Human Shield Case: Dismayed SHRC to approach High Court

Human Shield Case: Dismayed SHRC to approach High Court

“The Commission can become a petitioner in this case and approach the High Court and say that our recommendation has not been accepted by the government. Let us test the High Court now.”

After the State government turned down the recommendation of the State Human Rights Commission to compensate human shield victim Farooq Dar, the Commission on Wednesday decided to hand over the case to High Court.

A division bench comprising of chairperson SHRC, Bilal Nazki, member Jang Bahadur, Advocate Zaffar Qureshi and Additional Advocate General M M Khan had a discussion over the human shield case and came to a conclusion that the case should be handed over to the High Court.

Bilal Nazki, who seemed dismayed over the government’s approach for not providing them the action taken report and rejecting their recommendations, said, “What order should we pass now. I am duty bound to do something with the report that the government has given us.”

“The Commission can become a petitioner in this case and approach the High Court and say that our recommendation has not been accepted by the government. Let us test the High Court now.”

Zaffar Qureshi, who was defending the case of Farooq Dar, asked the Commission that the government has not mentioned in the report that they have rejected the recommendation. They have given the reply in four points and the Commission needs to write them back.

The government in the report had said that “no allegation as regards violation of human rights of the applicant have been levelled against the state government or its functionary. The state government has discharged its obligation by registering FIR number 378/2017 in the matter at police station and consequently initiating the investigation.” 

Further the report says, “There is no scheme or policy in vogue in the state which could cover the payment of compensation in the matter like present case. And also the Commission is handicapped to go into the conduct of the army.”

Qureshi, while arguing the case, said, “The government doesn’t dispute the jurisdiction of the Commission, what they dispute is that no allegation against government of any human rights violation has been levelled.”

“There point is if the guilt is yet to be established why we would compensate. They have nowhere rejected the compensation what they have said is there is no scheme available. Government doesn’t have the jurisdiction to turn down the recommendation. They have to send the comments and state what action should be taken. The commission should deal with the report sent by the government first and then take action.”

However, Nazki argued, “How is the government giving compensation to people who have been killed by forces. There is scheme under which they are paid the ex-gratia relief.”

The bench unanimously agreed on approaching the High Court. The case will now be heard on April 4.

The government’s refusal to pay compensation to Farooq comes despite the fact that police, CID and Budgam district administration had acknowledged that he had cast his vote on that day.

On April 6, 2017, when the parliamentary by-polls were going on in Srinagar, Farooq was tied to the bonnet of their jeep by Army in Budgam district. Days after the incident chairperson International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Ahsan Untoo filed a petition before the Commission for compensation to Dar. 

On July 10 the commission asked government to provide a compensation of 10 lakh rupees to Dar and in November the government turned down the recommendation.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in recently concluded Assembly session had said that no compensation will be paid to the human shield victim.