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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai incident - criminal cases registered against both groups - complaint to SHRC - as SHRC refused to entertain - NHRC registered the case - as such police harassing the petitioners and hoisted false cases against their organisation as they refused to withdraw their complaint before NHRC- Writ of mandamus - Apex court held that This writ petition is disposed of directing the VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate Court, George Town, Chennai to immediately take the cases on file relating to the Law College incident and expedite the trial and dispose of the cases expeditiously in accordance with law within a period of one year. The VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate shall file report regarding the progress of the cases to the High Court once in two months and we request the High Court to monitor the progress of the cases. In view of our discussion in para (21), the State of Tamilnadu would do well if it takes appropriate steps to fill up the vacancy of the Chairperson, SHRC, Tamilnadu expeditiously.= WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 400 OF 2010 K. SARAVANAN KARUPPASAMY & ANR. .Petitioners Versus STATE OF TAMILNADU & ORS. ..Respondents = 2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41917

 Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai incident - criminal cases registered against both groups  - complaint to SHRC -  as SHRC refused to entertain - NHRC registered the case  - as such police harassing the petitioners and hoisted false cases against their organisation as they refused to withdraw their complaint before NHRC- Writ of mandamus -  Apex court held that This writ petition  is  disposed  of   directing  the      VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate Court, George Town, Chennai   to  immediately   take the  cases on file relating to the Law  College   incident   and    expedite the trial  and dispose of the  cases expeditiously in  accordance  with  law
within a period of one year.  The VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate  shall  file report regarding the progress of the cases to the High  Court  once  in  two months and we request the High Court to monitor the progress of  the  cases. In view of our discussion in para (21), the  State  of  Tamilnadu  would  do well  if  it  takes  appropriate  steps  to  fill  up  the  vacancy  of  the
Chairperson, SHRC, Tamilnadu expeditiously.=

writ  of  mandamus  to  initiate   an                independent
investigation  preferably  by  Central  Bureau  of  Investigation  (CBI)  or
Special  Investigation Team (SIT) into the incident  of alleged  beating  of
students of  Dr. Ambedkar Government  Law College,  Chennai  on   12.11.2008
by  some miscreants  so  that    criminal  proceedings  could  be  initiated
against  the  guilty  police   personnel  as  well  as   the  other  persons
responsible for the said incident. =

A group of  students  of  Dr.  Ambedkar  Law  College,  Chennai
belonging  to   Thevar  Community   is  said  to  have  pasted  posters  and
pamphlets inside the  college  premises  in  connection  with  the  birthday
celebrations of  Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar  in which  the name of  the
law college was  printed  as  “Government  Law  College”  instead  of   “Dr.
Ambedkar Government Law College”.  Agitated Dalit Students   questioned  the
Non-Dalit Students  which  led to  wordy altercation between the two  groups
 culminating  in an untoward  incident  which  occurred  in  the  campus  of
      Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai on  12.11.2008  at  about
2.20 P.M.   Both the group  of  students  attacked  each  other  and  it  is
alleged that Non-Dalit      Students (Thevar Students) were brutally  beaten
by the other group.  Regarding the incident, criminal cases were  registered
against both the groups. Few police personnel were  suspended  on  the  same
day and a Commission of Enquiry headed by a retired  High  Court  Judge  was
also appointed which filed its report and the   same  was  accepted  by  the
State Government and some follow up action was taken. =
According to the petitioners, the  delinquent
police officials  deliberately   did  not  intervene,  only    in  order  to
appease  their political  bosses and the police personnel were negligent  in
preventing the incident.  Since there was  violation  of       human  rights
and dereliction of duty  on the part of   police  personnel  in   preventing
the incident, the petitioners tried to lodge  a  complaint  with  the  State
Human Rights       Commission (‘SHRC’), but SHRC refused  to  entertain  the
same  and  the petitioner No. 2 was  left  with no option, but   to  file  a
complaint  before the National Human Rights Commission       (‘NHRC’) and  a
case bearing  No.1492/22/13/08-09/UC  was  registered  with  NHRC.  Case  of
petitioners is that, since the  petitioners  have  filed  complaints  before
NHRC  about  the  law  college  incident,   the   petitioners   are   facing
considerable harassment at the hands of the Tamilnadu Police  and  frivolous
cases are registered against the petitioners and  their  Organisation  since
the petitioners   have refused to withdraw  the  complaint  filed  with  the
NHRC regarding the law college incident.  All the  accounts  and  properties
of the Organisation  have  been  seized   by  CB  CID  arbitrarily   without
following  proper  procedure.   The petitioners therefore  allege  that  the
investigation in the Law College incident has not been proceeded   with  all
seriousness and  the petitioners seek  independent  investigation  into  the
incident  of brutal beating  of students  of  Dr.  Ambedkar  Government  Law
College on 12.11.2008 by  an independent agency either CBI or SIT. =

In  the  Status  Report,   it  is   stated   that   office   of
Chairperson, Tamilnadu State Human Rights Commission has been lying   vacant
since 27.8.2011 due to  non-availability  of  suitable  candidates.=

We see no  reason as to why the post of Chairperson, SHRC which  is
to be headed by a person who has been the Chief  Justice  of  a  High  Court
should remain  vacant for more than three years.  In our view,  pending  the
State Government’s request for amendment  to Section 21(2)(a)   of  the  Act
which process will take long time, it will be  in  order  if  the  State  of
Taminadu  takes steps to fill up the vacancy of the post    of  Chairperson,
SHRC, Tamilnadu in terms  of  Section  21(2)(a)  by  constituting  a  Search
Committee  at an early date.

22.          So  far  as  the  grievance  of  the  petitioners  as   regards
registration of false cases against them is concerned, it is stated that  on
the complaint lodged by Reception Officer of the Circuit  House  Coimbatore,
a criminal case  has been  registered    against  the  first  petitioner  in
Crime No. 191/2009   in B4 Race  Course  Police  Station,   Coimbatore  City
under Section 420 IPC.  Organized Crime Unit (OCU) CB-CID has registered   a
case Crime No.1/2009 against the  petitioners    on  the  complaint  of  one
Krishnakumar  for the alleged act of cheating.   In both the cases,  charge-
sheets  have  been  filed   before  the  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate  Court,
Coimbatore which were taken on file  in CC 84/2010 and  83/2010.   Both  the
petitioners have  filed quash petitions under                   Section  482
Cr.P.C. before the High Court of  Madras  to  quash   the  charges   against
them in  Criminal O.P.Nos.14609 & 14610/2011 and 14611  &  14612  /2011  and
obtained interim stay  and quash  petitions  are  stated  to   be   pending.
Since the  petitioners  have  already  filed  petitions  under  Section  482
Cr.P.C., the petitioners are at liberty to   raise  all  contentions  before
the High Court in those petitions filed by them.

23.         This writ petition  is  disposed  of   directing  the      VIIth
Metropolitan Magistrate Court, George Town, Chennai   to  immediately   take
the  cases on file relating to the Law  College   incident   and    expedite
the trial  and dispose of the  cases expeditiously in  accordance  with  law
within a period of one year.  The VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate  shall  file
report regarding the progress of the cases to the High  Court  once  in  two
months and we request the High Court to monitor the progress of  the  cases.
In view of our discussion in para (21), the  State  of  Tamilnadu  would  do
well  if  it  takes  appropriate  steps  to  fill  up  the  vacancy  of  the
Chairperson, SHRC, Tamilnadu expeditiously.
2014 - Sept. Month - http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41917

                                                                 REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 400 OF 2010


K. SARAVANAN KARUPPASAMY & ANR.               .Petitioners


                                   Versus


STATE OF TAMILNADU & ORS.                 ..Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T


R. BANUMATHI, J.



            This  writ  petition  has  been  filed   by  the     petitioners
seeking  a  writ  of  mandamus  to  initiate   an                independent
investigation  preferably  by  Central  Bureau  of  Investigation  (CBI)  or
Special  Investigation Team (SIT) into the incident  of alleged  beating  of
students of  Dr. Ambedkar Government  Law College,  Chennai  on   12.11.2008
by  some miscreants  so  that    criminal  proceedings  could  be  initiated
against  the  guilty  police   personnel  as  well  as   the  other  persons
responsible for the said incident.
2.          Brief facts which led to the  filing of the  writ  petition  are
as follows:- A group of  students  of  Dr.  Ambedkar  Law  College,  Chennai
belonging  to   Thevar  Community   is  said  to  have  pasted  posters  and
pamphlets inside the  college  premises  in  connection  with  the  birthday
celebrations of  Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar  in which  the name of  the
law college was  printed  as  “Government  Law  College”  instead  of   “Dr.
Ambedkar Government Law College”.  Agitated Dalit Students   questioned  the
Non-Dalit Students  which  led to  wordy altercation between the two  groups
 culminating  in an untoward  incident  which  occurred  in  the  campus  of
      Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai on  12.11.2008  at  about
2.20 P.M.   Both the group  of  students  attacked  each  other  and  it  is
alleged that Non-Dalit      Students (Thevar Students) were brutally  beaten
by the other group.  Regarding the incident, criminal cases were  registered
against both the groups. Few police personnel were  suspended  on  the  same
day and a Commission of Enquiry headed by a retired  High  Court  Judge  was
also appointed which filed its report and the   same  was  accepted  by  the
State Government and some follow up action was taken.
3.          The petitioners  claim to be the  President   and  Secretary  of
‘World Human  Rights Commission &  Rescue Centre’ and  main  aim  of   their
organisation  is stated to be to instil  a sense of  public awareness  about
the  human rights and take  up  cases  of  gross  human  rights  violations.
Grievance of the petitioners is that though the  occurrence was in front  of
 the Law College in broad day light  and a number of police personnel   were
present, they did  not intervene to  prevent  the  clashes  and  the  police
remained  silent spectators.   According to the petitioners, the  delinquent
police officials  deliberately   did  not  intervene,  only    in  order  to
appease  their political  bosses and the police personnel were negligent  in
preventing the incident.  Since there was  violation  of       human  rights
and dereliction of duty  on the part of   police  personnel  in   preventing
the incident, the petitioners tried to lodge  a  complaint  with  the  State
Human Rights       Commission (‘SHRC’), but SHRC refused  to  entertain  the
same  and  the petitioner No. 2 was  left  with no option, but   to  file  a
complaint  before the National Human Rights Commission       (‘NHRC’) and  a
case bearing  No.1492/22/13/08-09/UC  was  registered  with  NHRC.  Case  of
petitioners is that, since the  petitioners  have  filed  complaints  before
NHRC  about  the  law  college  incident,   the   petitioners   are   facing
considerable harassment at the hands of the Tamilnadu Police  and  frivolous
cases are registered against the petitioners and  their  Organisation  since
the petitioners   have refused to withdraw  the  complaint  filed  with  the
NHRC regarding the law college incident.  All the  accounts  and  properties
of the Organisation  have  been  seized   by  CB  CID  arbitrarily   without
following  proper  procedure.   The petitioners therefore  allege  that  the
investigation in the Law College incident has not been proceeded   with  all
seriousness and  the petitioners seek  independent  investigation  into  the
incident  of brutal beating  of students  of  Dr.  Ambedkar  Government  Law
College on 12.11.2008 by  an independent agency either CBI or SIT.

4.          Upon notice, the State of Taminadu and  SHRC  have  filed  their
Status Report/response.
5.           Mr.  Prashant  Bhushan,  learned  counsel  appearing  for   the
petitioners submitted  that since the petitioners  filed complaint   against
the erring police officials  with NHRC and since petitioners   have  refused
to withdraw the complaint  filed with NHRC,  the petitioners are  constantly
 being harassed  by the State  Police  –  Organized  Crime  Unit  (OCU)  and
Crime Branch –Crime Investigation Department (CB CID) and false  cases  have
been   registered  against  the  petitioners.    Learned   counsel   further
submitted  that OCU  and CB CID police  used   all  kinds  of  third  degree
methods  and the first petitioner  was brutally  beaten   not  only  by  the
police  but also  by  rowdy  elements and  the  petitioner  and  his  family
members  underwent a great  deal  of  mental  agony,  pain  and  harassment.
Drawing our attention  to the Status Report  filed  by  the  State,  learned
counsel submitted that in the departmental proceedings, the  erring   police
officials have been   let off either with ‘censure’  or  nominal  punishment
and the matter has not been proceeded with all seriousness and  urged   that
the investigation  of the Law  College incident  on  12.11.2008   be  handed
over to CBI or SIT.
6.          Mr. Subramanium  Prasad,  Learned  Additional  Advocate  General
appearing for the State of Tamilnadu    had  taken  us  through  the  Status
Report  filed  by  the  State   and  submitted   that  criminal  cases  were
registered against both the groups  of students and  accepting   the  report
of  One  Man  Commission,  the  State  Government   initiated   departmental
proceedings against the police personnel and punishments were  also  imposed
on them.  It was  submitted that criminal  cases are registered against  the
 petitioners and they are charge sheeted  for the offence  of  cheating  and
other offences and petitioners with malafide intention are  linking the  law
college incident  as the cause for registration of  criminal  cases  against
the petitioners by the police and such an allegation is baseless.
7.          We have also heard Mr. K. Subramanian,  learned  Senior  Counsel
appearing for the intervener/impleaded respondent - K. Armstrong and Mr.  R.
Balasubramanian, learned Senior Counsel  appearing for SHRC.
8.           Grievance  of  the  petitioners   is  two-fold:-  (i)   alleged
inaction  or nominal action of the State  and the police and  SHRC   on  the
Law College incident  on 12.11.2008 and need  for  an  investigation  by  an
independent  agency   like  CBI  and   (ii)   alleged  harassment   of   the
petitioners by the police  and  registration  of  false  cases  against  the
petitioners.
9.          As per the Status Report filed by the State,  on  the  complaint
of  Mr. Ayyadurai (Thevar Community)  one of the injured  students,  a  case
was registered  as  Crime                  No.  1371/2008  of  B2  Esplanade
Police Station under Sections 147,  148,  341,  324,  307  &  506  (ii)  IPC
against one              Mr. Chithiraiselvan and 40 other students.   It  is
stated that   23 accused  students  were  arrested  and  sent   to  judicial
custody  and some of the  accused surrendered  before  the  court  and  they
were released on bail and   remaining  accused  obtained  anticipatory  bail
from the High Court Madras.  Similarly, on the complaint of  Chithiraiselvan
(Dalit Student), a criminal case was  registered   in  Crime  No.  1372/2008
against two students  in B2 Esplanade Police Station   under  Sections  341,
324 and 506 (ii) IPC  and the same was subsequently altered  into   Sections
341, 324, 307 and 506 (ii) IPC.   Those two students who  are  accused  were
arrested and they were released on bail on the direction of the  High  Court
on 12.1.2009.  For the alleged ransacking and  damaging  of  furnitures  and
other properties of the Principal’s Room  on  13.11.2008  another  case  was
registered in B2 Esplanade Police Station  being  Crime  No.1374/2008  under
Sections 147, 148 IPC and Section  3(1) of  Tamilnadu  Property  (Prevention
of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992  and  14  accused   were  arrested   who  were
subsequently  released on bail  on 23.12.2008 as per the  order of the  High
Court.
10.         As per Status Report filed in this Court on 8.9.2014,  in  Crime
No.1371/2008 charge-sheet was filed  before VIIth  Metropolitan  Magistrate,
George  Town,  Chennai  on   10.3.2011  and  the  same  was   returned   for
rectification of certain errors and  after rectification it was  resubmitted
on 19.5.2011 and  the   same  is  yet  to  be  taken   on  file.   In  Crime
No.1372/2008, charge-sheet  was filed and the same has been  taken  on  file
Case No.29/2011 and the next date of hearing  has been fixed  for  9.9.2014.
In Crime No.1374/2008, some of the accused are yet  to  be  apprehended  and
the charge-sheet has been  filed  on  22.3.2011  before  VIIth  Metropolitan
Magistrate, George Town, Chennai which is also yet to be taken on file.
11.         In the Status Report, it is stated that on  12.11.2008,  on  the
same  date  of  incident  three  officials  namely,  (1)  Mr.  K.K.  Sridev,
Principal of   the Law College and (2)  Mr.  K.  Narayanamoorthy,  Assistant
Commissioner of Police  of the Jurisdiction Range and (3) Mr.M. Sekar  Babu,
Inspector of Police of B2 Esplanade  Police  Station   were  suspended   and
four Sub Inspectors of Police who were  working  in  that   area   had  been
transferred to  other  districts.  Government  of  Tamilnadu   appointed   a
Commission of Inquiry  headed by Justice P. Shanmugam, a  former   Judge  of
the Madras High Court to inquire into the incident  and the issues  referred
to by the Government.  The Commission submitted its report  on  8.6.2009  to
the  Government  and  accepting  the  recommendations  of  the   Commission,
departmental action was initiated against three police  personnel  viz.  (1)
Mr .K. Narayanamoorthy, Assistant  Commissioner  of  Police;             (2)
Mr. M. Sekar  Babu,  Inspector of Police and                     (3) Mr.  E.
Perumal, Sub Inspector  of Police.  After  completing  the  inquiry  against
the police officers concerned, report was submitted to  the  Government  and
matter was pending before the  Home  Department    for  final  decision  for
quite  sometime.   By  Order  dated  29.4.2011,  this  Court  directed   the
respondents to ensure that the final orders are passed before the next  date
and the State was directed   to  file  Status  Report  with  regard  to  the
entire situation.  In furtherance of direction  of  this  Court,  the  State
filed  a  further   Status  Report  stating  that  Government  accepted  the
findings of the Inquiry Officer and imposed punishment of ‘censure’  to  Mr.
Narayanamoorthy, Assistant Commissioner of Police   in  G.O.  (2D)  No.  217
Home (Police-2)  Department  dated  18.6.2013  and                  (2)  Mr.
Sekar  Babu,  Inspector  of  Police  in  G.O.(2D)  No.218  Home   (Police-2)
Department dated 18.6.2013.  Insofar as      Mr. E. Perumal,  Sub  Inspector
of Police, the Government proposed to impose punishment  of cut  in  pension
at the rate of  Rs.200/- per month  for  two  years  under  Rule  9  of  the
Tamilnadu Police Rules and the said police officer  has been called upon  to
show cause against the proposed punishment.
12.          Mr.  Prashant  Bhushan,  learned  counsel   appearing  for  the
petitioners submitted that even though there was grave  dereliction of  duty
on the part of the  police   personnel,   there  had  been   inconsequential
departmental action and only nominal  punishment  of censure was imposed  on
two police officers and in case of another  police officer Mr.  E.  Perumal,
Sub  Inspector  of  Police,  the  Government   proposed  to  impose   meagre
punishment  of cut in pension at the rate of  Rs. 200/-  per month  for  two
years (Rs. 4,800/- in all) and thus in effect no punitive  action  has  been
taken  against  the  police  personnel   commensurate   with   their   grave
dereliction of duty, which  only shows the reluctance on  the  part  of  the
State  in  pursuing  the matter  with all seriousness.  Insofar as  criminal
cases registered regarding the  incident,   the  learned  counsel  submitted
that in two cases charge-sheets are yet  to  be  taken  on  file  and  urged
that  in order to  have a fair investigation, the  matter  be  entrusted  to
CBI/SIT for further investigation.  Learned counsel submitted that it is  in
this backdrop of the inaction on the part of  State,  petitioners  chose  to
move  SHRC and since SHRC had  not  promptly  responded,  petitioners  moved
NHRC for which, the petitioners have been  harassed  and  false  cases  have
been  registered   against   the   petitioners.    13.              Mr.   R.
Balasubramanian,  learned senior counsel appearing for SHRC  submitted  that
the SHRC  was then headed by a retired Chief Justice of the  High Court  and
the petitioners are not justified  in  making  baseless  allegation  against
SHRC  for not taking immediate action.   The learned counsel submitted  that
since  the State Government appointed Commission of  Inquiry   headed  by  a
retired High Court Judge, SHRC did not vigorously   pursue  the  matter,  as
it would  have  amounted to holding  a  parallel inquiry by SHRC.
14.         We have perused few  video  clippings  produced  before  us  and
report of the Commission of Inquiry.  But we are  refraining  from  entering
into the details  thereof, lest, it may prejudice any party.   By a  perusal
 of the Status Report  and other materials, we feel  that  the  matter   was
not  proceeded   with  seriousness  with  which  it  ought  to   have   been
proceeded with.  For instance, the  main  accused  K.  Armstrong   in  Crime
No.1371/2008  was  not arrested for  long    time    and  was  shown  as  an
absconder  in  the final report though  he             is  stated  to  be  a
practising  advocate  and also a  contesting  candidate   in  the  election.
On 8.2.2011,  the matter was   brought to the  notice  of  this  Court   and
only after  the order was  passed by this court, accused K.  Armstrong   was
arrested  on 1.5.2011 who was subsequently released on  bail   on  4.5.2011.
Likewise in two criminal cases charge-sheets are yet to  be  taken  on  file
and some of the accused are yet to be  apprehended   and  trial  is  yet  to
commence.
15.         Insofar as  contention  of Mr. Bhushan  to  entrust  the  matter
for  further investigation to CBI/SIT is concerned, time and again,  it  has
been reiterated by this Court  that such an order to  conduct  investigation
by CBI is not to be passed as a matter of routine merely because  the  party
has levelled allegations against  the   local  police.   The  extra-ordinary
power in handing over investigation to CBI  must  be  exercised   cautiously
and in exceptional circumstances.  In  State of   West  Bengal  &  Ors.  vs.
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal & Ors., (2010)  3
 SCC  571, a Constitution


 Bench of this Court held as under:-
“70. Before parting with the case, we deem it necessary  to  emphasise  that
despite wide powers  conferred by Articles 32 and 226  of the  Constitution,
while passing any order, the Courts must bear in mind  certain  self-imposed
limitations on the  exercise  of  these  Constitutional  powers.   The  very
plenitude of the power under the said Articles  requires  great  caution  in
its exercise.  Insofar as the question of issuing  a  direction  to  CBI  to
conduct investigation  in  a  case  is  concerned,  although  no  inflexible
guidelines  can be laid down to decide whether or not such power  should  be
exercised but time and again it has been reiterated that such  an  order  is
not to be passed as a matter  of routine  or  merely  because  a  party  has
levelled some allegations against the local  police.   This   extra-ordinary
power must be exercised sparingly, cautiously and in exceptional  situations
where it becomes necessary  to provide  credibility  and  instil  confidence
in investigations or where the incident may have national and  international
 ramifications or where such an order may be necessary  for  doing  complete
justice and  enforcing the fundamental  rights.   Otherwise   CBI  would  be
flooded with a large number of cases and  with limited resources,  may  find
it difficult to properly investigate even serious  cases and in the  process
lose its credibility and purpose with  unsatisfactory investigations.”



16.          Legal education has a direct impact  on the  prestige  of   the
legal profession.  It is a  matter  of  concern  that  such  an  unfortunate
incident should have  happened   within  the  precincts   of   Law  College,
Chennai which has produced many eminent lawyers and  legal  luminaries.   We
feel that the matter should have  been addressed by   the  police   and  the
State with  great  concern  and  promptitude.  Though  the  matter  was  not
proceeded in the way in which it should have been proceeded  with,  we  feel
that at this distant point of time, it is not necessary  to  hand  over  the
investigation to CBI or to SIT.    The  reason  being  criminal  cases  have
been registered and  charge-sheets are also filed  and  departmental  action
was also initiated against the police personnel and  punishment  though  may
be nominal was imposed on those police personnel.   Since charge-sheets   in
all three cases have already been  filed   before  the   VIIth  Metropolitan
Magistrate Court, George Town, Chennai, one  of which is already   taken  on
file, in our view, it would suffice if  we  direct  the  VIIth  Metropolitan
Magistrate  Court,  George  Town,  Chennai  to  proceed  with   the   matter
expeditiously.
17.         Learned  counsel  for  petitioners  Mr.  Prashant  Bhushan  laid
scathing  attack on SHRC and submitted that   SHRC was  impervious   to  the
incident  as well as  harassment  to  the  petitioners  and  SHRC   did  not
promptly take steps regarding Law College incident.   Learned  counsel  also
submitted  that the office  of   a  Chairperson  of  Tamilnadu  State  Human
Rights Commission has been remaining  vacant for more than three years.

18.         Insofar as the grievance   of  the   petitioners   on  the  non-
taking  of action  by SHRC, the learned counsel for  SHRC    submitted  that
the office of Chairperson of SHRC is lying  vacant  since  August  2011  and
SHRC was  finding it difficult to  take follow up action.  Having regard  to
the said submissions, we have asked the  State  of  Tamilnadu  to  file  its
response as to the non-filling up of the office of Chairperson of  SHRC  and
the State has filed its Status  Report   on  8.9.2014  with  regard  to  the
appointment  of Chairperson to SHRC.

19.          In  the  Status  Report,   it  is   stated   that   office   of
Chairperson, Tamilnadu State Human Rights Commission has been lying   vacant
since 27.8.2011 due to  non-availability  of  suitable  candidates.   It  is
stated that in response to the request of the State Government,  High  Court
of Madras has sent  the list of retired Chief Justices who were  the  Former
Judges of the Madras High Court along with their date of  birth  and   their
present addresses.   According to the  State,   in  the  list  sent  by  the
Registrar  General, High Court of Madras most of the candidates  are  either
already appointed  to  different  Appellate  Tribunals  or  equivalent  post
outside  Tamilnadu or  have attained the age  limit  of   70  years  or  not
having any  familiarity  with the language and culture  of    Tamilnadu  and
it was almost impossible  to find  a suitable candidate   for  the  post  of
Chairperson, SHRC, Tamilnadu. It is stated that in terms  of  Section  25(1)
of the Protection of Human  Rights  Act  1993,  Order  dated  4.12.2013  was
issued to Ms. Jayanthi, IAS (Retd.) Member to  act  as  the  Chairperson  in
State Human Rights Commission, Tamilnadu  until the appointment  of   a  new
Chairperson to  the Commission. It is further stated  that  in  this  regard
Government of  Tamilnadu  has  proposed  to  Government  of  India   that  a
suitable  amendment  to Section 21(2)(a)   of  Protection  of  Human  Rights
Act, 1993 (for short ‘the Act’) could be  made  to  make  eligible   retired
Judges   of High Court with a minimum experience of seven years as  a  Judge
of the High Court for the post of  Chairperson,  SHRC,  Tamilnadu  and  such
proposal is under consideration of  the Government of India.  Status  Report
filed by the State refers to various  letter  correspondence  by  the  State
with Union of India   in this regard.

20.         We do not wish to go into the niceties of  the    proposal  made
by the State of Tamilnadu  requesting   for suitable  amendment  to  Section
21(2)(a) of the Act.  We confine our   focus   only   with  regard  to   the
vacancy  of office of Chairperson, SHRC remaining  vacant  for  quite   some
time.

21.         Protection of Human  Rights  Act  1993  has  been   enacted   to
provide for better protection of human rights by  constituting   a  National
Human Rights Commission and also  State Human Rights  Commission  and  Human
Rights Courts. Section 2(1)(d) of the Act defines  “human  rights”   as  the
rights relating to  life,  liberty,  equality,  dignity  of  the  individual
guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in  the  International  Covenants
and enforceable  by courts in India.  The above rights   are  traceable   to
Part III of the Indian Constitution  guaranteeing   Fundamental  Rights  and
particularly  Articles 14, 19,  20, 21,  and  22.   Chapter  V  of  the  Act
consisting of Sections 21 to 29 deals with the constitution of  State  Human
Rights Commission and its functions thereto.  State Commission consists   of
 a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice   of  a  High  Court   and  four
Members.  The  Act  has  put  in  place  various   remedial   measures   for
prevention of any human  rights  violations   and  confers  power  upon  the
NHRC/SHRC to inquire  suo motu   or on a petition not  only  of   violations
of human rights or abetment thereof or  even  negligence   exhibited  by   a
public servant  in preventing such violations.  The  statute  has  conferred
wide range powers upon NHRC/SHRC.  The Commission is therefore  required  to
be constituted with persons who have held very high constitutional   offices
earlier so that all aspects of good  and adjudicatory  procedures  would  be
familiar to them.   Having regard to the  benevolent  objects  of   the  Act
and the effective  mechanism  for redressal of  grievances of  the  citizens
against human rights violations, the office of Chairperson  of  SHRC  cannot
be allowed to remain vacant for  a  long   time.   State  of  Tamilnadu  has
always shown  zero tolerance   towards  human  rights  violations   and  has
always sent clear  message  of its commitment  towards protection  of  human
rights.  We see no  reason as to why the post of Chairperson, SHRC which  is
to be headed by a person who has been the Chief  Justice  of  a  High  Court
should remain  vacant for more than three years.  In our view,  pending  the
State Government’s request for amendment  to Section 21(2)(a)   of  the  Act
which process will take long time, it will be  in  order  if  the  State  of
Taminadu  takes steps to fill up the vacancy of the post    of  Chairperson,
SHRC, Tamilnadu in terms  of  Section  21(2)(a)  by  constituting  a  Search
Committee  at an early date.

22.          So  far  as  the  grievance  of  the  petitioners  as   regards
registration of false cases against them is concerned, it is stated that  on
the complaint lodged by Reception Officer of the Circuit  House  Coimbatore,
a criminal case  has been  registered    against  the  first  petitioner  in
Crime No. 191/2009   in B4 Race  Course  Police  Station,   Coimbatore  City
under Section 420 IPC.  Organized Crime Unit (OCU) CB-CID has registered   a
case Crime No.1/2009 against the  petitioners    on  the  complaint  of  one
Krishnakumar  for the alleged act of cheating.   In both the cases,  charge-
sheets  have  been  filed   before  the  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate  Court,
Coimbatore which were taken on file  in CC 84/2010 and  83/2010.   Both  the
petitioners have  filed quash petitions under                   Section  482
Cr.P.C. before the High Court of  Madras  to  quash   the  charges   against
them in  Criminal O.P.Nos.14609 & 14610/2011 and 14611  &  14612  /2011  and
obtained interim stay  and quash  petitions  are  stated  to   be   pending.
Since the  petitioners  have  already  filed  petitions  under  Section  482
Cr.P.C., the petitioners are at liberty to   raise  all  contentions  before
the High Court in those petitions filed by them.

23.         This writ petition  is  disposed  of   directing  the      VIIth
Metropolitan Magistrate Court, George Town, Chennai   to  immediately   take
the  cases on file relating to the Law  College   incident   and    expedite
the trial  and dispose of the  cases expeditiously in  accordance  with  law
within a period of one year.  The VIIth Metropolitan Magistrate  shall  file
report regarding the progress of the cases to the High  Court  once  in  two
months and we request the High Court to monitor the progress of  the  cases.
In view of our discussion in para (21), the  State  of  Tamilnadu  would  do
well  if  it  takes  appropriate  steps  to  fill  up  the  vacancy  of  the
Chairperson, SHRC, Tamilnadu expeditiously.



                                                               ……………………………J.
                                                               (T.S. Thakur)


                                                               ……………………………J.
                                                              (R. Banumathi)

New Delhi;
September 16, 2014


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