PUCL Bulletin, July 2001

NHRC orders compensation to victim of Army harrassment

The National Human Rights Commission had directed the Cabinet Secretariat to pay Rs.30,000 as "immediate interim relief" to a victim of harassment and atrocities committed by Army personnel.

The Cabinet Secretariat has been asked to pay the compensation amount by May 30 this year; the relief is to be paid under section 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

According to a NHRC communication, "The commission had received a complaint from People's Union for Civil Liberties alleging that one Savitri Devi living in Chakrata near Dehra Dun had been subjected to harassment by Army personnel in December 1997".

"They had entered her house, destroyed household goods and misbehaved with her. They forcibly made her vacate the house and stay on the roads with her children during winter. She was also threatened that she will be killed if she disobeyed their orders. Her husband also suffered a heart attack because of the shock".

The Commission had issued a notice to the Secretary, ministry of defence, and to the State government of Uttar Pradesh. Response was received from SSP, Dehra Dun who had reported that upon investigation, the allegations were found to be true. His report also questioned the conduct of senior officials and observed that the Army personnel had been harassing the public of Chakrata. The civil police was not empowered to take any action against them.
Since the facts of the case did make out a strong prima -facie case of violation of human rights, the commission had issued a show cause notice to the MoD as to why an amount of Rs.30,000 is not awarded as immediate interim relief to the victim Ms. Savitri Devi.

The MoD had informed the commission that the matter related to Special Frontier Force personnel, which was under the preview of the Cabinet Secretariat, and hence a notice was issued to the Cabinet Secretariat which said that they had no objection to the payment of the compensation proposed by NHRC as the compensation amount was not large.

The Secretariat also informed the commission that the officers alleged to be guilty in this case, had since been reverted back to the Indian Army.

They would direct the MoD to initiate departmental proceedings against the delinquent officials and take appropriate disciplinary action if the charges were established.

Home | Index