OSHRC failed to achieve it’s goal


Bhubaneswar, 19/08, The realization of human rights has long been considered an essential element in democratic and well-being societies. In particular, the Indian Constitution provides with the legal framework to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights without discrimination. A landmark in the Indian efforts to attain the realization of rights was the Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993. This act established Human Rights Commissions, at both National and State level, which were devoted to the protection and promotion of human rights. To this end, these commissions aim at observing how governmental actors comply with their obligations to protect, respect and guarantee human rights. By issuing recommendations to governments, these human rights commissions promised a new era in which victims could achieve some sort of redress for their grievances. In a country where the access to the legal system is economically impracticable for the majority of the population, the foundation of these commissions had the potential to prompt a substantial change in the delivery of justice to victims of negligence and abuses by governmental actors.
With this promise, victims and human rights organizations saw the establishment of the National and State Human Rights Commissions since 1993. Two decades later, these commissions have proved unable to achieve its full potential. As reported by civil society organizations and victims during the Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) on the functioning of SHRC, in most of the cases the commission does not inform the petitioners about the outcome of the commissions’ investigations into their complaints. Not even petitioners are notified on whether their cases have resulted in dismissal. There are serious flaws in the complaint handling mechanism, information dissemination system etc told in a State Consultation under the presidentship of Saroj Kumar Padhy at Institute on Management of Agricultural Extension, (IMAGE)Siripur, Bhubaneswar on “Catalysing Human Rights Institutions towards Effective Justice Delivery”.
The specific objective of the consultation is to discuss the findings of the social audit and find ways to streamline and strengthen the Sate Human Rights Commission to function as an effective, efficient, transparent and accountable institution that addresses human rights violations. It will raise the issues revolving around human rights violations and the State Human Rights Commission actions to safe guarding human rights. The consultation offers an avenue to constructively engage in enhancing the protection of human rights by strengthening the work of the State Human Rights Commission. Similar, efforts are being conducted in 18 states. In the said consultation meeting amongst others Sri. Panchanan Kanungo, Former Finance Minister, Odisha, Sri. Hors Dhobal, Executive Director, HRLN, Delhi, Smt. Snehanjali Mohanty, Member, State Commission for Women, Odisha, Former M.L.A, Radhakant Sethi, President, Panchayat Action Research Group, Sri Nirakar Beura, Mahendra Parida, Human rights Defender and State Co-ordinator of Video Volunteers, Odisha were the speakers on the occasion. Aware of the potential of the State Human Rights Commission in promoting and protecting human rights, several human rights organisations and civil society movements held a day IPT on the functioning of State Human Rights Commission. A sample of complaints which went to SHRC and also the suo-motu taken by SHRC were deposed before a jury panel of retired judges and eminent civil society members. Along with the oral depositions, the jury panel was submitted written depositions by the victims. Following it the jury panel submitted a report marking clearly their observations and recommendations.

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