Chief Justice of India T S Thakur Thursday questioned why Delhi, the capital of the country, did not have a state human rights commission.
Speaking at an event on the occasion of Human Rights Day, he said, “It is surprising that the very capital of the country does not have a State Human Rights Commission. Human rights violations are taking place in every society and across the world, including Delhi. To assume that human rights violations happen only in tribal areas is a misnomer. There are violations happening in this city as well. Why should there not be a SHRC in Delhi and that too for such a long time?”
“States don’t have the option of not having a commission unless they can say with a certain amount of certainty that there are no human rights violations there. Anyway, the order has been passed and we hope states will respond within six months,” he added.
“Currently, 25 states in India have SHRCs. Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are among the states which do not have a SHRC,” said Justice Cyriac Joseph, acting chairperson, National Human Rights Commission.
“This is because of a clause, according to which states ‘may’ and not ‘shall’ have a SHRC. But that option is not available to them now, with the Supreme Court clarifying in July this year that it is the duty of the state to set up a State Human Right Commission,” he added.
In July 2015, a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur had directed states, which didn’t have a human rights commission, to set up one within three months. The court had also asked the NHRC and all state human rights commissions to fill all their vacancies within three months.
Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland are some of the states which don’t have a human rights commission 22 years after the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, was passed.