16 Years On, SHRC Fails to Establish Offices in Rajouri, Doda

JAMMU: The seriousness of the State government towards human rights could be well gauged from the fact that 16 years after the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act 1997, two sub- offices of the State Human Rights Commission in Chenab Valley are yet to be established. Reports suggest there is no immediate proposal to establish them in any near future.

The fact came to light after Public Information Officer of the Commission in its reply to an RTI activist Raman Sharma revealed that the Commission has time and again agitated the issue regarding establishment of offices in Doda and Rajouri districts. The two districts have been worst hit by turmoil in last two decades with rampant abuse of human rights. 

According RTI application dated 15/Nov/2013 , activist has sought information on 7 points like: “ As per section 3(5) of The Jammu And Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, I997, there should  be sub-offices of the commission at Jammu, Doda and Rajouri . Kindly intimate the postal address of the sub-offices the JKSHRC at Rajouri and Doda and If there is no sub-office of the JKSHRC at Doda and Rajouri , what steps have been taken by the commission in this regard to establish sub-offices at these two places and also provide copy of all the communication letters sent by the JKSHRC to the government for establishing these sub-offices at Doda and Rajouri ”.

While replying to the query, the commission has also tried to water down its failure to establish its sub-offices in Rajouri and Doda districts. The commission in its reply has stated that the commission has established its sub-office near New Rehari, Jammu and the sub-offices at Rajouri and Doda are yet to be established however establishment of sub-offices at Jammu has facilitated the complainants of far flung areas of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Rajouri, Kathua and Udhampur.

The commission also failed to provide copy of any document to substantiate the fact that it had ever requested the government to establish its sub-offices.  On the question of sanctioned and presented posted staff at the SHRC, it has been admitted by the commission that there are 15 vacancies and the total sanctioned strength of the staff members is 88 posts including Police Investigation wing. The commission has so far received 6803 cases since its inception and has decided/disposed 5159 cases till 30/Nov/2013.

Expressing his resentment for not establishing sub-offices even after 16 years of the enactment of the law, information seeker called it a criminal negligence and violation of section 3(5) of the State Human Right Act. He demanded immediate functioning of the sub-offices at far flung areas so that every effected citizen can come forward and report all issued related to Human Rights Violations. It is pertinent to mention here that as per the HR act, there must be 5 members of the State Human Rights Panel but presently there are only 2 members heading the commission. 

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