National Human Rights Commission told Supreme Court on Wednesday ‘that it has become a toothless mailbox’ as the government does not cooperate with its operations.
“It is so bad that the government behaves this way. NHRC is impaired by red-tapism,” NHRC counsel Gopal Subramaniam told Supreme Court.
The apex court was hearing petitions regarding the human rights violations and extra-judicial killings that occurred in Manipur. A petition filed by the organisation – Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association – pointed towards the absence of accountability for the security forces when it comes in the case of human rights violations. The petitioner says that it is a registered trust having as its members the wives and mothers of persons whom they say have been extra-judicially executed by the Manipur Police and the security forces (mainly the Assam Rifles and the Army).
Expressing their views on this matter the NHRC counsel said that it is very important to make the security forces accountable for the human rights violations. He said that the army or security agencies refuse to give any details about cases if there are allegations of human rights violation.
However, the Attorney General on behalf of the central government said that NHRC has limited powers. “NHRC can give recommendations only,” said AG.
But Gopal Subramaniam said that NHRC has the authority to ask the information regarding the violations, as a responsible human rights watchdog.
“In Manipur, it took three years to get an information regarding a case of alleged human rights violation. NHRC is a responsible fact-finding body. No government can say it is not accountable for violation of human rights,” said Subramaniam.