NHRC Tells J&K, Ladakh To Intimate It About Custodial, Encounter Deaths

Forces personnel leave encounter site in Srinagar. KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

New Delhi- The NHRC has asked the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to intimate it about any custodial or encounter death, in accordance with guidelines, officials said on Thursday.

In case of custodial deaths, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should be intimated within 24 hours, and within 48 hours of the incident in case of an encounter death, according to its guidelines for all states and Union territories with a view to protect and promote human rights, the panel said in a statement.

In a letter dated June 30 to the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and the commissioner secretary of Ladakh, NHRC Secretary General Jaideep Govind has requested them to pass suitable instructions to those concerned for compliance of all instructions issued by the commission, to send all requisite reports, including the post-mortem, videography and magisterial enquiry reports, in all custodial deaths and encounter deaths, it said.

"He has said that the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was not under a statutory obligation to follow the mandate of the commission by sending intimations, in such cases of deaths in custody or encounter, in view of the protection given in respect of the subjects mentioned in List II of VII Schedule of the Constitution (State subjects) in the PHR Act," the statement said.

But, after an amendment in the PHR Act in 2019, there is no prohibition on the commission in exercising its jurisdiction like in all other states and Union territories, it said.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to follow the guidelines issued by the NHRC, in case of custodial and encounter deaths that have happened within its territory, the statement said.

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