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Friday, July 30, 2021

Plea in Bombay HC: Fill up vacancies in MSHRC, ensure online hearing facilities

As per an RTI reply received by the petitioner on May 28, of 51 sanctioned posts for the staff, only 26 were filled. The petition added that “shockingly”, the chairperson’s position has not been filled up for three years.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: June 16, 2021 10:15:13 pm
Bombay high court petition MSHRCThe RTI reply further revealed that the MSHRC had 21,545 pending cases till March this year, the “highest in decade”, and only 433 cases have been disposed of this year due to non-availability of members.

A LAWYER recently filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court, seeking directions to fill up all vacant posts at the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) in a “time-bound manner” and sought to urgently appoint a chairperson and important members of the commission.

The PIL, filed by lawyer Vaishnavi Gholave through advocates Vinod Sangvikar and Yashodeep Deshmukh, also sought directions to the authorities to make available adequate infrastructure on the MSHRC premises for smooth functioning of the panel, including facilities required to conduct online hearing of cases.

As per an RTI reply received by the petitioner on May 28, of 51 sanctioned posts for the staff, only 26 were filled. The petition added that “shockingly”, the chairperson’s position has not been filled up for three years.

The reply also revealed that of five major posts in the state commission, four, including that of the chairperson, judicial member, expert member and inspector general of police were lying vacant and only the secretary of the commission was appointed.

The RTI reply further revealed that the MSHRC had 21,545 pending cases till March this year, the “highest in decade”, and only 433 cases have been disposed of this year due to non-availability of members.

The petitioner said most of the cases in the MSHRC are against police authorities regarding violation of human rights such as custodial torture/deaths, excessive use of force etc. and the commission, due to lack of sufficient staff, is unable to proceed with the cases and order departmental inquiries or other actions against errant police officers and pay compensation to victims.

“No regular appointments have been made to the MSHRC since July, 2018. The only adjudicatory member being the judicial member/acting chairperson retired on April 27 this year and this has left the commission entirely non-functional,” the PIL said, adding that the “inaction” by the state government shows “scant regard” to human rights of citizens.

The court will hear the plea in due course.

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