Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that 3 minors among 7 persons have died in a candle factory fire in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh on 05.07.2020. Reportedly, the factory was operating illegally without adequate paperwork, at an under construction house. It is stated that by the time police, fire officials and the local residents rescued the persons trapped in the building, 7 people were charred to death.

The injured have been admitted to the Subharti Medical College at Meerut and the cause of fire is being investigated by the authorities.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including the action taken against the factory owner and the delinquent officers/ officials, status of the medical treatment being provided to the injured and relief/ rehabilitation provided to the aggrieved, by the State.

It is necessary for the local administration to fix the responsibility of the concerned officer and start departmental/ criminal proceedings against them, immediately to ensure justice to the victims and their families.

Issuing the notice the Commission has observed that it is mentioned in the news report that once a police team had conducted a raid at the alleged illegal factory but no action was taken by them. The factory has been operational for a period of one and a half years hence, it is difficult to believe that the local authorities were not aware of the said illegal unit under their jurisdiction. The incident indicates towards sheer negligent attitude of the civil as well as police authorities due to which several people have lost their lives and many are seriously injured. This is a case of violation of human rights.

According to the media report, the SP, Rural, Ghaziabad has informed that the FIR has been reportedly registered against the factory owner and it is stated that the guilty will be arrested soon. The eyewitnesses have reportedly stated that there were approximately 40 people working in the small building and there was a loud explosion followed by screams when the local people rushed to the spot. It is also stated by the local residents that the police team had once come to raid the particular place but they were perhaps paid off by the factory owner. A police officer posted in Modi Nagar PS has now been placed under suspension as mentioned in the news report. Some workers at the factory reportedly could escape by breaking a wall of the factory, who were working on the other part of the building.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 06-07-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a one year old child, suffering from fever and swollen neck, died as he was not attended by the doctors at the District Hospital Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. After waiting 45 minutes his poor parents were told to take him to the District Hospital, Kanpur for treatment. The poor family, having no money with them was not in a position to take the child to the district hospital and later when the matter came into the notice of some media persons and other officers, the child was admitted in the hospital where he died after sometime.

Looking into the gravity of the reported issue, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including the action taken against the delinquent doctors/ officials of the hospital concerned and status of any relief given to the family of the deceased child by the State Government.

According to the media report, carried on 30th June, 2020, the family of the victim child has reportedly alleged that the doctors refused to treat him and even did not bother to touch the child. The family has alleged that due to sheer negligence by the doctors, the treatment to save the life of the child was not provided in time, which resulted into death of their son. The District Magistrate and the CMO have reportedly denied the allegations stating that the child was brought to the hospital in very serious condition and the doctors had provided necessary medical treatment to the child. Reportedly, a video of a man clinging to the body of his one-year-old son in his arms, his wife sitting at a distance and both crying bitterly, had also emerged from the district hospital of Kannauj on Monday.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights. This is not the first case of alleged negligence and denial of treatment to the patients by doctors in the recent past. It has come across many such complaints and media reports where the patients even in emergency conditions were not provided necessary lifesaving treatment by the doctors, at various government run and private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.

The Commission has already expressed its serious concern over the issue of reckless attitude of the doctors and medical staff towards patients in need during this period of crises when the country is fighting against the pandemic caused by the spread of Covid-19 virus.

The Commission on 08.06.2020, taking suo-motu cognizance of death of a pregnant lady due to alleged denial of treatment by many hospitals in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, had emphasized upon the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the government of Uttar Pradesh to issue suitable directions to all the hospitals to comply with the Standard Operating Procedure and not to deny medical treatment to any of the patients who are being brought to the hospital for medical treatment.

The Commission has once again reiterated that such unfortunate loss of human lives due to denial of medical treatment by the hospitals, is gross violation of right to life and basic medical care and the state, being duty bound to protect the lives of its citizens is responsible for such tragic deaths.

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a journalist was allegedly killed by sand mafias in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh on the 19th June, 2020. Reportedly, the victim Shubham Tripathy was working as a correspondent with a Hindi Daily, Kampu Mail. He had been reporting about illegal sand mining in the district and had apprehended threat to his life from them. Reportedly, his opponents had also lodged a complaint against him with the District Magistrate.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh through its Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police calling for a detailed report in the matter. The State Government has also been directed to get an impartial enquiry into the matter by an independent agency, preferably the State CB CID and to ensure safety of the family of the victim and the witnesses in the matter. The call details and other forensic evidences gathered during inquiry to be preserved as the Commission might call them during consideration of the case. The response is expected, within 4 weeks.

The Commission has observed that the news report has mentioned that in many cases the media persons have been targeted by the anti-social elements and in most of the cases no action against the culprits has been taken by the police authorities.

In the democratic system of Government, the media is considered as its fourth pillar which cannot be allowed to be victimised by the anti social elements in such a cruel manner. It is the duty of the state to provide adequate safety and security to the media persons who in the public interest, keep taking great risks to highlight the illegal activities prevailing in the society. The death of Shubham Tripathy in this case is a matter of concern for the Commission and also an issue involving violation of human rights.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 26-06-2020

Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, India has issued notices to the Government of NCT of Delhi and Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry on a complaint making serious allegations about the difficulties being faced by the general public in Delhi, due to non-availability of beds in the hospitals for the Covid-19 patients and inadequate number of tests leading to a grim state of affairs and mismanagement, resulting in death of a large number of people.

Allegedly, there has been massive delay in conducting the last rites of those died during the pandemic period; tests on the bodies of the symptomatic deceased are also not being conducted violating the WHO and ICMR norms which can be extremely dangerous.

The Commission has observed that the complainant, Mr.Ajay Maken, Ex-President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, has not come up with mere allegations, rather he has made apparent sincere efforts to provide data in support of his complaint, which if true, raise serious issue of inappropriate approach of the government agencies towards the plight of the general public amounting to a serious issue of violation of human rights. The data indicates that there is urgent need for taking effective steps immediately by the government agencies.

Issuing the notices, the Commission added that it would appreciate if both the Government of NCT of Delhi and Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry consider the matter in consultation with each other to ensure a comprehensive report within ten days. In the meantime, the government of NCT of Delhi is expected to increase the number of beds and tests per day, for the COVID patients.

The Commission has further observed that there have been many complaints coming to its notice from across the country relating to the difficulties being faced by the general public in getting timely medical treatment for COVID-19 illness and the national capital has been no exception. Suo-motu cognizance was also taken of such matters including one relating to death of a 32 year old Delhi Police constable, who lost to the deadly virus because he was not admitted in the hospital in time.

The Commission added that it also understands that this is an unprecedented situation for the government agencies, hospitals, doctors as well as patients and their families but the State cannot leave its citizens to die without making the best possible efforts. It is not incorrect to state that the number of Covid patients, in the country are increasing day by day and the recovery rate is above 48% but it is also true that a large number of people have died and the National capital is one of the worst affected cities so far.

According to the complaint, received by the Commission yesterday on 9th June, 2020, the COVID positive and its suspected patients are running from one hospital to another for admission, but the hospitals are turning them back. The chart provided by the complainant indicates that the NCT of Delhi has a robust hospital infrastructure of 57,194 beds. It has a significant presence of Central government Hospitals also but it is painful to see that only 12% of the Delhi Government, 8% of the Central Government institutions and 7% of the Private Hospital beds are presently occupied and are being used to treat COVID patients.

It is further stated that in Delhi around 70% dedicated beds are still lying vacant. While the residents of Delhi are struggling hard to fetch a bed in times of Corona crises, the Delhi government, despite confirming availability of beds is not providing the same to the patients who need them to save their lives. The complainant has insisted that at least 70% of Bed Capacity should be prepared and reserved for COVID patients.

The next issue raised in the complaint is that the Delhi Government has 38 Health Institutions or hospitals in Delhi and out of these hospitals, 33 are not accepting COVID patients. Only 5 hospitals have been designated as COVID Hospitals by the Delhi government and as a result, people of Delhi have to run from pillar to post in search of treatment for Covid-19.

The Complainant has also alleged that adequate number of tests are not being conducted by the Delhi government to detect the Covid 19 patients and the private labs which were earlier authorised to conduct the tests for the Covid patients, have been asked to stop conducting the tests.

It is alleged that as per latest bulletin a total 3700 have been conducted while the figure released on 29th May was 7649. The recovery rate of Delhi as mentioned in the complaint, is one of the lowest in India.

The Complainant has further stated that cremations are taking upto 5-6 days after death and relatives of the deceased have been found struggling to find slots. He has also stated that the government of NCT of Delhi is also violating the WHO and ICMR norms by not conducting tests on the bodies of the symptomatic deceased which can be extremely dangerous and may further strengthen the outspread of the deadly Coronavirus as ignoring symptomatic dead bodies means ignoring those who came in contact with such persons.

The complainant has referred to the recommendations made by Dr Mahesh Verma Committee, estimating a requirement of 42,000 beds by mid-July. It also stated that 20% of the beds in Delhi should be ventilator equipped. Hence, Delhi presently requires 1,700 ventilators, and by mid-July, around 10000 ventilators. As stated, there are only 472 ventilators dedicated for COVID patients in Delhi.

Hence in order to protect the lives of the residents of Delhi, there is extreme need to enhance the number of ventilators, immediately.

Praying for immediate intervention of the Commission in the matter to protect human lives in Delhi, the Complainant has also invited its attention towards another issue that the Delhi Government has tweaked and relaxed the definition of containment zones. On 29th April, when there were just 3439 COVID positive patients, Delhi had 102 containment zones. At a time when Delhi has around 30,000 positive cases, the containment zones are merely 183.

The complainant has expressed his concern that to open up areas affected with virus, is a dangerous practice as it will tremendously increase the outspread of the Corona virus, severely endangering human lives across the National Capital.


NHRC

Press Statement dt. 09-06-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNewsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance media reports that the trains which are ferrying the migrant labourers are not only starting late but are taking many additional days to reach destination.

In one of the reports, it is alleged that many migrant labourers lost life during their journey by train due to longer duration and no arrangements for drinking water and food etc.

Reportedly, 2 persons died in Muzaffarpur and one each in Danapur, Sasaram, Gaya, Begusarai and Jehanabad in Bihar including a 4 year old boy. All of them have reportedly died due to hunger. In another incident, a train reportedly started from Surat district in Gujarat for Siwan in Bihar on 16.05.2020 and reached Bihar on 25.05.2020 i.e. after 9 days.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to gross violations of human rights. The aggrieved families have suffered irrevocable loss. The state has failed to protect the lives of the poor labourers on board the trains.

Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Bihar, Chairman, Railway Board and Union Home Secretary calling for a detailed report in the matter. The Chief Secretaries of the Government of Gujarat and Bihar are expected to specifically inform as to what steps were taken to ensure basic facilities including medical facilities for the migrant labourers who boarded the trains. The response from all the authorities is expected within 4 weeks, positively.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that the Rail network in India is the largest in the world and well equipped with the modern technology, trained staff and other infrastructure. A train getting late due to bad weather etc. for some hours is always considered beyond control of the authorities but trains getting lost during journey, reaching unexpected destinations and taking more than a week to reach its scheduled station is hard to believe and require a thorough investigation into the matter.

It further observed that the poor labourers, who have already suffered a lot in a distant places and are desperate to reach their homes to meet family members. It is a matter of concern for it as they are being subjected to such a treatment by the Railway authorities, which borders around barbarism. The poor labourers cannot be treated in such an inhuman manner just because they are poor and the government has paid for their tickets. Any shortcoming on the part of the government agencies cannot be covered under excuse of unprecedented situation amid countrywide lockdown.

The Commission noted that a large number of people have fallen prey to Covid-19 virus in India and hundreds have lost life so far. The situation is unprecedented leaving the government agencies, scientists and the public at large totally clueless.

Nevertheless, it noted that the complaints are being received from different parts of the country regarding unnecessary harassment of people by the public authorities. It has emerged from the entire scenario that the people belonging to vulnerable classes have suffered the most. Daily wages workers, small shop owners, rickshaw pullers, cab operators and poor labourers have become the worst victims in the recent days. As the lockdown was announced, it was stated by the central government that wherever a person is staying he/she should stay there only so that the social distancing could be maintained and the spread of the virus could be contained up to maximum.

The Commission observed that it is evident that, due to whatsoever reasons, the migrant labourers started feeling uncomfortable and started protesting to reach their native places. It was mandatory on the part of the host state to take care of them and to provide them basic amenities but the things gradually went out of control and the labourers, in large numbers, started moving on their own by different modes of transport and thousands of them chose to walk on foot. Many labourers lost life during their journey on foot and suffered badly. After reviewing the situation, the central government announced that special trains will start from different parts of the country to take the migrant labourers to their native places.

The trains have started operating and the ticket charges are being borne by the central and the state governments but the sufferings of the poor labourers are not seemingly coming to an end. There have been several media reports stating that in many cases, the labourers are being called to board the train. They are brought to the railway stations in buses without maintaining social distancing. They are put to wait for hours without any arrangements of drinking water, food, shaded shelter and toilets for them. The female labourers, old aged persons, ill persons, small children and specially abled persons are reportedly suffering a lot. Many times the poor labourers have been told to go back as the trains got cancelled.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 28-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports that the bodies of Auraiya road accident victims were being carried along with the injured migrant labourers in the same vehicle by the authorities on 16.05.2020. He has been asked to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

The report is expected to be comprehensive, giving the details of the action taken against the delinquent officers and relief/ rehabilitation provided to the victim migrant labourers and their families by the state authorities. The Commission would also like to know about the health status of the injured migrant labourers and status of their medical treatment.

Issuing the notice, the Commission, has also observed that it is indeed unethical and inhuman on the part of the authorities to put the dead bodies in the same vehicle in which the injured migrant labourers were asked to travel.

The injured persons had suffered not only physical injuries but they were also under tremendous trauma of the fatal accident and in that painful condition, they were forced to sit in the same vehicle where the bodies of the deceased were also kept.

The public servants failed to deal with the situation sensibly and acted in a cruel manner violating right to dignity of the poor labourers.

Reportedly, 26 migrant labourers lost life and more than 30 sustained injuries in the fatal accident when two trucks, one coming from Punjab and the other from Rajasthan, collided on the highway in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh.

Later, as the photographs of the truck carrying the dead and the injured in the same truck went viral on social media, the authorities sensing the outrage transferred the dead bodies in the ambulance vehicles at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 23-05-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has received a complaint from Smt. Ram Bai, a resident of Ravidas Camp, R.K. Puram, Delhi through her counsel Dr. A.P. Singh seeking urgent intervention by the Commission in the matter to prevent alleged unlawful execution of her son, Mukesh Kumar who is presently confined at Jail No. 3, Tihar in Delhi in case FIR No. 413/2012 registered at Police Station Vasant Vihar, Delhi. The complainant has stated that all the accused including her son have been falsely implicated in the case and their execution in compliance of the court orders will be a miscarriage of justice. The complainant has stated that her son is also a witness in the case of custodial death of the co-accused Ram Singh who died inside Tihar jail, on 11.03.2013. The complainant has alleged many flaws in the investigation of the case registered in connection with the custodial death of the deceased prisoner, Ram Singh and that no compensation has been given to the NOK of the deceased prisoner.

It is further mentioned by the complainant that legal remedies/cases are pending for disposal before different courts/ constitutional bodies on behalf of the death row convicts, including her son but the authorities are still planning to hang them, on 20.03.2020. The complainant has also stated that due to various kind of viral infections, pollution and other hazards, the life has become very short in Delhi NCR region hence, the death penalty and its execution is not at all justifiable.

The complainant has requested the Commission to stay the execution of the death sentence imposed on the convicts including her son which is fixed for 20.03.2020.

The Commission has carefully examined the contents of the complaint. The son of the complainant is one of the accused in a case Crime No. 413/12 registered at PS Vasant Vihar in which death sentence has been awarded by the competent court and upheld by the Apex court. The case relating to the death of one of the accused in this criminal case, Ram Singh had come before the Commission when an intimation was received from the jail authorities in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Commission directing the authorities to report all the custodial deaths to it within 24 hours of the occurrence.

The case was registered vide No. 1543/30/9/2013-JCD. The matter was taken up by the Investigation Division of the Commission and the requisite reports were obtained from the authorities concerned. A magisterial enquiry was also conducted in the matter. There were some allegations raised by the family members that the deceased prisoner had not committed suicide and he was killed in the judicial custody. The Inquiry Magistrate after examination had held that there was no foul play or negligence in this case of custodial death and the Commission, upon consideration of the reports and the recommendations made by its Investigation Division, had closed the case, on merits. Since, there was no negligence on the part of any of the authorities, no compensation was recommended by the Commission.

Upon perusal, the Commission has not found any substance sufficient for taking cognizance of the matter. The case relating to custodial death of the deceased co-prisoner Ram Singh has been disposed of by the Commission on merits, as explained above. So far as the prayer made by the complainant to stay execution of the death sentence is concerned, it is apparent that the said convict Mukesh Kumar has already approached the appropriate authorities and the authorities have exercised their jurisdiction judiciously. The matter is outside the purview of the Commission. The complaint is, therefore, dismissed in limini.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 17-03-2020

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Samit Gopal, J., directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Director General of Police, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Director General, Central Reserve Police Force, Vice-Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University and the Registrar, Aligarh Muslim University to adhere with the recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

This Court had by an order asked NHRC to conduct an enquiry for alleged human rights violation at Aligarh Muslim University.

In pursuance to the above, an enquiry was conducted by a 6 member team of NHRC.

Following are the recommendations made by the Commission:

a) Directing the Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to provide suitable compensation to the six students who have been grievously injured commensurate with their injuries, on humanitarian grounds.

b) Directing the DGP-Uttar Pradesh to identify the policemen (both district police and PAC), as seen in CCTV footages involved in stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students which has no bearing on the task of controlling law and order. A suitable action may also be taken against them as per rules and provisions that exist for subordinate officers in UP Police. The police force should be sensitized and special training modules be carried out to inculcate professionalism in handling such situations.

c) Similar directions as in point (b) above may also be given to the Director-General, CRPF for RAF. RAF being a specialized force primarily set up to deal with riots and handle law and order situations, should show utmost professionalism in such crisis situations while at the same time, respecting the human rights of civilians also.

d) Directing DGP of UP, to ensure that the SIT set up vide his order dated 06/01/2020 investigates all the related cases on merits and in a time bound manner. The Hon’ble court may also like to set the time limit and periodic review, if any, for the completion of investigations on time.

e) The DGP UP and Senior Officers are also advised to improve and set up a robust intelligence gathering system. Special steps may be taken to counter rumour-mongering and circulation of disorted and false news especially on social media. This is to better control such law and order incidents that occur spontaneously and unexpectedly.

f) To direct the AMU-Vice Chancellor, Registrar and other authorities to establish a mechanism of better communication with the students’ fraternity so that they are not influenced by outsiders and rusticated unruly students. They should take up all confidence-building measures to rebuild the trust of students so that such incidents do not occur in future.”

The petition has been further listed for 25-03-2020. [Mohd. Aman Khan v. Union of India, Criminal Misc. Petition No. 26085 of 2019, decided on 24-02-2020]

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]

Hot Off The PressNews

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

Hot Off The PressNews

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