Lack of judges stalling formation of rights panel: Tripura CM

Agartala, July 28 (IANS) The Tripura government is keen to constitute a human rights commission but paucity of suitable retired judges has become a stumbling block in forming the rights body, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here on Tuesday.

“We had initiated the process to constitute the state human rights commission many years back but lack of suitable retired judges to head the body has become an obstacle to form the constitutional body,” Sarkar said.

He said: “According to the rule, a retired high court chief justice or a retired Supreme Court judge must be the chairman of the state human rights commission. For many years we are looking for such a retired judge but failed.”

A few years back, we proposed to share the authority of the Assam human rights commission, but the Assam government did not respond positively, Sarkar said.

“In 2007, the state government had constituted the Police Accountability Commission with provisions to protect human rights of the people. Cases of human rights violations are extremely low in Tripura,” Sarkar added.

The Tripura Police Accountability Commission has been constituted under the Tripura Police Act, 2007 with the powers of a civil court to summon and enforce attendance of witnesses under the civil procedure code 1908.

The Supreme Court on Friday had said it was the statutory duty of the state governments to set up state human rights commissions.

A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice R. Banumathi in their judgment said it was a matter of regret that despite the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) strongly and repeatedly recommending setting up of state commissions, they have not been set up.

The court directed the Tripura, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland governments to set up human rights commissions.

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