extra-judicial killings in the state. Another petition by Suresh Singh through advocate S Biswajeet Meitei alleged that continuance of AFSPA had led to a spurt in extra-judicial killings and sought its withdrawal from Manipur.

The NHRC gave its response to the 71 cases of alleged fake encounter complaints it had dealt with relating to Manipur of which only three have been closed. In one case – killing of Thanjam Manorama Chanu on July 12, 2004 – the commission had recently recommended payment of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the victim but the defence ministry is yet to comply with it.

Though the commission’s guidelines require states to complete mandatory inquiry reports within three months, many cases of alleged extra-judicial killings reported from Manipur have been pending with the NHRC since 2007 as the state has not provided the key investigation reports. Of the 68 pending cases, five incidents dated back to 2007, 17 to 2008 and 19 to 2009, the NHRC said.

To enable it to deal with such cases expeditiously, NHRC said, “It would be appropriate if the Supreme Court directs all the states to strictly comply with the guidelines/recommendation issued by the commission without fail, both in letter and spirit.”


Are we in a state of war, asks SC

Are we in a state of war, asks SC

IMPHAL, November 23 , Agencies : The Supreme Court today came down heavily on Manipur government with regard to the case of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.

The case was heard in the Supreme Court of India for the third time today, 23 November 2012 and it was greatly disturbed by the attitude and orientation of the affidavit filed by the Government of Manipur.

The apex court asked the Manipur government counsel “How a State Government could file an affidavit stating that they are killing “us” and so we are killing “them”. Are we in a state of war?”

Referring to section asking the National Human Rights Commission to respond to the cases taken up by them, the Court wanted to know “Are you making the National Human Rights Commission an alibi to all the killings”?

The Court took the matter seriously and asked the Additional Solicitor General of India to be present in the Court. The matter was passed over.

Later in the day, in the presence of the Additional Solicitor General, the court ordered the Central Government and the National Human Rights Commission to file their affidavit by 2 December and fixed 4 December as date of the next hearing.

The Supreme Court had earlier on November 5 rapped the Manipur Government for not filing its report on alleged extra- judicial killings in the state, saying “people are dying out there”.

A bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam directed the government to file its response within two weeks and also asked the Attorney General to assist it in deciding the case.

“Do it quickly. People are dying out there. File your report by November 19,” the bench said when the counsel appearing for the state sought six weeks time to file the response.

The apex court had on October 1 expressed concern over spate of alleged extra-judicial killings in the state and issued notices to the Centre and the state government on a plea for an independent probe into around 1,500 such cases.

The court’s order came on public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Extra-judicial Executions Victim Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM), an association of the families of the alleged victims, pleading with the apex court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases.

The association said over 2000 odd extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state but no one has been held guilty till date.

The petitioner alleged innocent people with no criminal records have been killed by the security forces and no proper investigation has been done in such cases.

“Not only were there no criminal investigations and prosecutions of the guilty, even departmental enquiries were not conducted and no policemen or personnel of the security forces punished departmentally for their actions.

“The magisterial enquiries that took place sometimes were conducted by the executive magistrates under the cover of secrecy and most often without intimation to the eyewitnesses and the members of the families. They were conducted as eyewash,” the petition said.

x court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases.

The association said over 2000 odd extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state but no one has been held guilty till date.

The petitioner alleged innocent people with no criminal records have been killed by the security forces and no proper investigation has been done in such cases.

“Not only were there no criminal investigations and prosecutions of the guilty, even departmental enquiries were not conducted and no policemen or personnel of the security forces punished departmentally for their actions.

“The magisterial enquiries that took place sometimes were conducted by the executive magistrates under the cover of secrecy and most often without intimation to the eyewitnesses and the members of the families. They were conducted as eyewash,” the petition said.


NHRC public hearing on problems faced by Scheduled Castes- Nov 29-30 #Pune


Last Updated: Sunday, September 09, 2012, 11:11
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will hold a two-day public hearing in Pune to deal with various issues relating to atrocities and problems faced by Scheduled Castes.

The public hearing, to be held on November 29 and 30, will be followed by a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Secretary, DGP and senior civil and police officers on December 01, an NHRC official said.

Schedule Caste community members, who have a complaint of atrocity committed by a public servant or of negligence by a public servant in prevention of atrocity, can send their complaints to the Commission by October 07.

Such complaints as are deemed fit for enquiry shall be taken up at the public hearing, the official said.

The NHRC has decided to hold open hearings to reach out to Dalits and address their grievances about violations of their rights by public authorities as part of the recommendations given by KB Saxena in his report commissioned by the NHRC on the continuing problems faced by SCs.



Police atrocities on dalits: High court issues suo motu notice to Gujarat #Narendramodi

TNN | Aug 10, 2012, 03.55AM IST

 the state home secretary and Rajkot police commissioner to explain the alleged police atrocities on dalit women and children.

A bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharyaand Justice J B Pardiwala took suo motu cognizance of the issue on basis of a letter from the president of Gujarat Dalit Sangathan, Jayanti Mankadia. The bench sought a reply from the concerned officials in two weeks.

In his letter, Mankadia sought action against the policemen under the Prevention of Atrocity Act for the alleged police action in Rajkot on June 25. He also demanded protection for the victims, who were allegedly tortured by the cops. The applicant has also sought a probe by the National Human Rights Commission.

According to case details, there were clashes between two members of the dalit community and Muslims in Rajkot in June, where primary school teacher and dalit leader Gunavant Rathod was killed. The residents of Ambedkarnagar took out a procession on June 25 to protest the killing. “Immediately after the rally, police forcefully entered residences in Ambedkarnagar and assaulted people, including women and children,” Mankadia alleged.

Rupa Sondarva (16) sustained spinal injuries and is now facing disability for life, he said in the letter adding, “Residents are not only facing multiple FIRs but also fearing retribution from the police and they need protection.” The HC, which decided to treat the letter as a writ petition, appointed advocate Shalin Mehta as amicus curiae to assist in the proceedings. The state government has been maintaining, on the other hand, that the police had to lob teargas shells to disperse the mob, as it blocked the road during the protest. When it did not work, cops took to caning which resulted in injuries to various persons. However, the complaint is to the cont

NHRC yet to act on a petition on the re-arrest of civil rights activist #IromSharmila.


NHRC yet to act on Sharmila’s re-arrest

By Express News Service – NEW DELHI


03rd August 2012 10:18 AM

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is yet to act over a petition highlighting the re-arrest of civil rights activist Irom Sharmila.

A petition to sort out the cause for which she has been protesting in a Gandhian way was moved before the NHRC in April. Sharmila, who has been on an indefinite fast for the past 11 years, was re-arrested on March 12 this year, only a day after she was released on the charge of attempt to suicide. Under Section 309 of the IPC, the maximum punishment for trying to commit suicide is one year. Therefore, she is released once every year, only to be re-arrested for continuing the fast.

The civil rights activist, who turned 40 this year, was arrested, released and re-arrested for fasting for the past 11 years. She is being nasal fed forcibly at the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, the petitioner alleged.

Sharmila is demanding repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The petitioner contended: “There are many people in this country who have been fasting, but are neither force fed nor arrested. Why such a discrimination against this lady from Manipur? She has been arrested illegally.”


Seema Azad Yearns For Freedom

Human rights activist Seema Azad and her husband are in jail on dubious charges. On 8th February 2010, Seema Azad and her husband were arrested by the Allahabad Special Task Force, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for their alleged links with Maoist organizations. The only evidence provided was a book carried by Seema Azad containing information on Maoist politics. From then, they have been detained in custody, and have been refused bail.

Seema Azad is a grassroots journalist and civil liberty activist. She has relentlessly raised her voice against local scams and injustices, denouncing the working condition of mining workers, exposing the practices of the local mafia and its nexus with the police force. She created a bi-monthly magazine — Dastak — as a platform to publicize all the wrongs around her. It is clear to human rights activists that Seema Azad and her husband have been jailed for political reasons. Campaigns have been launched to support her and to put an end to her unfair detention.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), of which she is an active member, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission to plead for her release and to expose the iniquity of her treatment. Till date, Seema Azad has seen no improvement in her situation. Ajeet Bahadur hopes that his video will mobilize people all over the country to support Seema Azad, and other activists, jailed because of their fight for political and social justice.

Uttar Pradesh: Court Says No Proof to Detain Seema Azad

The Uttar Pradesh Police received a setback on Saturday when they failed to submit any evidence in court against Seema Azad, the state secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL) and her husband Vishwavijay Azad.

The Special Task Force had arrested Seema and Vishwavijay on February 8 in Allahabad. They were booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged links with a banned Maoist organisation.

Judicial Magistrate Vikas Kumar rejected the application of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) seeking a week’s remand for Seema and Vishwavijay. Dismissing the application, the judged observed that the police have not come up with any concrete evidence against them. “There was no need to accept the request for police remand of the accused and the police did not mention any concrete ground for the remand,” the court observed.

Lalji Kaithwas, Seema’s advocate, argued that the ATS did not even record the statement of the accused before seeking their remand. “The police cannot seek remand without recording the statement of the accused. Remand is taken only after the police are convinced during the recording of statement that they can get evidence or make recovery in support of their claim against the accused,” he added.

Citing a Supreme Court judgment, the judge observed: “How could the ATS know that they could get some more information without recording the statement of the accused? The permission for police remand for mere interrogation of the accused cannot be granted as the police can interrogate the accused even in jail. When there is no claim of any recovery by the police, there is no need for granting police remand.”

On Monday, a local court will hear Seema and her husband’s bail application. On February 8, the STF had arrested three alleged Naxalites from Allahabad and Gorakhpur. While Seema and Vishwavijay were arrested from Allahabad, Asha alias Heerman Munda was arrested from Gorkhapur.

(Indian Express, 22nd February, 201o)

CSR: NHRC mulls ‘code of ethics’ for corporates

NHRC logo

NHRC logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wed May 2, 2012 4:09 am (PDT)

New Delhi: Controversies over land acquisition and labour unrest involving big businesses have prompted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to come up with a “code of ethics” for corporates.A draft report in this respect has been submitted to the NHRC by New Delhi-based Institute of Corporate Sustainability Management (ICSM) Trust and has been perused by the Commission.

NHRC had commissioned a study — ‘Developing Code of Ethics for Indian Industries’ — with the objective of bringing into effect a similar a code of ethics for corporates by drawing from international norms.

For the study, data was collected from ten sectors – steel, power, mines, cement, paper, FMCG, sugar, banking and MFI, textile and pharma.

“We had a sitting on the draft report. It talks about what corporate bodies have to do in ensuring human rights, their obligations of corporates to maintain human rights and their attitude towards employees besides other issues,” NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan said.

He said NHRC was looking at a scenario where the state will watch the performance of the corporate bodies and ensure that human rights values are observed by these bodies.

“There should be accessibility for common man to redress their grievances. So the state should provide this accessibility. So if there is a human rights violation, a single citizen may not be in a position to fight against the corporates. So should give the facility and accessibility by court or other fora,” he said.

Balakrishnan noted that the issues with corporates was not an India-specific problem.

Govt finally tables NHRC report on post-Godhra riots

Express news service : Gandhinagar, March 31

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had written a detailed letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee stating how reputations of the institutions of governance and justice were at stake if victims of the 2002 riots failed to get justice. It also pointed out how the state government failed to protect human rights of its people and to provide justice to those whose rights had been violated.

The report was tabled in the state Assembly on Friday after a Gujarat High Court order to make public the report of 2002-03, which contains a chapter on post-Godhra riots.

A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala had said in the order, “Such grave lapse (in tabling the report) on the part of the state government amounts to clear violation of Section 20 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.”

In chapter three of its report, the Commission observed, “It is a matter of some regret to the Commission that the principal recommendations and observations made by it in those proceedings, received an inadequate response from the Government of Gujarat. In consequence, it came as no surprise to the Commission that many of the grave misgivings that it expressed in those proceedings subsequently proved to be well-founded. Sadly, therefore, the initial failure to protect human rights was compounded by the failure – at least thus far – to provide justice to those whose rights had been violated.”

The letter by the NHRC’s then chairman justice JS Verma to Vajpayee, said, “With great respect, that if our country should fall short in rendering justice, promptly and effectively, to the victims, their families, dependents and other persons or groups connected with the victims, a serious travesty of the law will occur with potentially grave consequences, not only to those immediately affected, but to the reputation of our country and its institutions of governance, including the judiciary and the National Human Rights Commission.”

The NHRC had also critisied Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s move to organise Gaurav Yatra in the aftermath of the riots. It had suggested postponement of the programme.

The Commission had concluded by observing that it remained “fundamentally important, in such circumstances, that those responsible for the promotion of communal harmony and the maintenance of law and order — whether in the political or administrative leadership — should discharge their duties in the present and future in accordance with the Constitution and the relevant statutory provisions, or be answerable for such acts of omission or commission that result in the violation of the law and the rights to life, liberty, equality and dignity of their fellow human beings.”

The Commission had passed general legal actions and recommendations at that time for reinstating human rights of the riot-affected people.

Drug trials : Madhya Pradesh chief secretary fails to report to NHRC

 Feb1, 2012, Asish Gaur TOI

INDORE : The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)’s order to the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary to report to it the details of the controversial human drug trials in Indore, has run into a procedural wall.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a TOI report on drug trials conducted on 233 patients of the government-run mental hospital attached to the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College in Indore, the NHRC had asked the chief secretary to furnish the details by last Tuesday. But the latter has not obliged, maintaining that the laws allow the concerned doctors to keep all details of the trials confidential.

Forty two of these patients were given Dapoxetine, a drug to cure premature ejaculation. However, an earlier report of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had said they were not mentally ill, but were seeking psychiatric help for premature ejaculation.

Among other points. the NHRC had also specifically asked the MP chief secretary to report if the doctors had followed Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, while conducting the trials on the basis of approval obtained from independent ethics committees attached to private hospitals _ bypassing the medical college’s own institutional ethics committee.

The chief secretary, Avni Vaishya, told TOI that he was not in a position to submit the report.”The doctors have kept the trial documents under wraps. The details are confidential according to the laws for the conduct of clinical trials. Only central regulatory bodies such as the DCGI or MCI can investigate the matter,” he said.

The NHRC, however, has decided to press the issue. NHRC spokesperson Jaimini Kumar Srivastava said the commission will write to the chief secretary again. “We have not received any communication from the chief secretary as of now. The time allowed to submit report has lapsed. We are going to write again asking to submit the report at the earliest.”


NEW DELHI : Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked an explanation from the Madhya Pradesh government on the malpractices surrounding the recent clinical trials conducted in Indore.

“Irregularities were found in the clinical trials conducted there and the state government needs to explain what action has been taken against the doctors involved,” he said.

The drug controller general of India (DCGI) had recently issued a stern show cause notice to five doctors of Indore’s Mahatma Gandhi Medical College for not following good clinical trials (GCT) norms, while conducting clinical trials on 241 patients visiting the College’s psychiatry ward.

Notices had also been sent to three companies – Cadilla, Mcure and Intas – to explain the deficiencies at the earliest.

The DCGI has threatened blacklisting of the doctors from all other trials they are involved in if they fail to reply at the earliest. Two hundred and forty one patients in Indore were subjected to clinical trials to check the efficacy of various drugs, including 42 for Dapoxetine, a drug used to cure premature ejaculation.

An independent team of investigators sent by the DCGI submitted its report to the health ministry recently.

The report has cleared the investigators of carrying out the trial on “mentally ill” patients. The investigating team however took serious cognizance to the fact that investigators did not posses with them the original informed consent forms.

The forms were taken away by the sponsors of the trial, “which is a serious offence”.

A ministry official said, “Most of the patients were suffering from erectile dysfunctions and were being treated by psychiatrists from that medical college. That is why they were visiting the psychiatric ward and not because they were suffering from any mental illness.”

“However, show cause notices have been served on the doctors for the serious administrative lapses and deviation from GCT guidelines while carrying out the trial,” the official added.

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