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]

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, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports of medical apathy towards two expecting women by various government and private hospitals in Gautam Budh Nagar and NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh. Accordingly, 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.

Reportedly, in the incident of Gautam Budh Nagar, an eight-month pregnant woman died when a frantic 13 hour hospital hunt failed to find her a bed. The victim aged 30 years was taken to at least 8 hospitals by her husband including the government run hospitals before she died in the ambulance, just outside a health facility in Greater Noida on 05.06.2020. In the second incident of NOIDA, a 26 year old woman was allegedly refused admission by the NOIDA District Hospital in Sector-30 and as a result she delivered a still born baby on the pavement, outside the hospital. The family of the woman has reportedly alleged that had she got timely treatment, the baby could have survived.

The Commission has observed that contents of the news reports, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights as the state authorities have failed to ensure right to life and medical care to its citizens. It is understood that amid spread of Covid-19 virus, the hospitals are receiving a very large number of patients and there is shortage of infrastructure but denial to attend to the patients by the hospitals is a matter of concern for it.

The Commission would like to know from the State Government whether any Standard Operating Procedure has been issued by it to the hospitals to deal with the current scenario, if yes, all the concerned shall be asked for strict compliance so that lives of the people coming to the hospitals in emergency for treatment of illnesses other than Covid-19, could also be saved.

Apart from this, the Commission has also sent copies of the press clippings to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to look into the matter and to issue specific instructions to all the States and UTs that people coming to the hospitals in emergency for treatment of illness other than Covid-19 are not denied medical treatment and critical support by them.

Reportedly, in the first incident, the victim was undergoing treatment at “Shivalik Hospital” which is a private facility, for the pregnancy related complications but when the family approached the hospital to get her admitted, she was forced to run from one facility to another. The family of the victim requested the ESI Hospital, the Child PGI at Sector-30, Sharda Hospital and Government Institute of Medical Sciences, Greater NOIDA but all the hospitals refused to admit her. They also tried to get admission in many private hospitals including Jaypee, Fortis and Max, Vaishali but all allegedly told that there were no beds available with them. The husband of the deceased has reportedly stated that finally they got admission in the GIMS Hospital where she was put on a ventilator but it was too late. The District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar district has reportedly ordered an enquiry in the matter.

In the second incident, as per media reports, carried today on 08.06.2020, the family had brought the expecting woman to the NOIDA district hospital in an auto-rickshaw. When the hospital denied to attend the patient, they tried to arrange an ambulance but in the meantime, the woman delivered the stillborn girl on the pavement.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 08-06-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about a mother pulling a suitcase with her small child sleeping half hung on it on Agra Highway.

Reportedly, the migrant woman was walking all the way from somewhere in Punjab to Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh till she caught the attention of the media persons.

The Commission has observed that it is aware of the unprecedented situation and that the Central and the State governments are working sincerely to address every issue coming up during the lockdown but it is strange that the pain of the child and the family could be seen and felt by many enroute, except the local authorities. Had the local authorities been vigilant, some relief could immediately be provided to the aggrieved family and others facing the similar hardships.

The incident amounts to violation of human rights and requires intervention by the NHRC.

Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the District Magistrate, Agra, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report within four weeks in the matter including the action taken against the responsible officers/ officials and relief/ assistance provided to the victim families.

The Commission has further observed that several news reports about miseries of people have come to its notice during the lockdown forcing it to intervene in order to sensitize the Central and the State authorities to deal with the situation with an approach of respect to human rights of the public at large, particularly the vulnerable sections of the society. However, media reports suggest continuing sufferings of the people, particularly the migrant labourers, whose journey long, is not coming to a halt.

Referring to yet another reported incident of apathy of public authorities and its suo motu cognizance of the matter wherein a female migrant labourer delivered her baby on road and continued her journey within two hours after that on way to Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra, the Commission observed that such incidents only indicate towards carelessness and inappropriate approach of the local public authorities who do not bother to come forward to see the reality at the ground.


National Human Rights Commission

Press Release dt. 16-05-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra and the District Magistrate, Aurangabad after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports about mowing down of 16 migrant workers by an empty goods train in the early hours today on 08th May, 2020.

The incident happened between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division.

The officers have been directed to submit a detailed report, within four weeks in to the incident. It should also include details of the steps taken by the State and the district authorities to provide food, shelter and other basic amenities to the poor people, especially the migrant labourers, who are facing extreme difficulties from every angle.

The details of the relief and rehabilitation provided to the victim labourers and their dependents along with status of the medical treatment provided to the injured is also required to be given in the report.

The Commission has observed that prima facie, the mishap can be termed as a train accident as normally it is not expected by anyone that some people will be sleeping on the railway tracks.

However, the crucial aspect is that the poor labourers, who were already facing many hardships amid countrywide lockdown, were forced to walk on foot for a very long distance due to non-availability of any mode of transport, lost their lives due to apparent negligence by the district administration. Had some arrangements been made for their shelter or halt during their tiring journey, the painful tragedy could be averted.

The Commission in its recent orders passed in different cases has observed and expressed that there is a need for the government agencies to deal with the situation arising out of country wide lockdown, very sensibly, particularly the people belonging to vulnerable sections of the society. Death of poor migrant labourers in such a painful tragedy is indeed an issue of violation of human rights.

According to the media reports, fourteen labourers died on the spot and two others succumbed to injuries later.

The workers, who were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh, were sleeping on the railway line when the mishap occurred between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division. Reportedly, about 20 workers were walking from Jalna to Bhusawal, which is about 150 kilometers. They stopped after walking for about 45 kilometers to take some rest and fell asleep on the tracks. At around 5:15 AM, a goods train ran over them. The loco pilot, as mentioned in the news report, had noticed some persons along the tracks. He honked and also tried to stop the train but failed to contain the speed before hitting the victims lying on the tracks. An inquiry in the matter has been ordered by the Ministry of Railways.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 08-05-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of violence in Delhi and specifically in North-East District, as reported in the media, and directed its Director General (Investigation) to depute two fact find teams to conduct spot enquiry into allegations of human rights violation due to these incidents.

In order to ensure the safety of its officers in view of the incidents of cross-firing during the violent clashes, the Commission thought it appropriate to send them for enquiry when the situation was little under control. The teams will visit the north east district police control room, affected people and also meet the families of those who lost life in the violence.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 29-02-2020]

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]

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

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the mysterious death of the father of a rape victim who was in custody at a jail in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. The incident was reported to have happened a day after the alleged rape victim tried to immolate herself near the Chief Minister’s residence accusing a BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his aides of gang rape. The girl’s father was in judicial custody after his arrest for a brawl with the MLA’s supporters last week. The daughter of the deceased has, reportedly, alleged that it is only the delinquent MLA who has got her father killed since she was not willing to withdraw the gang rape complaint against him.

The Commission has observed that the allegations, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim family. It has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, including action taken against the delinquent police officials, who refused to register an FIR. The Commission also expects from the DGP, an explanation for not communicating the custodial death to the Commission within 24 hours. All the reports, including health screening report of the deceased at the time of his admission in the jail and medical treatment provided by the jail authorities, are to be sent. They have been given four weeks to respond.

The Commission has also directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh to look into the matter personally and ensure that the aggrieved family is not subjected to further harassment and humiliation by the opponents who appear to be resourceful persons of the locality. He is also directed to monitor and expedite the magisterial inquiry which is underway.

According to the media reports carried today on the 10th April, 2018 some miscreants forcefully entered into the house of the Devender and thrashed him brutally in front of his family members 3rd April, 2018. The family approached the Makhi police station to lodge an FIR against the younger brother of the BJP MLA and his aides. It was mentioned in their complaint that the brother of the MLA led the group and asked his accomplices to attack the family. The FIR has been reportedly lodged but it, allegedly, does not mention the name of the brother of the BJP MLA. On the other hand, the police booked Devender u/s 323, 504, 506 IPC and also added sections of the Arms Act against him. He was arrested and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. The police, as mentioned in the news report, argued that the accused was a listed criminal. After medical examination of Devender he was sent to prison at 7.30 pm on 4th April, 2018. According to the media reports, on 8th April, 2018, in the evening, Devender complained of stomach ache and the next day he died in the hospital at around 3.30 am.

The daughter of the deceased, who has leveled allegation of rape against the MLA and his associates, has, reportedly, stated that since Unnao police had refused to act against the MLA, his brother and accomplices, they were forced to move the Court to get an FIR registered. She has also alleged that the MLA had threatened to get the entire family killed. As per news report, she had met the Chief Minister on 17th August, 2017, to raise her grievance and she was assured help but in spite of that this is what has happened in the end.

According to the media reports, the doctors, who examined the deceased after he spent two days in police custody, noted 19 injury marks. The news report also states that he was taken to hospital only when his condition deteriorated.

National Human Rights Commission