Human Rights Law Network


Media Reports

HRLN fight against Racism

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Reingamphi Awungshi was found dead in her rented flat in a south Delhi neighbourhood on 29 May 2013. She was 21 from Manipur.It has been less than a year since her death, and it would have been forgotten, the case closed, if it wasn’t for Golmei, an activist and founder-member of Burma Centre Delhi and Human Rights Law Network. The police were refusing to file a first information report (FIR). The same night even before the post-mortem was completed, the police announced that it was a suicide and the injuries to her face, legs, and feet were caused by rats after her death. The next day after the post-mortem the police told Reingamphi’s relatives and friends to take her body from the mortuary, and that the case was closed.

The protesters didn’t budge until the case was transferred to the crime branch, and on 3 June, an FIR was finally registered for murder. The Human Rights Law Network is fighting the case for free. The latest test reports conclude that no drugs or poison were found in her body, and that there was semen on her clothes, though the cause of death is still not clear.

The court has ordered a DNA test to see if the semen matches that of Reingamphi’s landlord and his brother-in-law, both of whom had access to her house from a back door which was found open when her body was discovered,” says Amiy Shukla, the lawyer who is handling the case.

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UP opposes CBI probe into Muzaffarnagar riots

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New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday opposed a plea for a CBI probe into the Muzaffarnagar riots, and told the Supreme Court that it did everything to contain the violence that broke out in September 2013.

"We have done everything at our command and to the best of our ability in containing the riots. There was no complicity of state police in the riots," counsel UU Lalit told the bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Ranjan Gogoi. 

The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions, including from Mohammed Haroon, Supreme Court Bar Association, Meerut district-based Jat Mahasabha and NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and relief measures like equal compensation to all the riot victims. The Uttar Pradesh government too moved the court. Lalit told the court that everything would go haywire if the riot cases were transferred to the CBI at this stage as Uttar Pradesh Police has already investigated the cases and filed charge sheets in some of them.

He said there was no discrimination in the distribution of compensation. The perception that victims from the minority community got more compensation was wrong. The court was told there were many more victims from the minority community than from those belonging to other communities. On an intervention by counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for one of the petitioners, the court asked Lalit to explain why there were differences in the grant of compensation. 

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Verdict brought closure to legal battle (Case Study)

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Around 11 am on January 21, as the three-judge bench at the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, Arun Kumar, thought he had not heard the verdict correctly.

According to the order, the death sentences of his elder brother Sanjeev Kumar and his wife Sonia had been commuted, on the grounds of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions.

The couple, who have been in custody for more than 12 years, will now spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

The verdict brought closure to the legal battle Arun and his family had been fighting since 2004, after the Hissar sessions court sentenced the couple to death for the murders of eight family members of Sonia’s maternal family in 2001.

“Ever since, we have been getting nightmares that the two would be hanged,” said 33-year-old Arun, a sales executive with a diagnostic lab in Delhi.

While exploring all possible options to save the couple, Arun realised that the wait for a response to the mercy petition could be endless. While the Haryana governor took eight months to decide on the plea, the President sat on it for almost six years. “Every activity of the government authorities related to death row convicts is shrouded in secrecy. 

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Hope at death's door: why it's good news for 400 convicts

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Few can understand the relevance of the January 21 Supreme Court (SC) verdict on death row convicts better than Arulselvi. The 40-year-old assistant professor at Tamil Nadu’s Annamalai University is the younger sister of Arivu, who, with two others, faces capital punishment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. 

The SC verdict will have a direct bearing on Arivu’s case as the group has been seeking to commute the death penalty served to them because of a delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions.

Hailed as a landmark judgement in capital punishment jurisprudence, the SC commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts on the grounds of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions by the President, and set out guidelines to protect the rights of condemned prisoners. 

The SC verdict will also impact the case of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, convicted in a 1993 bomb blast case in Delhi, in which nine people were killed. “The verdict has given us a ray of hope. I am sure that while hearing the writ petition for my brother, the SC will consider the January 21 verdict,” said Arulselvi.

The pendency or the time lapse between the SC pronouncing capital punishment and the President deciding on the mercy petition has been 13 years in the case of Arivu, Murugan and Santhan. It has been 10 years in Bhullar’s case. 

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Supreme Court asks Centre, States to respond to a petition alleging "blatant violation" of fundamental rights of prisoners

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New Delhi, Sep 13: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre, all the states and Union Territories to respond to a petition alleging "blatant violation" of fundamental rights of prisoners, especially the indigent and juveniles in jails across the country.

A bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai issued notices and asked the Centre, state governments and UT administrations to file their replies within four weeks.

The PIL, filed by a Delhi-based HRLN lawyer Suma Sebastian, has said the 1983 Mulla panel recommendations on prison reforms have not been implemented in letter and spirit and despite the law being in force; the poor and juveniles are languishing in jails.

The petition has sought a direction for immediate release of those under trials who are "held solely on bailable offences and have been in jails for longer than one week."

Those under trials, who are in jails for longer than half of the maximum sentence, be released, it said, adding, if the probe continues beyond the stipulated period of "60 or 90 days" (depending on the nature of the offence), the accused may be released.

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Human Rights Law Network (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.

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.