SC seeks Centre’s response on plea for district human rights courts

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central government to file its response to a plea seeking direction for setting up human rights courts in every district of the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to Centre and all 29 states on the plea filed by law student, Bhavika Phore. Phore, through advocate Aakarsh Kamra, has 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.

The petitioner said that the establishment of these special human rights courts will strengthen and enhance existing mechanism, and boost preservation and protection of human rights in letter and spirit at grass roots level which is the very foundation of democratic principles to achieve the vision of the constitutional framers as stated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

The petitioner also requested the court to appoint special public prosecutors for conducting speedy trial of offences arising out of human rights violation.

Under the Protection of Human Rights Act, the government is under obligation to set up special human right courts in each district for the better protection of human rights and also to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for the same but has failed to do so, the petitioner said, citing various reports and studies, which disclosed that human rights protection is in a very bad state.

The petitioner also raised various human rights violations including police brutality, and torture, custodial and “encounter” deaths, the horrible conditions in prison and detention centres, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention, and denial of fair public trial.

“From 2001 to 2010, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded that 14,231 persons died in police and judicial custody in India. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010, a large majority of these deaths being a direct consequence of torture in custody,” the petitioner said.

“Torture remains endemic, institutionalised and central to the administration of justice. India has demonstrated no political will to end torture as it remains widespread and integral to law enforcement,” the petition said.

The plea also said that the intervention of the court in setting up human rights courts will provide the victims of human rights abuse a quick and efficacious access to justice which is constitutional obligation of the state to respect, protect and uphold the basic human rights of its citizens. (IANS)

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