The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Central government, the States and the Union Territories on the prolonged delay for over a quarter of a century to establish exclusive human rights courts in each district and appointing special public prosecutors in them.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi agreed to hear the petition filed by law student Bhavika Phore, represented by advocate Manoj V. George.
The Human Rights Act had called for the establishment of special courts in each district to conduct speedy trial of offences arising out of violation and abuse of human rights.
Section 30 of the Act envisages that a State government, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of High Court, by notification, specify for each district a court of session as a court of human rights for the speedy trial of violation of rights. Whereas Section 31 of the Act provides the State government to specify and appoint a special public prosecutor in that court.
“To uphold and protect the basic and fundamental rights of an individual it is an indispensable obligation upon the State to provide affordable, effective and speedy trial of offences related to violation of human rights which can only be achieved by setting up special courts in each district as provided under the Act,” the petition said.
The “recent India Human Rights Report 2018, which was published by the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor provide a deep reality into the sad state of affairs in India,” it said.
The report threw light on various rights violations such as police brutality, torture and excess custodial and encounters deaths, horrible conditions in prisons and detention centres, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention, denial of fair public trial, the petition said.
From 2001 to 2010, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded that 14,231 i.e. 4.33 persons died in police and judicial custody in the country. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010, and a large majority of these deaths being a direct consequence of torture in custody, the petition said.