HRC should be turned into constitutional body: Ex Chief Justice

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Agartala, Feb. 28 (ANI): Retired Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court K. J. Sengupta on Sunday said the Human Rights Commission (HRC) should be turned into a Constitutional body to get better results.

“According to me, the Lokayukta, Human Rights Commission and Lokpal etc should be part of the Constitution. The Panchayat was a statutory bodybefore Article 243 A to Z was introduce. Rural self-government system – Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti, Zila Parishad – are now part of the constitutional provisions. Previously, before, these provisions were introduced, it was a statutory body state wise,” Sengupta said.

“The state can just repeal the Act, whereas it is very difficult to repeal the Constitution. So, the Human Rights Commission should be made part of the Constitution,” he added.

He was speaking at a seminar here on ‘Human Rights in respect of Prisoners and Right to Medical and Health Care’ organised by the Tripura Human Rights Commission in association with the Law Department.

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Justice Sengupta, who at present is the Lokayukta of Sikkim, viewed that until statutory bodies formed under the state government like – Lokayukta, Human Rights Commission and Lokpal are turned into constitutional bodies, they will not yield desired results.

“Under the present setup these bodies can only make recommendation and which doesn’t have any constitutional bindings on the respective state government and hence the state government can reject them and according to their convenience,” he said.

He suggested that instead of formation of various statutory bodies and which does not have any constitutional recognition, the number of judges at various courts and especially in High Courts with one exclusively meant for dealing with human right violation cases may be increased for getting better results.

Justice Senguapta said, “We have setup human rights commission; we have setup Lokayukta and so many of bodies………but as far as human rights is concern I think there should be increase in the number of court or increase in the number of judges. In high court level there should increase in number of judges with one dealing exclusively in human right problems,” he said.

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“I am of the view tribunals should be abolished and there should be increase in the number of state judges. What I mean to say if one judge is kept exclusively for the jurisdictions of human right problem then he can go in to the problem when there is a violation and then and there he can pass an order,” he added.

Only recently the Tripura Government formed HRC after a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice T. S. Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi directed the governments to form it.

The judgment of the apex court said it was a matter of regret that despite the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) strongly and repeatedly recommending setting up of state commissions in Tripura, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland, they have not been set up.

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The Tripura Government expressed that it was keen on the commission but paucity of suitable retired judges had be a stumbling block.

According to rules, the commission chairman has to be a retired Supreme Court judge or retired high court chief justice.

The NHRC of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.

It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”. (ANI)

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