Delhi government sits on NHRC notices

Delhi, which is yet to have a rights body of its own, has not replied to a single notice issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) based on suo motu cognisance over the past one year within "stipulated time".

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 06, 2015, 14:29 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi, which is yet to have a rights body of its own, has not replied to a single notice issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) based on suo motu cognisance over the past one year within "stipulated time".

Official data shows that, taking suo motu cognisance of human rights violations, NHRC issued more than 50 notices to authorities in the national capital in little more than a year -- from April 1, 2014 to August 25 this year.

Of these, 32 were received by the city government alone, while central government bodies and Delhi Police were issued 16 and 6 notices respectively.

Responding to a query, NHRC said, "The requisite report has not been received in stipulated time in any of the cases where notices were issued by the Commission to government of NCT of Delhi."

As a result, out of all the cases, only two could be disposed of by the Commission after consideration of reports received from the departments concerned of Delhi government.

According to Saurav Datta, a criminal justice reforms activist, the root of the problem lies in the way the Commission was constituted "with no real powers, leading to successive governments taking such notices lightly".

"The NHRC is not really a strong body. It is mostly regarded as an irritant. There is a need to give it the powers of a criminal court so that authorities cannot just ignore such notices," Datta says.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had recently announced that his government has initiated the process of setting up a State Human Rights Commission following a Supreme Court directive in this regard.

"Delhi government was directed to set up state human rights commission. We have started the process of setting up the commission. Police complaint authority will also be set up," Kejriwal had said.