Jurisprudence Resources

India: Interventions by India’s NHRIs during February 2019

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the State Human Rights Commissions (SHRCs) are mandated to address human rights violations and continue to intervene in cases of torture. As per latest data available, the National Human Rights Commission registered a total of 8,823 fresh cases while it disposed off a total of 10,541 cases (Fresh + Old) during January 2019. A total of 20,421 cases (Fresh + Old) were under consideration of the commission as on 14 February 2019. Of the total cases, nine relates to death in police custody and 201 relates to deaths in judicial custody.[1]

In January 2019, the NHRC has awarded a total of Rs 1,22,15,000 in 62 cases of human rights violations, including 18 cases of deaths in judicial custody, two cases of deaths in police custody; two cases of police torture, five cases of failure in taking lawful action, two cases of abuse of power, one case of illegal arrest, among others.[2]

Some of the emblematic cases of interventions during February 2019 are given below.

Case 1: NHRC issues notice to the Union Ministries of Home and Human Resource Development over reported ill-treatment of Kashmiri people and students in different parts of the country post Pulwama terror attack

On 21 February 2019, the NHRC took suo motu cognizance of media reports regarding attack on Kashmiri people, including students studying in various institutes at different places in the country in the aftermath of terrorist attack in Pulwama on a CRPF convoy. The Commission observed that the media reports on the incidents raise serious issue of violation of human rights. Therefore, the NHRC issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development calling for reports in two weeks. Notices have also been issued to the Chief Secretaries of the Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal as well as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi calling for their reports on the incidents reported in the news papers within four weeks time.[3]

Case 2: NHRC condemns killing of a Pakistani prisoner by fellow inmates in Jaipur Central Jail

The NHRC took suo motu cognizance of media reports that a Pakistani national, serving life sentence in the Jaipur Central Jail, Rajasthan, was killed on 20 February 2019 in a brawl with four inmates allegedly over the volume of a television programme. The NHRC described the incident as inhuman and has called for stringent action against the miscreants to ensure that Right to Life of the prisoners are not violated while they are in judicial custody. Accordingly, the Commission issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons), Rajasthan calling for reports within four weeks. The Commission also held that the authorities are expected to take immediate precautionary measures in the jails, where Pakistani nationals are lodged in the wake of prevailing atmosphere. It also directed its Registry to send a copy of the proceeding in this matter to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and UTs across the country for strict compliance and taking necessary action in their respective States.[4]

Case 3: NHRC awards compensation in tortured to death of Neelam Ahirwar, Madhya Pradesh

On 30 September 2017, a Dalit identified as Neelam Ahirwar (40) was tortured to death for lodging a police complaint against the accused upper caste persons under Mahukhan village of Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. The deceased had filed a police complaint on 25 September 2017 against four upper caste people namely, Deenbandhu Sharma, Mithun Sharma, Dharmendra Sharma and Anurag Sharma, all residents of Mahukhan village of Guna district, for hurling caste slurs and profanities at him, as also for intimidating him on 18 September 2017. Based on his complaint, a case was registered against the four accused under IPC Sections 323, 294, 506 and 34, and sections of SC/ST Act. On 30 September 2017, several upper caste men including the four accused persons arrived at the house of the deceased and beat up the deceased with rods leading to his death. The Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint to the NHRC on 4 October 2017 seeking urgent interventions of the NHRC into the matter. As per the Commission’s direction, a report dated 28.12.2017 was submitted by the Superintendant of Police District-Guna, Madhya Pradesh stating that a case was registered against the accused persons under sections 302/294/452/147/148/149 IPC r/w section 3(2)(v) and v(a) SC & ST (POA) Act.  On 12 November 2018, the Commission had directed the Collector and District Magistrate, Guna to submit a report regarding payment of monetary relief under provisions of SC/ST (PoA) Act and Rules. Pursuant to directions of the Commission, a communication dated 22 September 2018 was received from the Collector & District Magistrate, Guna along with a report dated 24 August 2018 submitted by SDPO, District Guna in which it was stated that the required monetary compensation has been paid to the next of kin of the deceased.  Since the requisite monetary compensation has been paid by the authorities, the Commission has on 27.01.2019 held that there is no need of further intervention by the Commission, and accordingly disposed off the case.[5]

Case 4: NHRC summons Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh in custodial death of Pintu Chakma

On 15 February 2019, the National Human Rights Commission issued conditional summons to Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh and other concerned officers to appear before it on 10 April 2019 for the failure to submit compliance reports in the custodial death of Pintu Chakma. In its order, the NHRC stated that despite sufficient time and opportunity having been given, the requisite reports have not been received. The NHRC had recommended Rs. 200,000 compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.[6]

Pintu Chakma (26), husband of Ananda Sabha Chakma of Dumpani village under Diyun Circle in Changlang district, was arrested along with four others by police from Dumpathar village in connection with Case FIR No. 18/2004 u/s 27(1) NDPS Act registered at Diyun police station in April 2014. The four other accused were released on bail within few days, but Pintu Chakma was denied bail. He remained in police custody for seven days at the lock-up of Diyun police station. In May 2014, he was sent to judicial custody but still lodged at the lock-up of the police station until his death under mysterious circumstances on 16 October 2014.[7]

Case 5: Meghalaya SHRC directs Director General of Police to investigate torture of a musician

On 12 February 2019, the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC) directed the State police to probe into the alleged case of human rights violation of Manavon Massar, a musician who was tortured by former East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Bashan J Laloo in Shillong in East Khasi Hills district. In its order, the MHRC directed the Director General of Police, Meghalaya, to start an enquiry into the allegation made by the complainant Manavon Massar by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) and submit the detailed report within 30 days.[8] The victim alleged that he was brutally beaten up by Bashan J Laloo for violation of traffic rules on 19 December 2018. He had sustained injuries including a fractured finger and bruised leg. According to the victim, he was taken to Laitumkhrah police station where he was again allegedly tortured.[9]

Case 6: TNSHRC directs State Government to pay compensation to custodial torture victim

On 11 February 2019, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) of Tamil Nadu recommended the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to M Velan, five years after he was allegedly harassed by the then Inspector of Ambattur police station in Chennai. In his petition to SHRC, M Velan, a driver by profession and a resident of Om Shakthi Nagar, Ambattur submitted that George Millar, then Inspector of Police, Ambattur Police Station registered a criminal case against him and lodged him in jail in an alleged land grabbing case filed by one Santha, an advocate. He also stated that George Millar had pulled him by his shirt to the station on the pretext of calling for an enquiry over the land grabbing case in the wee hours of 5 November 2013. Based on the oral and documentary evidence presented, the SHRC stated that the harassment by the police violated the human rights of M Velan.  The SHRC also recommended disciplinary action against the accused official.[10]

Case 7: JKSHRC investigation confirms death of Mohammad Ramzan due to torture during illegal detention

In February 2019, Jammu & Kashmir State Human Rights Commission ruled that 20-year-old Mohammad Ramzan Lone, son of Abdul Gaffar, died due to custodial torture by police at police post Khadi during his illegal confinement. This was revealed following an investigation conducted by the SHRC. On 16 May 2014, two children aged six and five years respectively, sneaked into Lone’s home in Aramdaka Mangit village of Banihal and ate a pot of ghee. Later, Lone found the children lying unconscious inside his home. The children were soon rushed to the hospital after their families were informed by Lone. However, police summoned Lone and his father for questioning after receiving a complaint. At the police post, Lone was beaten and kicked in the stomach by constable Waheed Ahmad as a result of which, his head collided against the wall and for some time he lost his consciousness. Subsequently, sub-inspector Mohammad Younis directed his staff to take Lone to a separate room until his condition improved, where he was kept for six days despite his health condition not well. The SHRC investigation further revealed that Lone was beaten ruthlessly and after his health apparently deteriorated, he was denied any medical help. Although, Lone was later released, his condition deteriorated and died during treatment. However, police instead of registering an FIR into Lone’s death initiated inquest proceedings under 174 CrPC (mysterious death) into the incident.[11]


Endnotes:

[1]. Monthly Salient Statistics of Cases registered/disposed by NHRC during January 2019, National Human Rights Commission, data as on 14.02.2019, http://nhrc.nic.in/sites/default/files/Monthly_Salient_Statistics_2019_01_0.pdf

[2]. Monthly Salient Statistics of Cases registered/disposed by NHRC during January 2019, National Human Rights Commission, data as on 14.02.2019, http://nhrc.nic.in/sites/default/files/Monthly_Salient_Statistics_2019_01_0.pdf

[3]. NHRC notice to the Union Ministries of Home and Human Resource Development over reported ill-treatment of Kashmiri people and students in different parts of the country post Pulwama terror attack, NHRC Press Release, 21 february 2019, available at http://nhrc.nic.in/media/press-release/nhrc-notice-union-ministries-home-and-human-resource-development-over-reported

[4]. NHRC condemns killing of a Pakistani prisoner by fellow inmates in Jaipur Central Jail; issues notice to the Government of Rajasthan and also asks all the States and UTs to take precautionary measures in all jails where Pakistani nationals are lodged, NHRC Press Release, 21 February 2019, http://nhrc.nic.in/media/press-release/nhrc-condemns-killing-pakistani-prisoner-fellow-inmates-jaipur-central-jail

[5] NHRC Complaint File Number: 2267/12/17/2017

[6]. See NHRC Case Nos. 156/2/4/2014-JCD & 157/2/4/2014-AD

[7]. Custodial death of Pintu Chakma: NHRC issues notice to Arunachal Government on payment of compensation, ACHR, 18 May 2018, http://www.achrweb.org/achr-impact/custodial-death-of-pintu-chakma-nhrc-issues-notice-to-arunachal-government-on-payment-of-compensation/

[8]. Meghalaya Human Rights Commission Seeks Probe Into Rights Violation By Police, Assam Tribune, 14 February 2019, https://www.sentinelassam.com/news/meghalaya-human-rights-commission-seeks-probe-into-rights-violation-by-police/

[9]. Meghalaya: Overtaking lands local musician in trouble; police brutality alleged, The Northeast Today, 21 December 2018, https://thenortheasttoday.com/meghalaya-overtaking-lands-local-musician-in-trouble-police-brutality-alleged/

[10]. TN Human Rights Commission recommends Rs 50K compensation to a driver harassed by police inspector, The New Indian Express, 12 February 2019, http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/feb/12/state-human-rights-commission-recommends-rs-50000-paid-to-a-driver-harassed-by-a-police-inspector-1937899.html

[11]. SHRC establishes Banihal youth died of beating in police custody, Greater Kashmir, 12 February 2019, https://www.greaterkashmir.com/(X(1)S(cifufpa1ywlksr45lhakgabb))/news/kashmir/shrc-establishes-banihal-youth-died-of-beating-in-police-custody/312653.html

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