Human Rights Law Network

Media Reports

J&K people have lost faith in judiciary

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Srinagar, June 21

Former Chief Justice of Orissa High Court and chairperson of SHRC Bihar, Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki Saturday accused J&K SHRC acting chairperson Rafiq Fida of being a worker of ruling National Conference.

J&K SHRC Acting chairperson was polling agent of Chief Minister and how he can deliver justice to the common masses,” Nazki said while addressing a day-long meeting on human rights and law with emphasis on J&K organised by Human Rights Law Network, here.

He said the vote was a powerful tool in the hands of people and it forced Chief Minister to order probe in 2010 killings. “It was possible only because people reacted in a proper channel by voting against the government”.

He, however, sarcastically criticised the Inquiry Commission saying, “We know what will be the report of the Commission". Asserting that problems will be solved if people believe in rule of law, Nazki said, “The current judicial system in the State has failed the people. Giving example of Jaleel Andrabi case, he said, “Had the judgment been respected, even family of the accused person could have been saved as he later killed himself and family in Canada”.Nazki said 99 percent of Indians see Kashmir as a “burden” and think that Kashmir is not their part.

Referring to Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, he said nobody is explaining why the senior separatist leader is under house arrest from last over four years and why Masrat Alam was being continuously booked under PSAs. “Why no one is taking responsibility? Where is the law?”

In his introductory remarks, Senior Supreme Court Senior Advocate, Colin Gonsalves said J&K people have lost faith in judiciary.

He, however, said for victims, even if there is no hope, a small ray of hope or chance is worth taking. When you see no future, still take what you get. Giving examples of ‘hope’, he said nobody could have imagined the powerful judgments of acquittal of Rajiv Gandhi assassins, Bhular case or fake encounters of Manipur.


Relief for Kandhamal victims a priority, not churches: SC

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Observing that “most churches get funds from foreign governments”, the Supreme Court said its primary concern was to ensure financial relief to the families of people killed in the Kandhamal riots of 2008 in Odisha rather than help rebuild the churches destroyed in the religious violence.

The Supreme Court has been monitoring the relief and rehabilitation measures for victims since 2008 on the basis of a petition filed by the State’s Archbishop Raphael Cheenath.

The Court’s observation came after a submission by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsel for the victims, who argued that the Supreme Court should also direct the State government to provide funds to help rebuild the churches and religious structures that were “razed to the ground” during the violence.


Rules on Jail Visitors Board face stiff objection

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Delhi government to submit copies of the Delhi Prisons Act, 1988, as well as the old and new rules framed by it regarding a Jail Visiters’ Board in the capital, after a number of PILs raised objections the rules governing the watchdog body.

Last year, the Delhi High Court directed the government to create a Jail Visitors Board — a watchdog body mandated under the Delhi Prisons Act, 1988, to keep an eye on condition of prisoners in jail — after a number of PILs were filed regarding problems in jails. In May 2014, the Delhi government notified the Jail Visitors Panel and rules governing the body. The panel of visitors, including a panel of officials and a separate panel of non-officials from NGOs and other organisations, was created in March this year, and rules regarding the panel were notified in May. However, during the hearing before the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S End law on Tuesday, objections were raised against the notified rules.

Advocate Colin Gonsalves of Human Rights Law Network and Advocate Anant Asthana said that the Panel has been constituted under rules which were created for the Delhi Prisons Act, 1988. However, the Act was modified in 2000, and the government created fresh rules in May this year


Cos use foreign money for political funding. Isn’t that influencing polls?

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A recent Intelligence Bureau (IB) report has claimed that some well-known NGOs are working to stall economic development at the behest of their foreign donors. Activists and rights groups have been up in arms ever since the report was leaked. In an interview with Fawaz Shaheen, Colin Gonsalves, eminent Supreme Court lawyer, constitutional expert and founder of the Human Rights Law Network, discusses foreign funding and the fears of India's civil rights activists:

The leaked IB report claims that under the garb of "people-centric issues" certain NGOs are working to stall development projects, resulting in a loss of about 2-3 % of the GDP. Do you agree with this assessment? 
Not at all, this is an issue of environmental protection. Let's take the nuclear energy issue. There are some sections of society that point out its adverse effects. These are not people who are anti-national. It is their point of view, in the nation's interest, that India should go towards renewable sources of energy and that nuclear power is dangerous. We must recognize that these activists are doing a public service, which many people may disagree with. But they don't have the state power to enforce their point of view, all they can do is they can write and talk. That is a constitutionally protected activity. 


10 years on, Justice eludes Manorama Devi's family

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Almost 10 years have passed since the brutal rape and murder of Manipur's Manorama Devi that shocked the nation and exposed the abuse of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in North-East India. Little has been done by the Government to bring the perpetrators behind the bar even after a decade of protest.

The protest intensified with Iron Lady of Manipur Irom Charu Sharmila fasting for almost 14 years demanding Government's attention to human rights violation in Manipur and repealing of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Friday was the tenth anniversary of the killing of 34-year-old Thangjam Manorama Devi in Manipur allegedly by Assam Rifles personnel and people from different groups like human rights, political groups and democratic rights who held a protest march in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

This case of Manorama Devi has become a very symbolic case because after this incident on July 11, 2004, 12 women held a naked protest in Imphal. From this moment this movement became very symbolic against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Armed Forces Special powers act(AFSPA) is a draconian act and the Supreme Court says that it should be repealed but till now nothing has been done in this direction," says Rojio Usham from Manipur who has protesting at Jantar Mantar demanding repealing of AFSPA.

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HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.