Establish special human rights courts, urge activists (Dec 10 is World Human Rights Day)

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 09:30 hrs

Mumbai, Dec 8 (IANS) A group of socio-legal activists have urged various government authorities to establish special courts in the country to facilitate speedy justice to victims of grave human rights violations, a lawyer here said.

"If it is a right of every deprived person to get justice at low cost, why is it presumed that human rights violations can be addressed only by the High Court or Supreme Court," asked Advocate Asim Sarode, who has taken up the cause along with a group of other lawyers.

"Lack of special human rights courts is not only denial of justice, but also denial of access to justice," he told IANS.

Speaking of the issue ahead of the World Human Rights Day on Dec 10, Sarode said that under the Section 30 of Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, the state government is obliged to ensure (with concurrence of the chief justice of the High Court) that special courts called 'Human rights Courts' are established in each district to try offences relating to violations of it.

Another lawyer Santosh Sangolkar, based in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district has also approached the district judge for the same.

"However, I was told that since the court has not been approached with cases related to human rights violations, there are no such pending cases and hence no requirement to establish a special human rights court," he said.

Sangolkar pointed out that most people are unaware of their own rights as humans.

"Having a special human rights court will not only give such victims access to justice, but will also make them aware of such a provision," he said.

To press of this demand, Sarode and his associates, under the aegis of Sahyog Trust have been writing to district judges in the state and sending them applications to take the initiative.

"While some of the district judges have agreed to appoint a court with the authority to work as a human rights court, it has not been implemented because they have not set norms as to which cases should be referred to them," Sarode pointed out.

With no substantial response from the district judges, the trust has now filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court asking it to direct all the courts of Maharashtra to establish such special courts to deal with cases of human rights violations.

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