Plea Seeks Separate HR Bodies For J&K, Ladakh

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New Delhi: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to immediately set up separate Human Rights Commissions for the two Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The plea filed by advocate Asim Sarode said that after abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in 2019, the government divided Jammu & Kashmir into two separate Union territories and reportedly the general administration department has shut down seven State Commissions with effect from October 31, 2019 – Jammu & Kashmir Human Rights Commission (SHRC), State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights (SCPWCR), State Commission for Persons with Disabilities (SCPwD), State Information Commission (SIC), State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC), State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) and State Accountability Commission (SAC).

The petitioner argued that these seven different commissions were dealing with different aspects of rights.

“It is mentioned that upon repeal of the Acts related to these Commissions by the Jammu & Kashmir Re-organisation Act, 2019, sanctions have been accorded to winding up these Commissions. The terms of all office holders of these Commissions also came to an end on October 31, 2019,” said the PIL. According to the Supreme Court website, the matter is likely to come up for hearing on September 24.

The plea contended that the rights have to be exercised in continuity and rights cannot be curtailed abruptly for uncertain time without any due process of law.

“In all these seven Commissions mentioned above wherein cases were pending before passing the order of their dissolution and the people who are seeking justice from these Commissions as well as the other people who might be suffering rights violation are deprived from accessing the justice mechanism,” argued the plea.

The petitioner contended that if the rights of the people from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have not been taken away after abrogation of Section 370, then it becomes the duty of the Centre and its agencies to discharge the Constitutional obligations to protect the citizens and re-establish various commissions where citizens can approach for protecting their rights.

The petitioner cited that 41,866 persons lost their lives in 71,038 incidents of violence, which include 14,038 civilians, 5,292 personnel of security forces and 22,538 militants.

“Even if the figures are considered as true or in the absence of statistics, data or information about how many people are killed in violence, it becomes the duty of the government to set up all required machinery to demand protection of rights and accountability on the part of the government,” said the plea.

The petitioner urged the top court to issue directions to the Centre to set up a separate State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights for Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. Besides the Centre, the petitioner has made National Human Rights Commission and Law Commission as respondents in the matter.

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