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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Stalin complaint maintainable: SHRC

By K. T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI, JULY 30. Holding the Chennai Mayor, Mr. M. K. Stalin's complaint of police excesses at his residence here on June 30 maintainable, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) today said the enquiry would commence on August 8.

The Commission directed the complainant to file supporting affidavits within a week after serving copies to the other side.

A full Bench of the SHRC consisting of Mr. Justice K. Swamidurai, Mr. S. Sambandham and Dr. M. Sushila Raj passed the order after hearing arguments on the maintainability of the complaint.

Mr. Stalin said the police officers behaved in a ``high-handed manner'' and ``ill-treated his family members''. He prayed to the Commission that it conduct a probe and take action against the police officers concerned.

The Home Secretary, the Director-General of Police, the DIG, the CB-CID and the Commissioner of Police were cited as respondents.

On behalf of the respondents, it was submitted that the terms of reference of the Raman Commission would include the petitioner's allegation.

In the order, the Bench said Section 36 (1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (matters not subject to the jurisdiction of the commission) was not at all applicable to the facts of the case and Section 21 (5) (constitution of State Human Rights Commissions) was the correct provision of law. Mr. Stalin presented the petition to the SHRC on July 11 and the government order (appointing the commission) was issued on July 7. Therefore, at the time of issuing the order, the Government would not have thought of any petition being filed subsequent to that date.

On reading the commission's terms of reference, the Bench found that the first two clauses related only to the arrest of the former Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi and the Union Ministers, Mr. Murasoli Maran and Mr. T. R. Baalu. Clause 4 - ``to inquire whether there were any lapses on the part of the police personnel and if so, to suggest the action to be taken against such erring police personnel'' - cannot be read independently as argued by the respondents. Since it related to the first three clauses, it had to be read in conjunction with them. In the preamble to the GO, the words ``in pursuance of this decision'' refer only to the allegations of police excesses while arresting Mr. Karunanidhi and the two Union Ministers. ``There is no whisper about any other petition being possibly filed by any other aggrieved party in the State''. The Commission referred to the argument by the petitioner's counsel that there was no mention at all about Mr. Stalin's petition in the terms of reference of the commission.

The Bench said the GO would not attract Mr.Stalin's complaint. The terms of reference were only with regard to the incidents which occurred while arresting the former Chief Minister and the Union Ministers. They did not include or attract any other incident that took place pursuant to the arrest on or after June 30.

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