SC issues notice in plea to set up Human Rights Courts

SC issues notice in plea to set up Human Rights Courts

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre and  the States, after hearing a petition, for establishment of Human Rights Courts in every district of the country. The said petition was heard by a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.

The establishment of such Courts in each district of the Country is mandated under Sections 30 and 31 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993,  which state that the State Government in concurrence with the Chief Justice of the High Court to specify to each district, a court of Human Rights for speedy trials of violation of rights and appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for the court. The notice from Supreme Court comes after more than a quarter of a century of the Act coming into force.

The Petition filed by the Bhavika Phore, a law student, seeks direction from the Supreme Court to the Central Government to provide adequate funds to establish these Courts in all 725 districts in 29 states and 7 union territories. The plea refers to the surge of custodial deaths and police brutality in the country referring to the abuse of power by the police suffered by many individuals.

The petitioner makes an allusion to the records by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), from 2001 to 2010 which indicate 14,231 deaths in police and judicial custody, a distinct majority of these deaths were a direct consequence of custodial torture. 

The PIL filed through Advocate  Manoj V. George also refers to the India Human Rights Report 2018, published by the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor which illustrates the reality of various violations such as police brutality, torture, excess custodial and encounter deaths, horrible conditions in prison and detention centers, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention, denial of fair public trial. 

Today, such Courts, have been established in various states including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, but even these states do not have these Courts operating in all districts.