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NHRC issue summons to J&K Chief Secretary on terror victim’s petition

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Srinagar: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued personal summons to the J&K Chief Secretary for appearance next month before the Commission on the terror victim’s petition.

The notice was issued by Assistant Registrar (Law) NHRC, Debindra Kundra, on August 14 on behalf of the Commission.

A complaint was moved in July 2020 by Rajinder Premi, son of Sarwanand Koul Premi, a well-known Kashmiri Pandit writer and poet who was killed along with his son by militants in April 1990 in the NHRC. The complaint was regarding the government’s apathy towards the plight of terrorism-affected families in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir by delaying the implementation of the decision of the Division Bench of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission.

The Commission, while taking up the matter on June 2, 2023, inter alia observed and directed that with regard to enforcement of violations of human rights, there cannot be any uncertainty or infirmity.

“…. In a constitutional democracy, there may be changes in executive government as well as in policy making, but with regard to the enforcement of violations of human rights, there cannot be any uncertainty or infirmity with regard to the implementation and effectuation of the directives of the Human Rights Commission unless such a recommendation or directive of the Commission is called into question under judicial review before the Constitutional Court,” the NHRC said.

“Therefore, as a corollary, since the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission is held to be binding, no officer or employee concerned can resort to any kind of denial of such reliefs granted by the Commission, based on a complaint and after due inquiry by the Commission, unless appropriate legal recourse has been initiated by the authority, under the law, by assailing the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission, before the competent Court of Law under judicial review; otherwise, there cannot be any ground for denial to any citizen in so far as the relief granted by the Human Rights Commission is concerned.’

‘However, it is well within the framework of the PHR Act, 1993, that officers and employees of the state who have been found responsible for causing violations of rights by the Commission are entitled to assail such an order passed by the Commission having regard to the remedy for judicial review provided under the Constitution of India and not otherwise. But in the instant case, it is nobody’s case that any public servant of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir got affected due to a recommendation made by the erstwhile State Human Rights Commission of Jammu & Kashmir in favour of the victim or petitioner,” it added.

The NHRC said the Commission observed that despite these directions and reminders, the state authorities are not responding without any basis.

The Commission observed that despite direction, the Chief Secretary, UT of Jammu and Kashmir, has failed to submit an additional report in light of proceedings dated June 2 of the Commission till date.

Taking a serious view of the same, the Commission directed its Registry to issue summons to the Chief Secretary, UT of Jammu and Kashmir, under Section 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for appearance before the Commission on September 22, at 11 a.m. in its office at New Delhi, along with the requisite additional report in light of proceedings dated June 2 of the Commission in the matter.

“Should however the requisite reports be received on or before September 15, the personal appearance of the aforesaid authority shall be dispensed with,” the notice issued read.

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