PUCL UP Goes to the High Court Again

Absence of a State Human Rights Commission Leads to Increase in Suppression of Rights, Demoralization of People - PUCL Takes the Case of Mandeep Singh to Court

See earlier report

In three different cases filed up by the UP PUCL the High Court asked the State Government to constitute a State Human Rights Commission. In the absence of any steps to do so the UP PUCL filed a writ petition in the High Court asking for the establishment of such a commission. The High Court gave the Government three months to do so, which period expired on April 12,2000. The UP PUCL filed a contempt petition against the Chief Minister and the Court directed that the a counter affidavit be filed within two weeks. Neither the counter was filed nor the State Human Rights Commission was established.
The UP PUCL in this case has again tried, among other things, for the establishment of such a commission. The above petition was taken up by the Lucknow Bench of the UP High Court on July 4,2000, by honourable Justice SHA Raza and honorable Justice RP Nigam. The judges were pleased to order as follows:

"…. Learned Standing Counsel Shri AH Rizvi vehemently submits that the present writ petition is filed on the basis of allegation published in the media which can not be basis of interference by this Court. He requested this Court shortest possible time to file a counter affidavit.

"We are of the view that in such matter the court should act with promptitude, because inaction in such matter may result into a catastrophe. Mandeep Singh has already immolated himself due to shock alleged non-fulfillment of the promises and alleged harassment Smt. Malkit Kaur may endanger her life.

"Hence at the present juncture, we direct the State Government to fulfill the assurances and promise, which might have been made by the Chief Minister of the State within a week. The question as to whether the investigation of the case may be transferred to the CBI or whether the family deserves to be paid compensation on account of sad demise of late Mandeep Singh and compensation for the alleged harassment by the police person with the family, after the death of Mandeep Singh will be decided later on.

"It would be exclusively the responsibility of the Director General of Police to see that mother and brothers of late Mandeep Singh Sondhi be not subjected to any harassment either by the police or officials of the CBCID, we further provide that the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow, along with a copy of the order, will visit the place where Smt. Malkit Singh is sitting on Dharna and explain to her that People's Union for Civil Liberties has already filed a writ petition, in which certain orders have been passed and she should be rest assured that Justice should be done to her (emphasis ours -Ch. Ed.), hence she should desist from taking any drastic step to endanger her life in any manner whatsoever.

"Let a response be filed by the additional Chief Standing Counsel within a week. List this petition on 24th July 2000. On that date the principal secretary/ Home Secretary of the state of UP shall appear in person before this court to explain as to what action has been taken by the State Government with regard to alleged promises which were made to the family of late Mandeep Singh Sondhi. He will also indicate as to why in spite of insurance of a writ in the nature of Mandamus the State Government has not constituted the state Human Rights commission, particularly when the violation of Human Rights is highest in the State of UP".

- O.D. Singh, Gen Sec. PUCL UP

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(PUCL Bulletin, Aug 2000)