SHRC cannot entertain complaints related to matters that are sub judice, rules Madras HC

Says, there is a specific bar under the State Human Rights Commission of Tamil Nadu (Procedure) Regulations, 1997

July 13, 2022 11:53 pm | Updated 11:53 pm IST - CHENNAI

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) cannot entertain complaints of human rights violations against police personnel if the criminal cases filed by them either against the complainants or others with regard to the subject matter were pending before the courts of law, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justices T. Raja and K. Kumaresh Babu pointed out that Regulation 9(g) of the State Human Rights Commission of Tamil Nadu (Procedure) Regulations, 1997 mandates the SHRC to dismiss in limine (right at the outset) the complaints related to matters that were sub judice before a court or a tribunal.

The verdict was passed while allowing writ petitions filed by A.D. Mohanraj and M. Chelladurai, former Assistant Commissioner and Sub-Inspector respectively of Maduravoyal police station in Chennai. The Bench quashed SHRC’s recommendation to recover Rs. 30,000 from petitioners’ salary for paying compensation to the victim.

According to the petitioners, they had booked a few cases against some agents who had cheated certain omni bus passengers at Koyambedu bus terminus by not issuing tickets despite collecting money. When those cases were pending, one of the accused approached the SHRC accusing the writ petitioners of having threatened him with dire consequences.

The complaint was lodged in 2014 and in October 2019, the SHRC recommended that the State government should pay a compensation of Rs. 30,000 to the victim and thereafter recover the amount at the rate of Rs. 20,000 from the Assistant Commissioner and Rs. 10,000 from the Sub-Inspector.

Setting aside the order passed by the SHRC, the Division Bench said, Regulation 9(g) lists out a series of instances in which the commission might not entertain complaints. The provision states that the commission could reject complaints that were vague, anonymous, pseudonymous, illegible, trivial or frivolous.

Similarly, it could reject complaints related to civil disputes such as property rights, contractual obligations and those related to service matters or labour or industrial disputes. Allegations that do not make out any specific violation of human rights and matters covered by judicial verdict could also be rejected at the outset.

Since, matters that were sub judice had also found place in the regulations, “we fully agree with the arguments advanced by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that the Commission has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint in view of the pendency of the criminal cases as mentioned above,” the Bench wrote.

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