The Bombay High Court on Friday said the State government does not seem to care about the State Human Rights Commission despite the rise in instances of human rights violations and custodial deaths.
A Division Bench of Justices V.M. Kanade and P.R. Bora was hearing a petition filed by an activist seeking new office space and adequate staff for the Commission. “The government does not seem to value the state human rights body. Is this why you (government) have failed to do anything for the Commission since its inception?” the HC asked.
The SHRC is currently located in South Mumbai. According to the petition, the Commission has a tiny office measuring only 1,000 sq. ft. In response, a government lawyer told the HC that in compliance with a previous order, the principal secretaries of the departments of General Administration, Finance, Law, and Home had held a joint meeting last month to address issues of paucity of staff and funds being faced by the panel. However, it was proving difficult to allot a new office to the commission since there is no space, it said.
The Bench directed the government to look at the vacant MTNL building at Cooperage, or the Air India building as possible options. It directed the State to take a decision within 12 weeks.