NHRC asks J-K, Ladakh to inform it about custodial deaths within 24 hrs

Ravi S Singh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to henceforth intimate it about any custodial death within 24 hours and the encounter death within 48 hours of such incidents.

Informing the national human rights panel in the matter by the two UTs would be in line with its general guidelines to all states and UTs with a view to protect and promote human rights.

In a letter dated June 30, 2020 sent to the Chief Secretary of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Commissioner Secretary, Union Territory of Ladakh, the NHRC asked them for compliance of all instructions issued by it.

It includes sending all requisite reports, including post-mortem, videography and magisterial enquiry report, etc. in all custodial deaths and encounter deaths.

The Commission observed that earlier  the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was not under statutory obligation to follow its mandate of sending intimations, in such cases of deaths in custody or encounter, in view of protection given in respect of subjects mentioned in List II of VII Schedule of the Constitution (State subjects) in the PHR Act.

Under the new dispensation following Amendment of PHR Act in the year 2019, there is no prohibition of exercising jurisdiction by the Commission like in all other states and UTs.

Therefore, it is now incumbent upon the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to follow the NHRC guidelines in case of custodial and encounter deaths happening within its territory.

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