SHRC powerless to take suo motu action

SHRC powerless to take suo motu action

A headless, bodiless State Human Rights Commission is urging people to file a complaint against the government over the death of three manual scavengers.

For months now, the SHRC is without a chairman, and the last of its members has checked out sometime ago. The panel, therefore, is left paralysed and is unable to take suo motu action in the case.

"We need approval of the chairman or the members to take suo motu cognizance of a case. Right now, the panel is left with a motley group of staff like a registrar, secretary, deputy secretary and police officials, who have no powers to act," a senior SHRC official told DH.  

Even if a concerned citizen decides to file a complaint, they can only call the SHRC during office hours, as the toll free number listed on its website goes unanswered after 6 pm. "They'll have to make sure they file the complaint during office hours. That's the scene here," regretted the official.

Retired Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Justice Dhirendra H Waghela was recently appointed as chairman of the SHRC. But the officials at the panel are unsure as to when Waghela or the members would take charge.

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