10 months on, SHRC continues to be headless
Investigation Wing Without IGP
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Sep 2: In blatant violation of rules, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has kept the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) headless despite passing of nearly 10 months since its chairperson attained superannuation.
The Commission also is without a separate Inspector General of Police (IGP) to head its investigation wing besides a member—hampering its smooth functioning.
The SHRC chairperson Justice (Retd) Bashir-ud-Din retired in October last year and since then Government has not made any efforts to place a suitable person on the coveted post.
According to the Rule-3 sub-section 4 of the Constitution of the Commission, its chairperson shall be appointed by the Governor by warrant under his hand and seal.
However, the Constitution provides that every appointment under this sub-section shall be made after obtaining the recommendation of a committee comprising the Chief Minister as chairperson, besides speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Chairman of the Legislative Council, Minister incharge of the Home Department in the State, Leaders of opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council as members respectively.
The Constitution provides that no sitting judge of the High Court or sitting district judge shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Judge of the Court.
Sources said the Committee has not even met once in last 10 months to even discuss the issue of selection of the chairperson.
According to sub-section 7 of Rule 3, a member of the Commission can act as Chairperson or discharge his functions in certain circumstances.
“In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the chairperson by reason of his death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor may, by notification, authorize one of the members to act as the chairperson until the appointment of a new Chairperson to fill such vacancy,” reads the sub-section.
The SHRC was constituted in 1997 and is governed by Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act 1997. By virtue of the Act, the Commission can order investigations in cases of human rights violations and recommend measures for effective implementation of laws and safeguards provided by the Constitution to protect the human rights.
The inordinate delay in selection of the Chairperson has put extra load on the Commission’s two members in Srinagar headquarters who have to hear bulk of the cases regarding various human rights violations.
“The Chairperson shall have powers to constitute Bench (s) and distribute business of the Commission to such Bench(s). Members shall sit alone or in such benches as may be constituted from time to time by the chairperson and do such work as may be allotted to them by the Chairperson or under his directions,” reads Rule 15 of the SHRC’s constitution.
The Commission by virtue of the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act- 1997 has been provided with a separate investigation agency for independently undertaking probe into complaints of human rights violation.
In November last year, the Government transferred IGP of the SHRC’s Investigation Wing Gulzar Singh Slathia “without taking SHRC into confidence. Earlier this year, the State Cabinet on April 27 elevated DIG Trainings AQ Manhas as IGP Investigation Wing of SHRC. “However, after he did not join the new posting the State Cabinet on May 31 posted him as IGP Railways leaving the SHRC investigation wing headless. In absence of the IGP, the wing faces problems to undertake investigation in various cases,” an official of the Commission wishing anonymity said.
“SHRC has been fighting for human rights or others, but the Government has denied the Commission of its rights by keeping important posts including of chairperson headless,” he added.
The Commission is presently hearing important cases including of unmarked graves and kidnapping of foreigners. Presently the SHRC has only three members—two in Srinagar and one in Jammu.
Incidentally the SHRC for past six years has been decrying undue interference by the civil and police officials, lack of powers, proper staff and own accommodation saying it hampers the Commission’s functioning and delays justice to the victims of human rights violations.
In 2006, Justice (Retd) Ali Muhammad Mir had resigned as the chairperson of SHRC to protest against the non-implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.
When contacted the Secretary to Government Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, GH Tantray, acknowledged delay in selection of the chairperson but maintained the process for it has been started.
“We are on the job and all the vacant posts in the Commission including of Chairperson will be filled soon,” Tantray said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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