Lucknow, 17th January, 2014

"A Camp Sitting of the National Human Rights Commission was held at Lucknow from 15th to 17th January, 2014. Ninety cases of death in police encounter and death in police custody were taken up. A total amount of Rupees One Crore Twenty Lakh Fifty Thousand was recommended by the Commission to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased persons in 25 cases. During the hearing of the cases the Commission noticed that there was considerable room for improvement in CBCID investigation of encounters and custodial death cases. The Commission also explained to the police officers that the criminals may be a menace to the society but the rule of law must prevail and nobody should be deprived of life otherwise than in accordance with law. Three cases involving the issue of protection and security of boys and girls in Children Homes, denial of access to government hospitals and manual scavenging were also taken up. An amount of Rs. Fifteen Thousand was also recommended by the Commission for payment to a lady who was denied admission in a government hospital at Bahraich and delivered baby on the roadside.

The Commission had interaction with some NGOs. They complained that the police was insensitive and biased against women. An NGO which had given shelter to a victim of sexual assault complained that the accused persons attacked its office and forcibly took away two female workers. Although the police was informed, no action was taken against the perpetrators.

The Commission also discussed various issues of socio-economic importance with the senior officers of the State Government. The issue of rehabilitation of the victims of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli was taken up. About 51,000 persons displaced from their native villages took shelter in 58 camps in the two districts. The Government stated that now there are only two major camps and some satellite camps in which 2600 displaced persons are staying. The others have either returned to their native place or have settled at other places. The Commission appreciates that the rehabilitation of 51000 displaced persons was a daunting task and the State Government has by and large done a good job. However, it was pointed out to the State Government that the medical facilities and the camps were not adequate and the same need improvement. It was stated by the Government that 47 persons including children have died in the camps till 3rd December, 2013. The Commission asked the State Government to look into the cause of death of these persons and give reasonable compensation to the bereaved families. The State Government was also asked to provide adequate protection against winter to the persons staying in the camps. It was reported by the State Government that 13 cases of violence against women were registered and no arrest has been made so far in these cases. The Commission asked the Government to ensure quick and expeditious action in these cases so that the displaced women feel safe and secure.

The Commission also made a review of the implementation of various welfare schemes launched by the Central Government and State Government. The Commission expressed concern that even after forty years of the launching ICDS scheme, the State Government did not have a data on mal-nutrition. The Government explained that weighing machines have now been provided at the Anganwadi centers and W.H.O's monitoring chart have also been provided to the concerned agencies to ensure that nutritious food is provided.

The general complaint regarding non-provision of work in MNREGA scheme and delayed payment of wages was also discussed. The State Government explained that a helpline has been launched and complaints regarding non-provision of work under MNREGA may be made on the said helpline. It was also stated by the State Government that compensation equivalent to the 25 per cent of the wages shall be paid to the worker if he does not receive payment within the prescribed period. Rules for payment of such compensation are being framed on the basis of notification issued by the Government of India on 24th September, 2013.

The various issues raised by the NGOs were also brought to the notice of the State Government. The Chairperson of the Commission emphasized that if the police refuses to register complaints of certain offences against women, the non-registration of FIR has now been made punishable under the law. The State Government was asked to sensitize the police officers about the new provisions introduced in law."