Tripura to set up human rights commission

Agartala, Oct 19 (IANS) The Left Front government in Tripura on Monday decided to constitute the much expected state human rights commission to deal with issues of human rights and cases of their violation, a minister announced.

“The state government in today’s (Monday) cabinet meeting decided to set up a human rights commission. Necessary rules and regulations were approved by the council of ministers,” Information and Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha told reporters.

He said: “After completion of some formalities, the commission is expected to be formed by January next year.”

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, while participating in a discussion here recently, said his government was keen on the commission but paucity of suitable retired judges had become a stumbling block.

“According to rules, the commission chairman has to be a retired Supreme Court judge or retired high court chief justice. For many years, we looked for such a retired judge but failed,” he said.

“In 2007, the state government constituted the Police Accountability Commission, with provisions to protect the human rights of the state’s people. Cases of human rights violations are extremely low in Tripura,” said Sarkar, who holds the home portfolio.

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 recently said it was the statutory duty of the state governments to set up 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 strongly and repeatedly recommending setting up of state commissions, they have not been set up.

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

Various political parties in Tripura have been demanding a rights panel in the state.

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