NHRC's three-days Camp Sitting and Open Hearing concludes at Bhubaneswar, Odisha (11.01.2017)


Bhubaneswar, 11th January, 2017

The National Human Rights Commission, which has got the mandate under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, held its camp sitting and open hearing in Bhubaneswar, Odisha from 9th to 11th January, 2017. On the first day, complaints received from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes about alleged violation of human rights by public servants, in response to the public notice, were considered. The three benches considered a total of 107 complaints. Of these, 47, cases were finally disposed off in two cases, spot enquiries by a team of NHRC/Special Rapporteur were ordered. In two cases, spot enquiries by a team of NHRC/Special Rapporteur were ordered. In five cases, monetary relief of Rs. 4.65 lakh was recommended. In one case of prima facie violation of human rights, a show cause notice under section 18 of the PHR Act was issued. In the remaining cases, further reports from concerned authorities/comments from the complainants were called.

On the second day, 25 important cases of human rights violation were considered by the Full Commission. These include cases of alleged violations in KBK district, POSCO project, practice of witchcraft, death of infants in hospital, mal-nutrition, child labour, deaths due to electrocution and Japanese encephalitis. In ten cases of electrocution, the Commission recommended monetary relief of Rs. 23.10 lakhs. In addition, the Commission was informed that in one case of denial of scholarship to tribal students an amount of Rs. 50,000 had been paid to the five victim students. This case was, therefore, closed in the light of compliance received from authorities. In cases of electrocution, the State Government was pro-active in indicating its agreement to pay monetary relief to the victim families and therefore, these cases were also closed. Thus, the Commission could recommend Rs. 27.75 lakhs as compensation/monetary relief in 15 cases and 59 out of 132 cases considered could be closed in view of positive response and the succor provided to the victims in these cases.

On the last day, the Commission took up for consideration six cases in the Division Bench. Upon consideration of the reports received, two cases were closed in once case, against a recommendation of monetary relief of Rs. one lakh the State Govt. had paid Rs. 1.5 lakh and in the light of the compliance, the case was closed. In another case, the State Government did not dispute that the victim had died due to consumption of poison while in police custody the Commission, therefore, issued a show cause notice under section 18 of the PHR Act, for payment of monetary relief of Rs. one lakh to the NoK of the deceased. Reports received in two other cases were taken on record for further consideration.

During discussion with NGOs following points emerged:

1. There is need to ensure human rights education in the curriculum of schools, both Govt. and private. Sensitization on programmes on human rights should also be held in universities and college. NHRC provides support for such programmes.
2. Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is highest in Kandhamal district. Need to look at genetic diseases like Hemophilia etc
3. Need to strengthen the SHRC
4. By filling all existing vacancies and physical infrastructure
5. Need for monitoring of renewal of Blood bank licenses
6. Need for effective implementation of Forest Rights Act
7. Timely submission of Reports sought by NHRC from State Govt.

During discussion with the State Government officers, the State Govt. expressed its willingness to address most of the above issues. In respect of the remaining issues, the Commission will continue to monitor progress/action by the State Govt.