Karnataka human rights panel hampered by staff shortage

December 10 is International Human Rights Day

Karnataka human rights panel hampered by staff shortage

December 10 is Human Rights Day

The panel's pleas for adequate staff and office space since it was formed in July 2007 have elicited only promises, rues its head S. R. Nayak, former chief justice of the Chattisgarh High Court.
"We don't even have enough manpower and infrastructure to carry out our duty properly," Nayak said on Thursday, observed as International Human Rights Day.

The International Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

"We require staff strength of around 500 personnel to carry on our duty smoothly in the entire state.
However, the state government has sanctioned us only 81 staff members. Currently, the commission has only 66 employees, of whom 44 were on contract and 22 on deputation," he said.

Inadequate staff has meant that mostly cases of human rights violation in and around Bangalore are taken up.
"Our work is mostly centered in and around Bangalore, as we don't have enough people to work across the state. However, as and when major incidences of human rights violation happens in any part of the state, our team members do visit the places to take stock of the matter," said an official of the Commission.

The commission has sought 20,000 sq. ft of space but has been provided only 4,500 sq. ft.
Since its formation in 2007, the panel has registered around 13,500 cases, around 3,000 of them on its own. It has disposed of 6,000 cases.
Nayak is critical of the government attempts to interfere in the panel's work and attacking him for his comments on the executive's performance.
He and a section of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders were involved in a verbal duel over his criticism of flood relief effort in north Karnataka, ravaged by heavy rains and flash floods late September-early October.
"The government should respond to our advice in responsible manner, instead of criticising the commission," Nayak said.
The state government should not interfere in the commission's work, directly or indirectly, as that would damage its functioning and reputation also, he said.
"If the commission is not free from political interference, how can we ensure deliverance of justice to the people of the state," Nayak asked.

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