NHRC moves SC, seeks nod to vet cases involving Armed forces

The National Human Rights Commission has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking a mandate allowing it to examine cases of human rights violation by members of the Armed Forces, NHRC's acting Chairperson Justice Cyriac Joseph said here on Wednesday.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015, 22:09 PM IST

Kolkata: The National Human Rights Commission has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking a mandate allowing it to examine cases of human rights violation by members of the Armed Forces, NHRC's acting Chairperson Justice Cyriac Joseph said here on Wednesday.

Referring to Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (that deals with the procedure with respect to armed forces), Justice Joseph, a retired Supreme Court judge, said it gave the Commission little option to hold a proper probe into a case of human rights violation by a member of the Armed Forces.

Calling it an "inherent deficiency" in the Act, Justice Joseph said, "We cannot make an independent inquiry. In fact probes conducted by seniors in the department are hardly reported against the accused."

"In most of the cases, they just send us a one-line conclusion saying that the probe revealed no violation of any human rights. We cannot even examine evidences and the reasoning based on which the conclusion was drawn," Justice Joseph said here.

He was speaking at a programme on human rights hosted by the MCC Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

"We have told the court that unless we can examine the evidences accessed by the investigating officer and the reasoning behind the conclusion, the entire probe becomes a farce," he added.

"Against a DG we have more power to inquire into the incident but in case of a commander of the Army we can only call for a report from the Union Home Ministry," he added.

The Commission, Justice Joseph said, would also seek review of the Hyderabad High Court stay order on NHRC's order of CBI inquiry in the controversial Seshachalam Hills encounter in which 20 wood-cutters were killed.