SC rejects NHRC plea against Army

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a PIL by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for a directive to the Centre to submit proper inquiry reports in cases of death of persons at the hands of Army personnel.

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 13

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a PIL by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for a directive to the Centre to submit proper inquiry reports in cases of death of persons at the hands of Army personnel.

A Bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana dismissed the petition even as NHRC maintained that under Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 it had the power to ask the Centre to inquire into the role of the Army in case of any death and submit a report.

The NHRC had filed the plea, citing the killing of a 17-year-old boy in the Kashmir valley recently following which it had sought a report from the Centre. In response, the Centre merely stated that the army was not guilty.

The NHRC counsel pleaded that the Centre’s refusal to submit a proper report had curtailed the commission’s power to take action in case of human rights violations. The commission sought an interpretation of Section 19 by the court so that it could direct the Centre to conduct an inquiry and submit a comprehensive report in such cases. This would enable the commission to take follow-up action to redress the grievances of victims. The Bench, however, said the Centre was well within its rights under Section 19 to take a stand that the Army could not be subjected to an inquiry. “We cannot direct the government to do something which is not contained in the statute,” it said.

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