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Archives for : NHRC

#JSANHRCPublicHearing – Medical Rights and Medical Wrongs #healthcare


MEDICAL RIGHTS, AND WRONGS

The National Human Rights Commission is awarding compensation to patients whose care was botched.

Perhaps the most vulnerable class of all, is made up of patients. In that moment of crisis—an accident, early labour, a sharp pain, an undiagnosed ailment— all of us are entirely at the mercy of the healthcare services available to us. The expertise of doctors, the efficiency of machines, the accuracy of laboratories are facts we must simply accept as true.

But for many who inhabit the fringes, wage-workers whose income falls well below the property line, villagers distant from the medical infrastructure needed to cope with emergencies, un-or under-educated people who can’t articulate their problems – for them, health care is fraught with pitfalls. An open public hearing conducted yesterday and today by the National Human Rights Commission at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai seeks to bring accountability and transparency to the processes – and to rule whether medical services were wrongly delivered, delivered late, or not delivered at all.

Patients got the chance to present their version of events, as did their doctors and the directors of health institutions that the charges of medical negligence were imputed to. Over two days, 105 cases will be adjudicated by three separate benches of the NHRC. Each bench is advised by a panel of experts, and Bench One where cases from Maharashtra were heard was presided by Justice Cyriac Joseph, and Justice SN Bhanurmath (Chairperson, State Human Rights Commission) with two other members. Mirror gives you a court-side seat.

DAMINIBAI PAWARA, 24,
Punarvasan Wadi
Compensation: Rs 50,000

Case: The 108 hotline emergency ambulance transferred her to a private hospital
Point: Damini Bai was in the throes of labour pain, and a representative of local NGO ASHA called State Goverment’s 108 ambulance. She was supposed to be transferred to the Nandubar district hospital, but her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to a private hospital. Damini and her farmer husband had to pay Rs 25,000 for her delivery.
Counterpoint: 108 EMS project director argued that they transferred her in private hospital in good faith, because she was in a critical state.
Verdict: Judges pointed out that the facility for birth wasn’t available in the village and they directed state health departments to pay Rs 50 thousand in compensation.

SHEETAL BANKAR, 24,
Indapur village, Pune
Compensation: Rs 1 lakh

Case: Wrongly reported as HIV positive
Point: Five months ago, a heavily pregnant Sheetal and her husband Raju Bankar went to Indapur’s Government sub-district hospital for a regular checkup. Doctors took blood samples and directed them to Pune’s Sassoon hospital for the delivery. The sub-district hospital officials didn’t tell the about Sheetal’s HIV positive report. On September 4, Sheetal was admitted to Sassoon Hospital for the delivery, where Bankar alleged that doctors and nurses were behaving badly. They started ART medicines. When the Nurse told Bankar that his wife was HIV positive he was shocked because they’d just tested at a private lab and her report was -ve.
Counterpoint: Medical superintendent of Indapur sub-district hospital accepted the mistake and apologised.
Verdict: Judges found this was a serious violation of human rights, and caused mental trauma to the patient.

ASHA SURYAVANSHI, 35
Nanded
Compensation: Pending

Case: Asha Suryavanshi died from a snake bite
Point: Asha’s husband Rudraji Suryavasnhi, a farmer, alleged that she needed dialysis but that facility was not available in Nanded district hospital, and that they delayed her treatment. She was admitted on 28th June, her condition deteriorated and her husband admitted her in Aurbagabad government hospital, she needed dialysis for which she had to be transferred to another hospital, which is when he took her to Aurangabad, 400 km away.
Counterpoint: Officials from Nanded district hospital claimed that the medicine was provided her within 45 minutes of her admission and that her husband took discharge against medical advice. ble at a nearby Government hospital, so there was no need for the transfer to Aurangabad.
Verdict: Case must be investigated further

SURESH NAYAK, 30,
Talora village in Nandurbar
Compensation: A prosthetic limb to be fitted in three months. Rs 2 lakh to be awarded within 1 month

Case: Lost his limb through negligence
Point: A young tribal man, was referred to the Nandurbar civil hospital. His toes on his right foot had been crushed in an accident. He contended that the surgery wasn’t conducted on time. Five days later, he was still waiting and gangrene had developed, at which point his leg had to be amputated till his knee. Counterpoint: The orthopaedic surgeon pled that the patient was initially in shock unready for surgery, with low blood pressure and a low haemoglobin count. When the cause for the inordinate delay of five days was probed further, it emerged that the blood required for transfusion was not available. The patient also claimed to have received only one unit of blood free of charge, and having paid for other bottles, though as a patient below the poverty line, these should all have been free to him.
Verdict: The bench held the Civil Surgeon and the Orthopaedic surgeon of the Nandurbar Civil hospital responsible for delaying Suresh’s surgery.

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Medical-rights-and-wrongs/articleshow/50475907.cms

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Dalit woman Sarpanch denied to hoist National Flag – NHRC issues notice to MP govt

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notices to government following reports of a dalit woman sarpanch being denied the right to hoist the national flag.

“The has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a dalit woman sarpanch is being deprived of the honour of hoisting the national flag on the Independence Day and the Republic Day at her village Puravas Kalan in District Morena, Madhya Pradesh for the past four years.

“Instead, a former sarpanch, who belongs to an upper caste, hoists the flag. Even if she attended the programme, she was not offered a chair,” said an NHRC statement.

Reportedly, the husband of the woman sarpanch had lodged a complaint before the Commissioner of Chambal Division.

She also staged a dharna in alleging that administration was supporting the upper caste lobby which not only deprived her right to hoist the National Flag but also stalled the opening of a middle school in Harijan basti of the village, the Commission said.

“The contents of the media report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of dalit woman,” observed the Commission.

Notices have been issued to the Divisional Commissioner, Chambal and District Magistrate, Morena in Madhya Pradesh and detailed reports have been sought within two weeks.

Read more here- http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/nhrc-issues-notice-to-mp-govt-114073001430_1.html

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Policy for Mentally Ill Soon, Odisha Govt Tells NHRC

BHUBANESWAR: In a significant move, the Odisha Government has assured the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that it will soon adopt a policy for the mentally ill persons to prevent their torture and ensure their cure and rehabilitation.

The rights panel, in an order passed earlier this month, asked the State Government to inform within eight weeks the measures undertaken to adopt the new policy.

The State’s submission came in response to NHRC’s direction in a case involving 35-year-old mentally challenged person Babuni Behera of Puri’s Gop block. Babuni had been kept in chains for the last 10 years.

The Puri-based Global Human Rights Communications (GHRC), which had filed the petition, stated that since the victim’s parents had passed away and his brother was unable to meet the medical expenses, Babuni was left to fend for himself in a shackled condition.

The NHRC had asked the Puri district administration to undertake measures for care and treatment of the victim following which the latter arranged a psychiatric’s visit to the village. The victim was taken to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where he is currently undergoing treatment. The district administration has assured that it will bear expenses of his treatment till he is cured.

The Health and Family Welfare Department submitted before the panel that it will chalk out a comprehensive policy for the mentally ill while taking care of the rehabilitation of Babuni, Subash Mohapatra of GHRC said.

Read mor ehere  http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/Policy-for-Mentally-Ill-Soon-Govt-Tells-NHRC/2014/07/25/article2347575.ece

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Torture, illegal detention of a Muslim youth , as he complains against Police

 

tribals

18 July 2014

 

To

The Chairman

National Human Rights Commission

Manav Adhikar Bhawan
Block-C, GPO Complex, INA
New Delhi – 110023

Respected Sir,

 

We lodged a complaint to your office on 28th April 2014 and your Commission accepted the complaint and registered the same as NHRC Case No. 613/25/13/2014 dated 12th May 2014, the complaint was regarding custodial torture on Mr.  Mafidul Islam @ Nantu Mondal son of Mr. Samsul Haque, aged about- 30 years, by faith- Muslim, residing at Village + Post Office- Jaykrishnapur, Police Station-Jalangi, District- Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

 

The victim made a complaint petition on 13th May 2014 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate; Bahrampur; Murshidabad in accordance to the section 156 (3) of Criminal Procedure Code. This made the involved police personnel furious. On 16th July 2014, the then Inspector in Charge of Jalangi police station and now Officer in Charge of Raninagar police station; Mr. Somnath Bannerjee called one Mr. Shah Alam Sarkar; son of Abdul Rahman; a neighbor of the victim to Raninagar police station and asked him to influence the victim to withdraw the case but the victim not relented.

 

On 17th July 2014 at about 1 am (after midnight), Mr. Hasanur Jaman Kaji; an Assistant Sub Inspector and Mr Sanyasi Biswas; Sub Inspector of Jalangi police station along with other police personnel of same police station came to the village of the victim and apprehended the victim and other three neighbors; Mr. Aatu Seikh; son of Muksad Seikh, Mr. Kilam Mondal; son of Mr. Tufan Mondal and Mr. Imdadul Mondal; son of Mr. Tufan Mondal; all residents of village- Joykrishnapur; police station- Jalangi. The persons are being still in the police lock up of Jalangi police station. I also came to know that the involved police personnel have plan to release the three except the victim. The whole torment caused upon the victim was due to his petition and asking for justice. It was also learnt that the police are setting up for physical torture upon the victim to force him to withdraw the complaint petition before the CJM- Murshidabad.

 

I want to draw your attention on the above mentioned incident and request your office to ensure physical and psychological integrity of the victim. I also demand for ultimate security and safety for the family of the victim and his neighbourhood. Immediate action must be taken against the errant police personnel.

 

Detailed fact finding report will follow.

 

Sincerely Yours

 

 

(Kirity Roy)

 


Kirity Roy
Secretary
Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha
(MASUM)
&
National Convenor (PACTI)
Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity
40A, Barabagan Lane (4th Floor)
Balaji Place
Shibtala
Srirampur
Hooghly
PIN- 712203
Tele-Fax – +91-33-26220843
Phone- +91-33-26220844 / 0845
e. mail : [email protected]
Web: www.masum.org.in

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Sexual abuse case: Odisha govt unwilling to comply with NHRC order #WTFnews

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 10:

The Odisha government is trying desperately to get a stay order from the Odisha High Court on the direction of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asking it to disburse Rs 3 lakh relief to each of four tribal girl students, who were allegedly sexually abused by a teacher and a peon at Gadiseshkhal sevashram in Rayagada district in 2011.NHRC_LOGO-2

The state government has, so far, failed to comply with the NHRC recommendation for payment of the compensation amount.

The SC and ST Development department has asked the Advocate General to list the case in the court for hearing so that it can file a status report to the Commission, which had sought it from the department within six weeks on 4 June this year.

The deadline ends on July 16.

Acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Subash Mohapatra, the Commission had directed the state chief secretary to make payment to each of the victims on 31 August 2012.

However, the department instead of disbursing the amount to the four victims had moved the court against the direction of the Commission on the advice of the Law department on 25 May 2013.

Later, the Commission observed that there was no operating stay order on its recommendations for payment of compensation and asked the state government to comply and submit the proof of payment to the victims of sexual abuse.

However, in response, the commission received a report on 13 February from the Director-Cum-Additional Secretary, ST & SC Development Department seeking two months’time for submission of the requisite reply.

Although the time sought for was over, the government did not pay the amount and not filed the requisite report to the Commission. Now, the commission has directed the department to file the requisite report before July 16.

It is to be noted here that four girls, two each of Class III and IV, of Gadiseshkhal sevashram in Kolnara block had lodged a complaint with district collector accusing an assistant teacher, Narendra Meneka, and a male peon, Lingaraj Kulusika, of sexually harassing them, in 2011.

The sevashram is run by the SC and ST Development Department.

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Press Release – NHRC orders Inquiry ordered into sexual assault case in Haryana Jail #Vaw

PRESS RELEASE

CBCID INQUIRY ORDERED ON SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE IN HARYANA JAIL RAISED BY MISSION BHARTIYAM

 

In a matter of sexual assault case wherein two women prisoners alleged that Deputy Superintendent of Nimika Jail, Haryana had sexual assaulted them and an appeal was filed by Ravi Nitesh, President of Mission Bhartiyam with National Human Rights Commission in May 2013, continuous inquiries were done by NHRC and various reports were asked from Haryana jail officials in this regard.

 

Now, in the recent development in the case, the commission on 5 June 2014 has again directed to Principal Secretary, Government of Haryana to conduct a CBCID inquiry in this regard and submit a report within eight weeks.

 

Interestingly, the local administration report in response to first notice of NHRC for submission of report was being made with conclusion that no sexual assault took place, however the commission itself rejected to accept the conclusion as it as and told that statement of victims do not reject the probability of sexual assault within the jail premises as no one else can be witness there.The Commission also therefore asked with Principal secretary, Govt of Haryana to have a CBCID inquiry.

 

The case was registered by Ravi Nitesh and NHRC allotted case no 3396/7/3/2013-AR in this regard. The commission in its directive clarify that:

 

“Shri Ravi Nitesh, a human rights activist, in his complaint dated 16.05.2013, has alleged that two woman prisoners at Nimika Jail, Faridabad were sexually assaulted by the Dy. Superintendent of the Jail. The incident was reported by them to the Chief Judicial Magistrate on his official visit to Jail. Thereafter, the victims were allegedly beaten and tortured by the jail officials as to why did they convey the incident to the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The complainant has requested intervention of the Commission. Pursuant to the direction of the Commission, the DG, Prisons, Haryana has sent a report dated 9.7.2013. As per report, the enquiry conducted by Addl. IG, Prisons, Haryana revealed that the allegations of physical torture of the lady prisoners by the Dy. Superintendent were false. An FIR No. 139 dated 14.5.2013 was also registered at P.S., Ballabhgarh regarding the alleged incident of sexual assault by the Dy. Superintendent. After investigation, the allegations were found false and final report is to be submitted. During enquiry, only this possibility came out that the prisoners Nirmal Bhatia and Anita might have been abused and beaten by the lady warder Sangita and Sumitra as a mobile charger was recovered from the possession of the lady prisoner Anita but the allegation of sexual exploitation was found to be false. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the jail officials have sent a copy of FIR No.139 dated 14.05.2013, copies of the statements of victims recorded u/s 161 Cr.P.C., medical examination of the alleged victims, etc. Having considered the FIR, statements of the victims recorded u/s 161 Cr.P.C. and other documents, the Commission notes that the possibility of commission of offences in the jail premises by the Dy. Superintendent cannot be ruled out in view of the statements of the victims, who are the only witnesses of the occurrence. In the jail premises, no outsider is expected to witness the occurrence. Let the Principal Secretary, Government of Haryana, Department of Home be asked to get the case FIR No.139 dated 14.05.2013, P.S. Ballabhgarh registered in connection with sexual assault on the two woman prisoners by the Deputy Superintendent of Nimika Jail, Faridabad in the jail premises, investigated through the CBCID and send within eight weeks a report in this matter. ”

 

We, at Mission Bhartiyam, are hopeful that such cases be solved with proper, in-depth inquiries as women in jails are also vulnerable to these crimes because of the unavailability of any reporting/monitoring system. We are hopeful that NHRC will give an impartial decision and will investigate the inquiry report as well to avoid any loophole.

 

NHRC Link: http://nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=3396/7/3/2013-AR

 

For futher information, mail at [email protected] or call 9958907799

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NHRC initiates in-depth inquiry on Bandipora killing by security personal firing

NHRC seeks report from Ministry of Defence

Killing of 2 youth by forces in Bandipora

GK NEWS NETWORK

Srinagar, June 29: The National Human Rights Commission has directed the Ministry of Defence to submit a report over the killing of two youth in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district last year.
On intervening night of June 29-30 last year, Irfan Ahmad Ganaie of Markundal Sumbal was killed by forces while Tariq Ahmad Laherwal was killed next morning when the people were protesting against the killing of Irfan.
The NHRC, according to status of the case which was filed in the rights body by Ravi Nitesh of Mission Bharatiyam Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, has directed Director (G), Ministry of Defence, Government of India to submit the relevant report within four weeks positively.
“The Director General of Police, J&K is also asked to file a report giving details of “Security Forces” involved with incident, particularly whether Army personnel were involved, and outcome of the investigation,” the NHRC directive reads.
The Commission has also asked the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission to inform it regarding the date on which it took cognizance in the matter.
Earlier the NHRC had asked the Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, New Delhi to submit a report within eight weeks over the killings.“No report has been received from the Ministry of Defence,” the NHRC states. In its report to NHRC, Director General of Police, J&K, submitted that both the killings were being investigated.
“In his response, Director General of Police, J&K vide letter dated 02.01.2014 informed that the enquiries got conducted into the matter and FIR No.115/2013 u/s 302 RPC P/S Sumbal regarding killing of one Irfan Ahmad Ganaie, of Markundal due to alleged firing by security forces during the intervening night of 29/30 June, 2013 was being investigated,” the case status reads
“During the course of site inspection, a violent mob from village Markundal and its adjacent areas equipped with lathies and stones protected against killing of the said person, pelted stones upon security forces which resulted in damage to an ambulance. Violent mob remained adamant and continuously pelted stones upon the said vehicle, due to which security forces opened fire in self defence resulting in critical injuries to one pedestrian namely Tariq Ahmad Laherwal son of Ghulam Qadir Laherwal of Kondbal Ganderbal who was shifted to Sumbal Hospital where the Doctor declared him as having succumbed,” DGP submitted.
The DGP submitted that a case FIR No.116/2013 u/s 147,148, 149, 336, 427, 307 RPC was registered in PS Submal. “During the course of investigation, the body was handed over to his legal heirs for last rites after completion of all codal formalities. Investigation further revealed that two persons namely Farooq Ahmad Malla son of Ghulam Nabi Malla of Markundal and Muhammad Maqbook Sofi son of Ghulam Muhammad of Sehampora Dooru Sopore also got injured in this incident. The case is still under investigation,” the police submitted.

 

Read more here – http://greaterkashmir.com/news/2014/Jun/30/nhrc-seeks-report-from-ministry-of-defence-42.asp

 

n a case of death of two persons by firing of security personals in Bandipora of J&K last year (June 2013) where an appeal was filed by Ravi Nitesh of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign with National Human Rights Commission, and cognizance of this incident on the appeal by organization, further asking for reports from J&K Police as well as Ministry of Defence, now the commission is inquiring in depth of this incident as inquiry is still continue and NHRC asked repeated queries for clarifying the facts. Recent queries of NHRC given in April 2014 to further clarification of the points.

 

Appeal was registered with the commission vide case no 251/9/0/2013-AF where the commission clarify The complainant has alleged death of two persons in Army firing in Bandipore district of Jammu & Kashmir on 30.06.2013. The Commission took cognizance on 10.07.2013 and asked the Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, New Delhi and to the Director General of Police, Jammu & Kashmir to submit a report within eight weeks. In response, Director General of Police, J&K Jammu vide letter dated 02.01.2014 informed that the enquiries got conducted into the matter and FIR No.115/2013 u/s 302 RPC P/S Sumbal regarding killing of one Irfan Ahmad Ganaie, r/o Markundal due to alleged firing by security forces during the intervening night of 29/30.06.2013 was being investigated. During the course of cite inspection, a violent mob from village Markundal and its adjacent areas equipped with lathies and stones protected against killing of the said person, pelted stones upon security forces which resulted in damage to an ambulance. Violent mob remained adamant and continuously pelted stones upon the said vehicle, due to which security forces opened fire in self defence resulting in critical injuries to one pedestrian namely Tariq Ahmad Laherwal S/o Ghulam Qadir Laherwal r/o Kondbal Ganderbal who was shifted to Sumbal Hospital where the Doctor declared him as having succumbed. In this connection, a case FIR No.116/2013 u/s 147,148, 149, 336, 427, 307 RPC was registered in PS Submal. During the course of investigation, the dead body was handed over to his legal heirs for last rites after completion of all codal formalities. Investigation further revealed that two persons namely Farooq Ahmad Malla s/o Ghulam Nabi Malla r/o Markundal and Mohammad Maqbook Sofi s/o Ghulam Mohammad r/o Sehampora Dooru Sopore also got injured in this incident. The case is still under investigation. The Director General of Police, J&K, Jammu further stated that J&K State Human Rights Commission has also taken Suo-Motu cognizance in the matter. No report has been received from the Ministry of Defence. Let the Director (G), Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Room No. 206-(II), South Block, New Delhi be asked to submit the relevant report within four weeks positively. The Director General of Police, J&K is also asked to file a report giving details of “Security Forces” involved with incident, particularly whether Army personnel were involved, and outcome of the investigation. In the meantime, the J&K State Human Rights Commission, Srinagar be requested to inform this Commission regarding the date on which the SHRC has taken cognizance in this matter.

 

Now, it is about to end of time limit provided by the commission in the matter and therefore further action can be taken accordingly by the commission.  Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign is continuously highlighting issues regarding state repression through AFSPA and campaigning for Repeal of AFSPA.  Campaign members also wrote a letter to Home Minister and Prime Minister to take positive steps for repeal of this controversial act AFSPA as a measure of protection of human rights.

 

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Press Release – PUCL seeks NHRC’s Urgent intervention in Teesta Setalvad Case

                                                                                          18th June, 2014

For Favour of Publication & Circulation

 

PUCL seeks an independent review and intervention by NHRC in order to stop the continuing persecution and prosecution of human rights defenders, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand of Citizens for Peace and Justice and others.

 

People’s Union for Civil Liberties today filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission seekingan independent review and intervention in respect of continuing persecution and prosecution of human rights defenders, Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand of Citizens for Peace and Justice and others

 

The petition stressed that CJP and its office bearers Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and their team are human rights defenders. They have, despite threats of grave risk to their personal safety, ensured that the rule of law prevailed in the state of Gujarat at a time when the entire state machinery was subverted and all public officials either abdicated their constitutional and statutory functions or worse connived / actively participated with the perpetrators of terror and violence. PUCL believes that the repeated complaints that are being filed against these human rights defenders are only a consequence of their success in upholding the rule of law in Gujarat and ensuring multiple convictions, including that of Minister Maya Kodnani .

 

National and International Human Rights Obligations Towards Human Rights Defenders

 

PUCL in its petition pointed out that under international human rights principles there is a duty cast upon every State to accord adequate protection to human rights defenders. The United Nations “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” (March, 1999) acknowledges that human rights defenders play a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights and it is the duty of every State and its administrators to avoid criminalisation, stigmatisation, impediments, obstructions or restrictions on the work of human rights defenders.

 

Art. 18 of this Declaration stresses that “individuals, groups, institutions and non-governmental organisations have an important role to play and a responsibility in safeguarding democracy, promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms and contributing to the promotion and advancement of democratic societies, institutions and processes”.

 

Further, in October 2009 the Hon’ble NHRC, recommended that it is the obligation of the State to protect human rights of all. Individuals, groups or associations who work for promotion and protection of human rights, commonly referred to as Human Rights Defenders, should also be provided protection by the State against any violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, pressure or any arbitrary action as a consequence of their activities for promotion & protection of human rights & fundamental freedom.  NHRC and SHRCs can also play an important role in this regard. The  Commission had also recommended that there is a need to set up a Focal Point for human rights defenders, preferably at NHRC, so that human rights defenders can reach out to it for support.

 

Contribution of  Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and CJP

 

The petition referred to the consistent efforts of Teesta Setalvad and the CJP team which has secured more than 110 convictions so far with many other trials nearing completion.

 

It states that amongst the numerous cases pursued by Teesta Setalvad and the CJP, one of the most noteworthy cases is the Best Bakery case which initially ended in a total acquittal of all the accused, but got a fresh lease of life when an important eye witness to the incident Ms. Zahira Sheikh approached Teesta Setalvad and the CJP saying she had been coerced to resile on her eye witness testimony. It is the intervention of CJP as well as the NHRC which resulted in the supreme court directing a  fresh trial. During the retrial the CJP also obtained orders  for witness protection and appointment of special public prosecutors and eventually the trial court went on to convict 9 of the accused persons.

 

It is pertinent to point out that even as CJP and team strived to establish the rule of law and ensured that perpetrators were punished, a slew of complaints and FIRs were foisted against them. Many complaints were later found to be unfounded upon inquiry by the Registrar General of the supreme court and by the various trial courts. . But more cases are being filed and the CJP and team are being hindered in their human rights work and unnecessarily harassed.

 

In the light of the background and context in which the cases / complaints have been filed against Citizens for Justice and Peace and its Trustees Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, PUCL requested the NHRC to conduct an independent inquiry and review all the cases filed. It also urged the NHRC to recommend to the State of Gujarat that pending such review the Government of Gujarat should refrain from initiating any coercive action such as arrest, freezing of accounts etc or in any manner hindering the work of these human rights defenders.

 

The PUCL also requested the NHRC to recommend the initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against all policemen, prosecutors and government officials, and individuals against whom there is prima facie evidence of mala fide actions against human rights defenders like Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand and others and to intervene in the matters/cases referred above, going on against human rights defenders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand so as to protect their rights as human rights defenders.

 

 

 

Prof. Prabhakar Sinha  National President, PUCL              

Dr. V. Suresh, National General Secretary, PUCL 

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PUCL Condemns Arrest of Prof. Saibaba & Demands Immediate Intervention of NHRC

PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES

270-A, Patpar Ganj, Opposite Anand Lok Apartments, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110 091

Phone 2275 0014                        PP FAX 4215 1459

Founder: Jayaprakash Narayan; Founding President: V M Tarkunde

President: Prof. Prabhakar Sinha; General Secretary: Dr. V. Suresh

14th May, 2014

 

PUCL Condemns Arrest of Prof. Saibaba  

&

Demands Immediate Intervention of NHRC to ensure release of Prof. Saibaba

and ensure medical treatment and care and provision of personal attendant 

 

PUCL is shocked and strongly condemns the unprovoked and unconscionable use of force by the Gadchiroli police who blocked the car, abducted and arrested Prof. GN Saibaba in broad daylight, on 9th May, 2014 afternoon. Prof. Saibaba, an Assistant Professor of English in Ram Lal Anand College was returning home for lunch around 1 p.m. after completing the morning’s work of evaluating University examination papers in North Campus. His car was forcibly stopped by the policemen, all in plainclothes (mufti), without any identification insignia, his driver Deepak pulled out forcibly, arms tied, blindfolded and taken to an undisclosed place.

 

Prof. Saibaba, who is wheel chair bound with 90% locomotor disability was also treated harshly, blindfolded and  whisked away by plain clothed personnel of the Maharashtra Police. It later came to light that Prof. Saibaba had been taken by air to Gadchiroli via Nagpur and remanded to custody in a case involving provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) carrying allegations that he was helping Maoist activities.

 

The harsh and violent manner of effecting the abduction and arrest of Prof. Saibaba is unacceptable and condemnable in a democracy claiming to follow rule of law for Saibaba had always cooperated with the police authorities whenever they wanted to question him as part of the investigation. Twice before, once in September, 2013 and next in January, 2014, he made himself available for questioning in his house. In contrast, the conduct of the Gadchiroli police was utterly unlawful, breaking all the mandatory provisions relating to conduct of search and seizure.

 

During the present arrest also, the Gadchiroli police violated all mandatory provisions relating to arrest. In particular, sec. 41-B of the Criminal Procedure Code makes it compulsory for every police officer making arrest to (a) bear an accurate, visible and clear identification of his name which will facilitate easy identification” and (b) shallprepare a memorandum of arrest which shall be (i) attested by at least one witness, who is a member of the family of the person arrested or a respectable member of the locality where the arrest is made; and (ii) countersigned by the person arrested. Very crucially the section states that the arrested person “has a right” to have a relative or friend named by him to be informed of his arrest unless the Memorandum of Arrest is already attested by his family. (sec. 41-B(b)(c)).

 

Sec. 50A CrPC makes it obligatory on the part of the police officer to inform about the arrest and the place of custody of the arrested person to (i) relative, or (ii) friend or (iii) person nominated by the arrested person. The fact of this intimation should be recorded in a register which shall be scrutinised by the remanding Magistrate.

 

None of these mandatory provisions were complied with making the arrest illegal.

 

The exceptionally harsh, inconsiderate and violent treatment and arrest of Prof. Saibaba is for the reason that he has for long been a human rights defender who has consistently opposed abuse of law by the police and security forces in the name of encounters and asserted the primacy of `rule of law’ principles as the basis for state action against people and organisations dubbed `extremist’, `terrorist’ or `maoist’. Saibaba has also been a long term critic of counter-terrorism policy of the government which sought to counter political violence through state violence. For the police, he represented a major threat to their lawlessness and therefore have been trying to somehow implicate him in some case or the other. The present case he has been arrested in involves various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which conveniently gives carte blanche powers to the police to use the law like a weapon to crush dissent, stifle criticism and silence opposition to their abuse of law.

 

PUCL has consistently opposed draconian laws like the UAPA, AFSPA, anti-sedition laws and other laws on the ground that these laws were deliberately structured in such a manner as to arm the state with wide police powers to crush dissent and political opposition using the justification of countering terrorism. In effect these laws have been used for the purpose of criminalising dissent and the legitimate acts of human rights activists and organisations.

 

PUCL has documented numerous instances where the police action is akin to `state terrorism’ striking down hundreds of innocent people and causing unimaginable misery, all in the name of fighting terror.

 

The SC poignantly highlights the dangers of state terrorism in the famous case of `D.K. Basu vs State of West Bengal’ (1997) thus:

 

“The challenge of terrorism must be met with innovative ideas and approach. State terrorism is no answer to combat terrorism. State terrorism would only provide legitimacy to “terrorism”. That would be bad for the state, the community and above law to the rule of law”. (pa. 33) (emphasis ours)

 

In a cruel twist to human rights movements, rights defenders who advocate the legitimacy of extending human rights protection even to those people accused by the state as terrorist, find themselves implicated in false cases as `terrorists’ themselves; similarly those who emphasise that even Maoists, are entitled to `rule of law’ and human rights, suddenly find themselves branded as Maoists and facing danger to their personal safety and well being, apart from prosecution. This is a sinister development which is aimed to silence the human rights defenders and crush the rights movement. Prof. Saibaba is the latest victim of the Maharashtra police’s attempts to silence and intimidate anyone from daring to take up the human rights issues of Maoists while continually challenging state terrorism.

 

PUCL demands that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should immediately intervene in the matter of arrest of Prof. GN Saibaba, launch a comprehensive enquiry into the flagrant illegalities committed by the Gadchiroli police and fix accountability on the police officials who have abused and broken the law of the land.

 

PUCL is shocked to know that Prof. Saibaba is being kept in solitary confinement and deprived of medicines and personal assistant. He also has been deliberately denied access to western closet causing immense discomfort and further medical complications.  In view of the severe 90% locomotor disability and cardiac problem suffered by Prof. Saibaba, the NHRC should immediately intervene to get Prof. Saibaba released from prison so that he can get expert medical attention, utilise the services of a personal attendant and also be able to access toilet facilities adapted to his personal needs.  Such a demand is not unreasonable as the SC itself has stressed the importance of “safeguarding the rights and dignity of the arrestee”.

sd/-

Dr. V. Suresh                              Prof. Prabhakar Sinha

General Secretary, PUCL National          President, PUCL National

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Personal: +91-9444231497.

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PRESS RELEASE – NHRC directs Centre to submit report on mercy petition of Holiram Bordoloi of Assam

NHRC directs Union Home Secretary to submit status report on the lost
mercy petition of Holiram Bordoloi of Assam in four weeks

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today directed the Union Home Secretary, Government of India to submit status report on the missing mercy petition of death row convict Holiram Bordoloi of Assam within four weeks. (The order of the NHRC is available at: http://nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=52/3/0/2014 )

As per the RTI reply of the Inspector General of Prisons, Assam, the mercy petition of condemned prisoner Holiram Bordoloi was forwarded to the President of India vide letter No.PRI.826 dated 18.04.2005 and to the Judicial Department, Government of Assam on 17.06.2005. Though a reply received from office of the Inspector General of Prisons, Assam vide letter dated 09.07.2013 states that the mercy petition is still pending with the President of India, the “list of mercy petition cases since 1981” received by the President of India from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide letter dated 28.03.2013 does not bear the name of Holiram Bordoloi. This establishes that the mercy petition of Holiram Bordoloi had been lost and was not considered at all in the last nine years.

The loss of mercy petition of condemned prisoner Holiram Bordoloi once again establishes the absolute callousness of the Government of India while considering the mercy pleas. This blatant abuse of power given to the President of India must be adjudicated by the judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. Further, accountability for gross dereliction of duty and shameful acts such as losing mercy petitions must be established.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The death sentence of Holiram Bordoloi must also be commuted to life imprisonment in the light of the judgement of the Supreme Court of India on 21 January 2014 in the case ofShatrughan Chauhan & Anr Vs. Union of India & Ors (Writ Petition (Criminal No. 55 of 2013).” – further demanded Mr Chakma.

Background:
Holiram Bordoloi was one of the accused in connection with the killing of three persons at Nayagaon under Boribazar Outpost in Morigaon district in Assam on 26 November 1996. He was tried by the Sessions Judge, Morigaon in Sessions Case No. 47/99 and 47A/99 found guilty of various offences punishable under Sections 147, 148, 436, 326 and 302 read with Section 149. For the main offence under Section 302 read with Section 149, Holiram Bordoloi was awarded the death sentence by the Sessions Judge on 5 May 2003.

Holiram Bordoloi filed an appeal before the Guwahati High Court of Assam against the death penalty imposed on him. The Guwahati High Court confirmed the death sentence on 9 March 2004.

On 8 April 2005, the Supreme Court [Holiram Bordoloi Vs. State of Assam (Appeal (Crl.) 1063 of 2004] upheld the death sentence of Holiram Bordoloi and vacated the interim stay of execution of the sentence.

 

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