HC slams State govt's apathy

Cannot lead you by hand every time, says Chief Justice Khehar

Justice J S KheharHearing a petition by South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), the division bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice H G Ramesh expressed dissatisfaction over the State Government’s apathy towards the service conditions of the Karnataka State Protection of Child Rights Commission (KSPCRC).

Senior counsel Ravivarma Kumar, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the service conditions and the rules framed were “contemptuous and humiliating”.

He submitted that even the salary of the Chairman of the KSPCRC is just Rs 3,500, while the members got a honorarium of Rs 500 per sitting of the commission.
Stating that even a class IV employee in the commission earns between Rs 4,800 to 7,200, he submitted that the travel allowance and daily allowance of the members and the chairman were as prescribed for Group ‘C’ employees. The post of Member-Secretary created by the State had been vested with powers to control, bypass and sabotage the commission, the counsel said.

The petitioners sought that the Karnataka State Commission Rules framed under Commission to Protect Child Rights Act-2005 be struck down.

The bench, which was upset over this, said: “When will we save the poor when we are still dealing with rich people’s cases like mining? When will we show concern towards the poor when we are full with such cases?”  Noting that the government must understand these issues, the court said: “We cannot issue directions every time.”The bench directed the State to file a counter affidavit within four weeks.

Slow response irks CJ

In yet another case, criticising the State Government’s functioning, Chief Justice Khehar questioned whether he should proceed on leave.

Land acqusition

The Chief Justice was hearing a petition by Shankar Rao and others, residents of Shahpur, who had moved the High Court seeking directions to prevent land acquisition for a road project.

The petitioners submitted that they were threatened by the Deputy Commissioner of Gulbarga and other officers that they would be evicted without notice.

They submitted recorded visuals of the DC venting his ire at them. When the Chief Justice sought an explanation from the State, the government counsel submitted an unsigned draft which claiming to be a fax by the DC.

The Chief Justice expressed his dissatisfaction saying: “Shall I record this attitude of yours. For the last one week, there has been a slow response from the State. The proceedings have slowed down. We don’t know what is happening here. Should I proceed on leave?”.

The counsel apologised immediately and the bench warned the government counsel that he should change his attitude.

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