Human rights courts remain dysfunctional

As the government prepares to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993, on December 10 (observed as Human Rights Day), there is nothing to cheer about.

Mohandas alias Mohan, a dailywager, fell into a pit dug for constructing a drainage while returning home at night at Katipalla near Surathkal on February 2 this year.

One of the iron rods in the pit’s concrete mesh pierced through Mohan’s neck, leaving him in a pool of blood.

On the same night, Mohan breathed his last in the hospital. The Surathkal registered a case against the contractor, the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) executive engineer and a junior engineer under Section 304 (a) of the IPC (causing death by negligence).

Mohan’s relatives had argued that MCC’s negligence in not erecting a protective barricade around the pit had resulted in the death of the family’s sole bread-earner.

“The chargesheet in Mohan’s case was filed in a regular court in June this year,” police sources said. Advocate Vivekananda Paniyala is of the firm opinion that Mohan’s case would have taken a different turn and ensured speedy justice to the victim’s family had the case been filed in the district human rights court. Not known even to some advocates, the government - under Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, had designated the principal sessions court in each district as human rights court (through a notification dated April 15, 2005).

As the government prepares to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993, on December 10 (observed as Human Rights Day), there is nothing to cheer about. The exclusive human rights courts had not disposed of even one case in the past 14 years, sources in the department of prosecutions in Bengaluru told DH.

Adarsh G K, general secretary of Bengaluru-based Human Rights Defenders Forum, Karnataka, told DH that many victims of human rights violations suffer as courts were reluctant to take up the cases.

“As activists, we are relying on the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) for remedy,” he stressed. Sources in KSHRC told DH that despite directions from the Supreme Court, the government had not framed rules like penal provisions and punishment.

“The judges are also unclear on whether Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) can be followed in cases of human rights violations,” Paniyala said. Sources in KSHRC recollected that a judge in a Udupi court had consulted then member of KSHRC, C G Hungund, on disposing a human rights violation case.

“Hungund had advised the judge to consider the case under miscellaneous petitions and deliver the judgement,’’ sources said.

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Human rights courts remain dysfunctional

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