HC to Govt: Constitute SHRC in 4 Weeks

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Chairperson SAC to be appointed on Sep 17

SRINAGAR: In a significant development, the High Court Tuesday directed the state government to constitute the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) within a  four week period.

Ruling on a petition filed by a Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Forum through its Council M.M. Shuja to constitute SHRC, the division bench of the High Court comprising chief Justice Kuamr Vassannta Patil and Justice Hasnain Masoodi on Tuesday directed the state government to constitute SHRC with a period of four weeks. 

During the course of arguments by Nadeem Qadri, the counsel for the petitioner,  Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal informed the court that the community consisting of Chief Minister, Speaker, Chairman Legislative Council, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and Legislative Council are scheduled to meet on September 17, 2015 to finalize the name of the Chairman State Accountability Commission which will be immediately followed by the process for constitution of State Human Rights Commission.

Iqbal also placed on record a written communication on this behalf. In his submitted communiqué to the court, Iqbal said that, “since the government was facing difficulties in appointment of Chairperson and Members of the SHRC in view of non-availability of eligible persons, therefore, the State Legislature amended the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997 vide Act no. V of 2015 providing that in case there is no leader of opposition in the legislative assembly or council, the leader of single largest party in the opposition to the government shall be deemed to be member of the committee. The communiqué further states that a person appointed as chairperson or a member shall hold office for a term of five years or until he attains the age of 75 years, whichever is earlier.

The petitioner has observed that right from October 25, 2011 till date no formal 

chairperson was appointed by the government and a few senior members were designated as acting chairpersons including Habibullah Bhat (Member) 1-12-2007 to 24-10-2008 and Rafiq Fida (Acting Chairperson) 10-02-2014 to 28-06-2014. The petitioner has informed court that the Governments in succession have exhibited complete non-seriousness in constituting State Human Rights Commission right from the date when Justice Syed Bashir Ud-Din laid down the robes of the office as chairperson of the commission.

“The non-seriousness of the respondent state touched the ultimate height on 28-06-2014 when even the acting chairperson Rafiq Fida and his associate member Amlok Singh relinquished their respective offices upon completion of their tenure of office” reads the PIL.

The petitioner maintained that right from 29-06-2014 till date, the commission has completely become non functional as the respondent state has neither appointed any chairperson nor any member of the commission for the discharge of their constitutional and statutory functions. In print media time and again, grievances have been voiced for the constitution of the commission but till date no step appear have to be taken.

As per the petitioner, 1983 cases were pending disposal as on 28-06-2014 when the last two members of the commission relinquished their offices from

29-06-2014. Till date 207 more cases appears to have been instituted in the non functional office the commission .The office of the commission among others include the secretary with supporting staff, one inspector General of police, one superintendent of police with several deputy superintendents of police along with inspectors who under the provisions of the act cannot perform any function and they cannot deal with even the preliminaries of fresh cases.  Their presence in the office of the commission is sheer wastage of state exchequer without any function to perform

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