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NHRC to hold Open Hearing and Camp Sitting at Thiruvananthapuram
Narendra Ch | 07 Apr 2015

A high level delegation of the National Human Rights Commission, led by Chairperson, Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, comprising Members, Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, Mr. Justice D. Murugesan, Mr. S.C. Sinha and senior officers will be holding a three day Open Hearing and Camp Sitting of the Commission on the matters related to Kerala at Government Guest House, Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram from the 8th - 10th April, 2015.

On the first day after the inauguration of the Open Hearing by the NHRC Chairperson at 10.00AM tomorrow on the 8th April, 2015, the Commission will hear the grievances and complaints related to atrocity committed by a public servant or of negligence by a public servant in prevention of atrocity against persons of Scheduled Castes and the problems they face in seeking justice from Government agencies. Public notice had been issued in local English and Malayalam dailies of Kerala inviting persons for the hearing of issues. Senior officers of the State Government shall remain present at the time of hearing of grievances of the complainants. In the afternoon, the Commission will hold a meeting with NGOs of the State on human rights issues at the same venue from 2.00 to 4.00 PM.

The next day, on the 9th April, 2015, the Commission in its Camp Sitting, at the same venue, will take up 24 cases in the Full Commission and Division Benches. These will include hundreds of linked matters relating to Endosulfan as well as issues of death in judicial custody/police action, vandalization of Church, exploitation and torture of tribal migrant victims of Waynad district, trafficking of children from other states to Kerala for admission in orphanages, harassment of handicapped candidates in examination, rehabilitation of landless Dalits adivasis & others, death of devotees in Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala, infants death in Attappady, child labour in children home, non-payment of pension etc.

On the concluding day of the Camp Sitting on the 10th April, 2015, the Commission will hold discussions with the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, DMs, SPs and other senior civil, police and jail officers of the State on the issues raised by the NGOs. 

On the conclusion of the Camp Sitting on the 10th April, 2015, the NHRC Chairperson and Members would brief the media at 12:30 p.m. about the outcome of the Open Hearing/Camp Sitting at Govt. Guest House, Thycad, Thiruvananthapuram.

The National Human Rights Commission has been organising Camp Sittings in different States with an aim to dispose of pending cases concerning one particular State by hearing the senior government officers; sensitize them about the importance of human rights issues and compliance of NHRC recommendations by them; meet the local NGOs to get an insight into the problems being faced by the people.

Since its inception, the Commission has been actively engaged in protection and promotion of the rights of Scheduled Castes. Apart from taking cognizance suo-motu and on complaints relating to atrocities against Scheduled Castes, the Commission has also engaged key stakeholders on the issue; published booklets; and held training programmes and workshops aimed at sensitizing various stakeholders on the issue so as to eliminate atrocities, discrimination, and any other form of violation of their human rights.

The National Human Rights Commission, being deeply concerned about the atrocities against persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, requested Mr. K.B. Saxena, IAS (Retd.) to carry out a study in this regard and suggest appropriate recommendations. Accordingly, Mr. Saxena undertook the study and submitted his comprehensive and detailed report. This report is available on the website of Commission i.e. www.nhrc.nic.in. Among the recommendations Mr. Saxena made was one that the Commission organise at least one Open Hearing a year "where the victims of major atrocities can present their experiences and grievances in seeking justice from Government agencies.

Prior to Kerala, such 'Open Hearings' have been held in the States of Odisha, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh (for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh).

The NHRC has also organised its 'Camp Sittings' in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengaluru, Karnataka (for four southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Odisha, Gujarat, Assam, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh and UT Chandigarh (for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh). 

An 'Open Hearing' and 'Camp Sitting' of the Commission is scheduled to be held at Hyderabad for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana in the last week of April, 2015.