Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
Supreme Court issues notice in plea to set up Human Rights Courts in every District

Supreme Court issues notice in plea to set up Human Rights Courts in every District

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Central government and States in a petition seeking the establishment of Human Rights courts in every district in the country.

The petition filed by a law student, Bhavika Phore was heard by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.

The petitioner has sought direction to the Centre and States to fulfil their obligations under the Protection of Human Rights act, 1993 (Act).

One of the main objectives and legislative intent of the Act is to set up special Human Right Courts in each district for the better protection of Human Rights and also to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for the same, the petition states.

Section 30 of the Act envisages that the State Government with the concurrence of Chief Justice of High Court by notification shall specify for each district a Court of Session as a Court of Human Rights for speedy trial of offences concerning violation of Human Rights.

Section 31 of the Act provides that the State Government shall specify and appoint Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases in such courts.

However, even after more than a quarter of a century since the enactment of the law, the respondents have failed to establish Human Rights Courts envisaged under the Act, the petitioner submits.

Citing various reports and studies on Human Rights Practices in India, the petition states that protection of Human Rights in India is in a very bad state

“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 India. 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….

On 9 March 2010, Minster of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India stated in the Lok Sabha that the National Human Rights Commission registered 39 cases of rape from judicial and police custody from 2006 to 2010 up to 28 February 2010. These included 9 cases, including 2 in judicial custody and 7 in police custody, in 2006-2007; 17 cases, including 2 in judicial custody and 15 in police custody, in 2007-2008; 7 cases, including 2 in judicial custody and 5 in police custody, in 2008-2009; and 6 cases, including 1 in judicial custody and 5 in police custody in 2009-2010 up to 28 February 2010.”

The petitioner has, therefore, made the following prayers:

  • Direct the respondent States to set up Human Rights Courts for each district across the country and also appoint special public prosecutors to conduct speedy trial of offence arising out of Human Rights violation, compulsorily within a specified time limit preferably within 3 months.
  • Direct Registrars of all High Courts to enable the establishment of the Human Rights Courts in all the 725 districts in 29 states and 7 Union Territories in a time bound manner and also to the Respondent No.1 to provide sufficient and adequate funds for setting up of the same.

In May 2019, the Delhi High Court had issued notice in a plea seeking a direction to the Delhi Government to establish a State Human Rights Commission for Delhi.

[Read Order]