Commission calls for assistance for people displaced by land acquisitions
The Commission has taken the view that provisions relating to the resettlement
and rehabilitation of persons displaced by land acquisition for developmental
projects should form a part of the Land Acquisition Act itself (or an
appropriate separate legislation) so that they are justiciable.
Concerned with the plight of persons displaced by Mega projects, the Commission
has been perusing this matter with the Ministry of Rural Development,
Government of India, seeking to ensure the early finalization of a draft
policy on this subject.
A petition was received from the National Committee for Protection of
Natural Resources (NCPNR), wherein it was mentioned that the Land acquisition
Act, 1894, which was still in force and was proposed to being amended
by the Government, did not contain any provision for resettlement and
rehabilitation of the people affected by the projects. The Committee requested
that the Commission may consider this matter in its entirety and make
suitable recommendations to the Government, specially at a time when the
government was considering a comprehensive Land Acquisition (Amendment)
Bill, which did not deal with aspects relating to resettlement and rehabilitation.
Considering this issue in its meeting held on 21 December 2000, the Commission
decided to pursue this matter the Government. A detailed discussion was
held with the Secretary, and senior officials of the Ministry of the Development
on 13 February 2001. The Commission was informed that the Bill had been
finalized and was with the Ministry of law. The group of Ministers had
also considered and finalised the policy regarding rehabilitation and
resettlement. The Bill would now be submitted to the cabinet for consideration.
The Commission expressed the view that it was desirable to incorporate
the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) package in the Land Acquisition
Act itself as an I.L.O convention, to which India is a party, provides
for the protection of rights of indigenous and tribal people. In addition,
the incorporation of an R&R package in the law will ensure the R&R
of Project-Affected-People in a systemic manner. The provision for R&R
in the law itself will help to avoid litigation and consequent delays
and prevent cost overrun of the projects. Once the R&R package is
provided in the law, there will be uniformity in dealing with the cases
by the Courts. The R&R facilities should be provided in advance, before
actual acquisition of land takes place. The Commission also noted that,
in number of cases, land was acquired in excess of that which was required,
adversely affecting the land holders on the one hand wasting of the resources
of the State on the other, as the excess land was not put to use by the
project authorities. A properly drawn project document, with estimates
of expenditure involved in R&R, would curb this tendency. Further
in the interests of transparency and full information to the people likely
to be affected by a project, a Committee consisting of representatives
of Government, the industry/agency for which land is proposed to be acquired
and the project affected people, should have detailed consultations before
the land is acquired.
The Commission has asked the Secretary, Rural Development, to suitably
apprise the Minister, Rural Development Ministry of the views of the Commission.
Discussions are scheduled to being held with the Minister on 19 March
Show-cause notice issued to Delhi Government
The Commission has issued notice to the government of NCT of Delhi to
show cause as to why a sum of Rs. 3.00 Lakhs should not be awarded as
"immediate interim relief" for payment to the next of kin of
Mohd. Irshad Kahn, who had died in Police custody.
The Commission, on 17 October 2000, had taken cognizance of a report received
from DCP, North-East District, Delhi stating that one Mohd. Irshad Kahn
had been brutally to beaten to death by police officials. The police officers
had taken him to hospital, where he had been declared brought dead. Requisite
reports relating to the post mortem, magisterial inquiry and findings
relating to the cause of death were called for and received on 15 December
In the meantime, the commission also received a petition from the victim's
father alleging negligence and lack of cooperation by the police and administration.
According to reports received from the DCP, Delhi investigation conducted
in the case established the guilt of two police constables who, while
intervening in a scuffle between Shri Irshad and a rickshaw puller, had
beaten the former severely, resulting in his death. A charge sheet in
the case had been framed against the accused persons, and the matter was
to be tried in the competence court of law.
The Commission, while considering the material relating to the incident,
and the charge sheet for trial u/s 302 read with Section 34 IPC, observed
that a strong prima-facie case existed justifying the award of "immediate
interim relief" u/s 18(3) of the Protection of the Human Rights Act,
1993, to the next of kin of the deceased Shri Irshad. The Commission made
it clear that the award of this relief would not in any manner prejudicially
affects all or any of the accused persons who were to be tried, or even
the merits of the points, which arose for determination during the trial.
It was highlighted that, in a case like the present, "immediate interim
relief u/s 18 (3) of the Act, was relatable to the failure of the State
to protect the life of the victim in such circumstances.
The Commission has asked for a reply from the government of NCT of Delhi
by 16 March 2001.
Commission's Annual Report for the year 1998-'99 tabled in the parliament
Commission raises fundamental questions of equity and justice in the country
- calls for polices for ensuring economic and social rights.
The Annual report of the National Human Rights Commission for the year
1998-99 placed on the Table of he Rajya Sabha on 19 December 2000 and
of the Lok Sabha on 20 December 2000 by the Central Government along with
the Action Taken Report. This was the sixth Annual Report of the Commission;
it had been sent to the Government in October 1999.
Because of significant delays in the tabling of consecutive annual reports,
the commission has reiterated its recommendation that these should normally
be placed before the Parliament, together with the required Action Taken
Memoranda, not later than the session immediately following submission
of the Report. In this connection the Commission has also recommended
an amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 so as to enable
the commission to make the report public in case it not tabled within
three months of submission to the Central Government.
During the period under review, in the Report now tabled, the Commission
received 40,723 complaints, 54 percent of which were accounted fo4r by
the State of Uttar Pradesh alone - which is still without a State level
Human Rights Commission. The Commission felt that to meet the growing
expectation for swift and just redressal of human rights grievances, the
early setting up of State Human Rights Commission was absolutely necessary.
It called for greater political will that the State level, combined with
encouragement of the Central Government and the major political parties,
to precede conclusively in this direction.
In its Report, the Commission observed that there is a clear correlation
between lack of literacy, especially of the girl child, and infant morality
rates, malnutrition, and an adverse sex ratio. The Commission, therefore,
with increased stridency urged policies in the economic and social sector
that are truly responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable in society:
fee and compulsory education up to the age of 14; primary health facilities;
food and nutritional standards - all of which are necessary for ensuring
a life with human dignity.
Considering issues, which raised fundamental questions of equity and justice
in the country, the commission made significant recommendations fore the
protection of the rights of Dalits, populations displaced by mega projects,
especially tribals, children subjected to child labour, child prostitution,
women subjected to violence and discrimination and minorities subjected
to religious intolerance. It has also stressed to right to development,
which provides the integral link between civil and political rights and
economic, social, and cultural rights.
The Commission reviewed the matter of human rights violations in areas
of terrorism and insurgency and recommended that the menace of terrorism
must be fought not only by the armed and police forces, but also at the
political, economic and social levels, in a manner that respected human
rights, whatever the difficulties this may entail, It also recommended
greater transparency in dealing with those who may have been guilty of
human rights violations. In this respect, it reiterated its recommendation
that the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 be amended in respect of
the armed forces in the conduct of the operations and also discourage
unwarranted and propagandist charges against them. The Commission also
recommended that the security forces, when called up on act in aid of
civil authority, must continue to do so in close coordination with the
civil administration. Violations of human rights were far less likely
to occur when the role and responsibilities of the civil authorities under
the law was full respected, not least in respect of cordon and search
operations, arrest, interrogation and detention.
The Commission called for a time bound programme to be embarked upon for
the speedy clearance of criminal cases in the courts. It made a number
of recommendations in this regard and in respect of curbing custodial
violence. To keep the institutions of government in good repair, and stressing
importance of probity, civility and tolerance, the governance, the Commission
made a number of recommendations for reform of the police, the custodial
justice system, and their criminal justice system.
Among other major issues, the Commission focused in this Annual Report
on: the widespread prevalence of child marriage in certain parts of the
country, prevalence of maternal anaemia and the resultant disabilities
caused to children, the fate of those displaced by mega projects, prevalence
of child labour in a number of hazardous industries in the country, the
grave issue of child prostitution prevalence of bonded labour, the unsatisfactory
conditions prevailing in mental hospitals in the country, the inhuman
and degrading practice of manual handling of night soil, the problems
of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes and the need for human rights education
in the country. The attention of the Governments was drawn to these areas
and far-reaching recommendations were made to help tackle these problems.
In the period under review, there was a 9.6 per cent increase in the total
number of cases registered in the Commission. This reflected, both a heightened
awareness of human rights in the country, as well as the hope and belief
that the Commission would act promptly and impartially to secure the redressal
of grievances. During this period, the Commission considered 53,711 cases,
of which 47,061 were disposed of. The disposal of cases was 150 per cent
more in 1998-99 compared to the previous year. The Commission believes
that the disposal of cases could have been even better had there been
prompter and fuller responses to the notices of the Commission by the