The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has negligible jurisdiction over human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, wants the limitation to be removed, particularly against the backdrop of recent allegations of transgressions in Kashmir.
NHRC Chairman K.G. Balakrishnan feels the extension of jurisdiction of NHRC in Jammu and Kashmir would not amount to any interference in the State’s matters but would be beneficial to the common people who could have recourse to better redressal of grievances.
“J&K is also part of the country... It will be better if the NHRC gets jurisdiction in all the subjects in Jammu and Kashmir.... It will be beneficial for the people of the J&K,” the former Chief Justice of India told PTI in an interview here.
“I am not recommending it, I wish,” he said while hinting that the limitations were binding the hands of the NHRC in providing succour to people of the valley who could have grievances on account of human rights.
“We are not going to enforce anything there. We will only be helping administrators to have a smooth functioning, good governance, and (ensure) less violation of human rights,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.
At present, the NHRC has limited jurisdiction in Jammu and Kashmir, covering subjects under Central and concurrent lists of the constitution and not the state list there.
Because of this, the State government has refused to entertain directions or notices from it in a number of cases.
When asked who should take initiative in this regard, Mr. Balakrishnan said either the State government or Parliament could do that.
“J&K government can also initiate. In consultation with the state government, Parliament can think of extending the NHRC Act to all subjects,” he said.
On whether government should consider this keeping in view the benefit of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “It is for the Parliament to take a view. People of J&K should also feel like that because of the peculiar situation in the state. Administrators and state (government) should also (take a view).”
Asked whether he would press the government to consider extending jurisdiction of the Commission to the state, he replied, “I can only say it is better that the NHRC gets jurisdiction in all subjects because J&K is also part of the country.”