SC tells Centre to set up rights panel in Delhi

Asks AAP, Centre to keep political differences aside

SC tells Centre to set up rights panel in Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Union government to act on setting up a Human Rights Commission in Delhi, keeping aside its political differences with the Aam Aadmi Party government in the National Capital.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur reminded Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the directive for setting the rights panel in Delhi was to the Central government, which it has to comply with.

“You look at the issue and find a solution or we will pass the order,” the bench told the Attorney General (AG), while hearing a PIL filed by Indu Prakash Singh.

“We know that it has got political implications, tell us if you have any problem, we can resolve it legally,” the bench further told the AG, who maintained that Delhi has been treated as Union Territory which did not require a separate state panel for
human rights.

Govt pulled up
The court also pulled up Delhi government, represented by senior advocate C U Singh, who submitted it has already shortlisted name of Justice Umanath Singh as head of the panel and two others as members.

‘Jumped the gun’
“You have also jumped the gun. You don’t have the jurisdiction. The direction was issued (In the D K Basu case) to the central government to set up the rights panel,” the bench told him.

Asking the AG to keep political differences aside, the bench further told, “Do something for the sufferings of the people for human rights violations. If a state like Tripura with 20 lakh population can have a Human Rights Commission, why not Delhi which has over one crore population?”

Rohatgi, on his part, contended that the human rights violations cases in Delhi can be handled by the National Human Rights Commission here. He also maintained that Delhi is not a state.

“Delhi is not a state but it has a HC and a state Election Commission. Why don’t you agree for State Human Rights Commission,” the bench asked him.

The court put the matter for further consideration on July 26.

The Union government had earlier said that it was seriously considering amending Section 21 (dealing with formation of state Human Rights Commissions) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

However, it maintained that in accordance with a nine-judge bench decision of the SC in 'NDMC Vs Punjab' (1997), Delhi has been not granted status of a full state, so it does not require a State Human Rights Panel.

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