Centre asked to respond over HR courts in all districts

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and all states to respond to a plea for setting up human rights courts in every district of the country as mandated under the Protection of Human Rights Act, in view of reports on police excesses.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued a notice to all 29 states on the petition seeking the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) for conducting speedy trials of offences arising out of human rights violation within a time period of three months.

A law student, Bhavika Phore, sought direction to the Centre for providing sufficient and adequate funds for setting up of human rights court in all 725 districts in 29 states and seven Union Territories in a time-bound manner. She also sought an instruction to registrars of all the high courts for the same.

The plea filed through advocate Aakarsh Kamra also sought a directive for the Centre and the states to adhere with and implement the provisions of Sections 30 and 31 of the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA).

Section 30 of the PHRA says the state government in concurrence of the Chief Justice of the concerned high court will specify for each district a human rights court for speedy trial of human rights violation, whereas Section 31 of the Act provides for the state government to specify and appoint SPPs for conducting cases.

The plea refers to many reports on custodial deaths in the country in the past years referring to "abuse of power" and "unfathomable torture" undergone by individuals due to police excess.

It also stated the records of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from 2001 to 2010, according to which 14,231 persons died in police and judicial custody, of which 12,727 died in judicial custody--a large majority of which was a direct consequence of custodial torture.

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