400 cases pending for disposal at Assam Human Rights Commission
• Over 400 cases are pending for disposal at the Assam Human Rights Commission
• The AHRC is operating with only one member leading to delay in case disposal
• The post of chairperson as well as non-judicial member is currently lying vacant
• AHRC receives around 25 cases on an average every month
• There has been a decline in the disposal rate over the years
• The commission has taken suo moto cognisance in the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary eviction drive
• AHRC will observe Human Rights Day on December 10 in Nagaon this year
Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been operating without a chairperson for the past one year, leading to non-disposal of around 400 pending cases.
The AHRC registers cases involving violations of human rights from all over the state. The commission also takes suo moto cognisance in various cases.
However, the AHRC is functioning with only one member at present. The commission is required to have a chairperson who should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court, a non-judicial member and a judicial member.
The post of the chairperson has been lying vacant in AHRC since November 2016. On the other hand, the non-judicial member retired in 2013 and the post is yet to be filled.
Due to this, around 400 cases are pending for posting before the division bench for final disposal, said AHRC officials. The commission receives cases related to custodial deaths, any form of violation of human rights and medical negligence among others.
“It becomes very difficult to function without a chairperson. There are several cases in which I have called for reports after registering the case, but they cannot be disposed off without a chairperson or the non-judicial member,” said member of AHRC, Naba Kamal Bora.
He added that the AHRC receives around 25 cases on an average every month.
As per the AHRC data, the Commission registered a total of 1603 cases between 2013 and November 2017 and took suo moto cognisance in 109 cases during this period. Further, 217 cases of custodial deaths were registered between 2013 and 2017.
Additionally, the total number of cases disposed over the years has seen a steady decline. In 2014, a total of 418 cases were disposed off while 2015 saw 309 disposed cases. In 2016, 282 cases were disposed and only 38 in 2017.
The commission can also give suggestions in different cases regarding departmental proceedings against the accused or recommend for compensations to the victims or their families.
Suo moto cognisance of Amchang evictions
Bora said that the commission has taken suo moto cognisance in the eviction drive which was carried out by the district administration and the forest department at the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in Kamrup district.
The eviction drive which was carried out on November 27 and 28 rendered more than 700 families homeless. A school was also demolished during the eviction.
After protests by the settlers, the police had resorted to lathi-charge, tear gas shells and firing of rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of protestors.
Bora informed, “We have asked for the report in the Amchang case regarding relief and rehabilitation of those displaced and education for their children. The report will be submitted after due inquiry is conducted.”
The AHRC will also observe Human Rights Day on December 10 in Nagaon this year, said officials. Various awareness programmes on human rights will be held between different stakeholders.
Further, continuous awareness programmes will also be organised in different districts from January onwards.