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One year on, AHRC still without a chairperson

By MAMATA MISHRA
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GUWAHATI, Dec 8 - Assam will celebrate this year�s World Human Rights Day on December 10 with a near-defunct Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) awaiting appointments by the State government to make it functional again.

The AHRC has 337 pending cases of rights violation as of today. For more than a year now, it is not just in a headless state, but is functioning with only one member, a quorum not sufficient to dispose of the pending cases.

Ironically, though the Commission has issued a notice to the District Magistrate of Kamrup (Metro) seeking a detailed enquiry report on the condition of people losing their homes in the State government�s eviction exercise in the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, and steps taken for their rehabilitation, it is less likely that the sufferers would get any relief from the AHRC side, even if the report reaches its table within the stipulated 30 days.

�In the absence of a division bench, the Commission is unable to pass any order or recommend compensation for those whose rights have been violated. Amchang is a recent incident, but hundreds of such enquiry reports on rights violation have come to us, but we are helpless,� Judicial Member of the Commission and the lone musketeer of the three-member panel of the Commission, Naba Kamal Bora said. Though Bora was appointed in March this year, a non-judicial member in the commission has not been appointed since February, 2013.

Sources privy to the developments told The Assam Tribune that Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi has also enquired about the present status of the AHRC.

After the last Chairman of the AHRC completed his tenure in November 2016, the State government has been looking for a retired High Court Chief Justice willing to serve as AHRC chief.

As per statutory provisions, a committee comprising the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition decides on the members of the rights panel.

While in a headless state, the rights body has received 290 fresh cases of rights violation since December 15, 2016, and clubbed with the 97 old cases brought forward, the number stood at 387.

�Of those, 51 cases which did not merit a probe by the AHRC, were disposed of by the judicial member. All the present cases either need investigation or are awaiting disposal,� sources said. From Dec 2011 to Aug 2016, it disposed of 2,006 cases of human rights violation. Monetary compensation worth Rs 84 lakh was also recommended in 26 such cases during the period.

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One year on, AHRC still without a chairperson

GUWAHATI, Dec 8 - Assam will celebrate this year�s World Human Rights Day on December 10 with a near-defunct Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) awaiting appointments by the State government to make it functional again.

The AHRC has 337 pending cases of rights violation as of today. For more than a year now, it is not just in a headless state, but is functioning with only one member, a quorum not sufficient to dispose of the pending cases.

Ironically, though the Commission has issued a notice to the District Magistrate of Kamrup (Metro) seeking a detailed enquiry report on the condition of people losing their homes in the State government�s eviction exercise in the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, and steps taken for their rehabilitation, it is less likely that the sufferers would get any relief from the AHRC side, even if the report reaches its table within the stipulated 30 days.

�In the absence of a division bench, the Commission is unable to pass any order or recommend compensation for those whose rights have been violated. Amchang is a recent incident, but hundreds of such enquiry reports on rights violation have come to us, but we are helpless,� Judicial Member of the Commission and the lone musketeer of the three-member panel of the Commission, Naba Kamal Bora said. Though Bora was appointed in March this year, a non-judicial member in the commission has not been appointed since February, 2013.

Sources privy to the developments told The Assam Tribune that Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi has also enquired about the present status of the AHRC.

After the last Chairman of the AHRC completed his tenure in November 2016, the State government has been looking for a retired High Court Chief Justice willing to serve as AHRC chief.

As per statutory provisions, a committee comprising the Chief Minister, the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition decides on the members of the rights panel.

While in a headless state, the rights body has received 290 fresh cases of rights violation since December 15, 2016, and clubbed with the 97 old cases brought forward, the number stood at 387.

�Of those, 51 cases which did not merit a probe by the AHRC, were disposed of by the judicial member. All the present cases either need investigation or are awaiting disposal,� sources said. From Dec 2011 to Aug 2016, it disposed of 2,006 cases of human rights violation. Monetary compensation worth Rs 84 lakh was also recommended in 26 such cases during the period.