Plea in HC claims NHRC failed to enforce its own order in extra-judicial killing case

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the Manipur government and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on a plea alleging that the commission has 'failed' to enforce its direction to the state to pay compensation to the kin of two victims of extra-judicial killings. Justice Prathiba M Singh impleaded the state of Manipur as a party in the matter and issued notice to it and NHRC seeking their stand on the plea by human rights activist Suhas Chakma.

The court asked the state government to indicate in its response the steps taken by it to implement the NHRC's March 5, 2020 direction to pay Rs five lakh to the victims next of kin.

Chakma, who runs an NGO - National Campaign for Prevention of Torture - which was established to address human rights violations in and around the country, has moved the court against the NHRC's September 8, 2020 order which said that if the state does not comply with the March 5, 2020 direction the next of kin can approach the competent court of law to claim the compensation amount.

Advocate Nitesh Kumar Singh, appearing for Chakma, told the court that the NHRC has ample powers to ensure its directions are implemented and it ought not to have asked the next of kin to approach the competent court of law for implementation of the compensation order.

Singh told the court that the NHRC's decision to close the case by way of the September 8, 2020 order was 'unreasonable and unjustified'.

The petition has claimed that NHRC has 'failed to discharge its basic function as a statutory body established for better protection of human rights and wrongly directed the next of kin of victims of extra-judicial killing to approach the competent court of Law for claiming the relief as was granted by it'.

The NHRC order had come on a complaint filed in January 2009 by Chakma alleging extra-judicial killing of two persons -- Ningthoujam Anand Singh and Palungbam Kunjabihari alias Bose -- by a combined force of Manipur Police commandos and 16th Assam Rifles at Kanglatombi Makhan road in Imphal on January 21, 2009.

Thereater, in February 2019 after considering all the submissions/reports including Magisterial Inquiry Report, the NHRC held that the two deceased were killed by the combined force of Manipur Police Commandos and 16th Assam Rifles in an extra judicial manner and their right to life was violated, the petition has said.

The commission had also issued a show cause notice to the Manipur government asking why an amount of Rs five lakh each be not paid to the two victims' next of kin.

On March 5, 2020, the NHRC rejected Manipur government's claim that the encounter was real and directed it to submit a report within six weeks indicating it has complied with the recommendation to pay the compensation.

However, on September 8 last year, the commission closed the case and said the next of kin can approach the court of law for seeking the relief awarded by NHRC.

Chakma, in his plea, has sought setting aside of the September 8, 2020 order and directions to NHRC to take coercive measures against the state government to ensure implementation of its order. PTI HMP RKS RKS