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by System Administrator - Sunday, 13 December 2015, 11:12 AM

By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: SC raps Rajasthan Govt for not appointing chairman of state human rights panel for 5 years. Keeping vacant chairman post for very long is "very sad state of affairs” and "totally unacceptable” to people of Karnataka..."Justice S R Bannurmath presently heading MSHRC and can be brought back to Karnataka by Government as someone else is available to head MSHRC . He is the third Chairperson of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission, having succeeded Justice Arvind Sawant and Justice Kshitij Vyas. Karnataka .If state government recommend Justice Bannurmath's name to governor and once Governor appoint him he will resign and come back to Karnataka if he is invited by Government of Karnataka.Justice S R Bannurmath Born on 23rd January, 1948 at Dharwad in Karnataka. Enrolled as an advocate in the year 1973. Initially practised on both Civil and Criminal sides in the trial courts at Belgaum. Later shifted practice to Karnataka High Court. Dealt with all types of cases including Constitutional, Civil and Criminal matters. Had been the State Public Prosecutor and Government Advocate for seven years. Sworn-in as Additional Judge of the High Court of Karnataka in 1997 and as permanent Judge on 03-06-1999. Was the Chairman of the Karnataka Judicial Academy, President of the Bangalore Mediation Centre and the Chairman of the Computer Committee. Was Sworn-in as Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala on 18-03-2009.

Supreme Court of India in Shri Dilip K. Basu vs State Of West Bengal & Ors on 24 July, 2015 has stated in its order that "The Commissions are meant to be watch dogs for the protection of the human rights of the citizens and effective instruments for redressal of grievances and grant of relief wherever necessary. Denial of access to the mechanism conceptualised under the Act by reason of non filling up of the vacancies directly affects the rights of the citizens and becomes non functional. It is in that spirit that we deem it fit and proper to direct that all vacancies against the post of Chairperson and Members of the State Human Rights Commission shall be filled up by the concerned State Governments as expeditiously as possible but, in any case, within a period of three months from the date of this order. We only hope and trust that we shall be spared the unpleasant task of initiating action against the defaulting State in case the needful is not done within the time allotted. We also recommend to the State Governments that since the dates on which vacancies are scheduled to occur are known well in advance, (save and except where an incumbent dies in office) the process for appointment of the incumbents against such vacancies should be initiated well in time in future so that no post remains vacant in any State Human Rights Commission for a period or unfilled for any period for more than three months from the date the vacancy arises.”

SC raps Rajasthan Govt for not appointing chairman of state human rights panel for 5 years: The Supreme Court recently slammed the Rajasthan government for not appointing chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, a position lying vacant for the last five years since 2010. The apex court described it as a "very sad state of affairs” and "totally unacceptable”."We are distressed that the state Human Rights Commission has been without the services of the Chairman since 2010 - that is almost five years,” said the apex court social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit."We are distressed to note the state Human Rights Commission has been without the services of the chairperson since 16.7.2010 - that is almost five years. (It is) totally unacceptable and subverts the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993,” the court said in its order.Having chided the Rajasthan government for not appointing the chairman of the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission, the court also took exception to the absence of human rights courts in the state both at the state level and the district level."What do you mean by the right person? All the Chief Justices of the High Court are right persons,” Justice Lokur said as senior counsel Mahavir Singh, appearing for the Rajasthan government, told the court that it could not spot a "right person” to be appointed as the chairman, Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission.The court also noted the "tremendous staff shortage” at the commission, saying that commission members cannot work because they do not get staff."They (commission members) don't get staff. They can't work,” the court said, giving Rajastan three weeks to tell the court the time-frame in which all the deficiencies as pointed out would be "remedied”.

Not appointing chairman or acting chairman has crippling effect on the efficacy of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Headless after Justice S R Nayak demitted the office, the SHRC is functioning with two members and one police officer of the rank of inspector-general of police and two deputy superintendents of police along with a handful of subordinate-level policemen and this is telling on its complaints' disposal rate. Human rights activists have expressed disappointment that the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) had become a headless organisation without a chairperson in the last Two years and six months. "The selection process for a new chairperson should have started long back, before the completion of the previous chairperson's tenure. The governor and the chief minister and law minister should immediately complete the process of appointing a chairperson.”Justice Malimath has reportedly had said, ideally, a person from Karnataka should be appointed the chairperson of the commission. He said a local person would understand human rights violation problems better. Despite having a Commission in place and the United Nations convention to protect human rights, the number of cases of violations was increasing.

Under section 25 (1) of The protection of Human Right Act 1993 as amended up to 2006Member to act as Chairperson or to discharge his functions in certain circumstances(1) In the event of the occurrence of an vacancy in the office Chairperson on reason of his death ,resignation or otherwise ,the Governor may ,by notification ,authorize one of the Members to act as the Chair person 'until the appointment of a new Chairperson to fill such vacancy .Under section 25 (2) of The protection of Human Right Act 1993 as amended up to 2006When the Chair person is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence on leave or otherwise, suchone of the Members as the Governormay, by notification,authorise in hisbehalf shall discharge the functions of the Chairperson until the date on which the Chairperson resumes his duties. The state human right commission consists of following three categories of Members under section 21(2) of The protection of Human Right Act 1993 as amended up to 2006. The State Commission shall, with effect from 'such date as the State Government may by notification specify, 'consist of a chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court; (b) one Member who is ,or has been ,a Judge of a High Court or District Judge in the State with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge; .(c) one Member to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, orpractical experience in ,matters relating to human rights.According to 21(2)of The protection of Human Right Act 1993 the judicial member is second in command and by default he should act as Acting chairman whenever there is vacancy occurs in theChair person 'until the appointment of a new Chairperson to fill such vacancy or resumes his duties from leave.

Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 symbolises the culmination of a long drawn struggle and crusade for protection of human rights in this country as much as elsewhere is the world. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December, 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was a significant step towards formulating and recognizing such rights. It was, then, followed by an International Bill of Rights which was binding on the covenanting parties. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not legally binding and since United Nations had no machinery for its enforcement, the deficiency was removed by the UN General Assembly by adopting in December, 1965 two covenants for the observance of human rights viz. (i) the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and (ii) the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The first covenant formulated legally enforceable rights of the individual while second required the States to implement them by legislation. These covenants came into force in December, 1976 after the requisite number of member States ratified them. Many of the States ratified the Covenants subsequently at the end of 1981. These Covenants thus become legally binding on the ratifying States and since India is a party to the said Covenants, the President of India promulgated the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance, 1993 on 28th September, 1993 to provide for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commissions in the States and Human Rights Courts for better protection of human rights and for matters connected therewith. The ordinance was shortly thereafter replaced by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

Many police officers do not follow the law of arrest and it is human right violation.Supreme Court of India in Shri Dilip K. Basu vs State Of West Bengal & Ors on 24 July, 2015 has stated in its order that "the following requirements to be followed in all cases of arrest or detention till legal provisions are made in that behalf as preventive measures:”.

(1) The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name togs with their designations. The particulars of all such police personnel who handle interrogation of the arrestee must be recorded in a register.

(2) That the police officer carrying out the arrest of the arrestee shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest a such memo shall be attested by atleast one witness who may be either a member of the family of the arrestee or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made. It shall also be counter signed by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest.

(3) A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock-up, shall be entitled to have one friend or relative or other person known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular place, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a friend or a relative of the arrestee.

(4) The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town through the legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.

(5) The person arrested must be made aware of this right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon he is put under arrest or is detained.

(6) An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of he next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names and particulars of the police officials in whose custody the arrestee is.

(7) The arrestee should, where he so requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/her body, must be recorded at that time. The "Inspection Memo" must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee.

(8) The arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by trained doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by Director, Health Services of the concerned Stare or Union Territory. Director, Health Services should prepare such a penal for all Tehsils and Districts as well.

(9) Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the illaqa Magistrate for his record.

(10) The arrestee may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation.

(11) A police control room should be provided at all district and state headquarters, where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the arrestee shall be communicated by the officer causing the arrest, within 12 hours of effecting the arrest and at the police control room it should be displayed on a conspicuous notice board.”