BENGALURU: Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), which recently faced flak from the High Court for its inaction against police excesses during the Mahadayi agitations, is overburdened with several pending cases and is functioning without a head, an RTI reply reveals.
The Commission, which remains headless for more than four years, has 13,635 pending cases till March this year.
The RTI filed by Onlinerti.com also revealed that there is a decline in the number of departmental actions taken against errant officials and interim compensation awarded to victims by KSHRC over the past few years — 36 in 2007 to four in 2015.
KSHRC has remained headless since Justice S R Nayak’s term ended on July 25, 2012. The number of cases disposed of by the commission has also reduced from 5,760 in 2012 to 3,895 in 2015.
The Commission looks into human rights violations including police atrocities, custodial deaths, refusal of police to file FIR and denial of human rights of HIV/AIDS infected people.
At present, Meera Saxena, acting chairperson of the commission and member (judicial) C G Hunagund hear an average of ten cases a day.
“The existing two-member commission is overburdened and the disposal rate of cases by the commission has also come down due to the delay in the appointment of a head. We hope that the government will soon appoint a head to dispose cases quickly,” said Hunagund.
Stating that they are issuing orders based on the nature and gravity of violations, Hunagund said, “More than 60 per cent of complaints are against police atrocities.”
Y J Rajendra, a human rights activist from People’s Union for Civil Liberties, a human rights organisation, said, “The present acting chairperson is from an administrative background and not from the judiciary, which is a violation of the law. The government is delaying the appointment of a qualified person as the chairperson as the ruling party does not want an independent body which functions against human rights violations in the state.”
According to rules, the commission should have three members comprising a retired high court chief justice as chairperson, a retired high court judge as member and another member with eminent body of work in the field of human rights. The members are to be selected by a committee comprising the chief minister, home minister, the speaker and opposition leader in the assembly.