The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Jammu and Kashmir Government are at loggerheads over the right's body's jurisdiction in the trouble-torn state.
Putting aside the J&K's contention that the NHRC does not have jurisdiction to issue recommendations in a case of death due to police atrocities in the state, the rights body has asserted that it does have powers to deal with such cases as its "recommendations do not interfere with any of the heads of legislation."
The controversy related to the commission's August 19, 2009 direction to the state to pay Rs5 lakh to the kin of a rickshaw puller, Mohan Lal, a victim of police atrocity. Suspected of burglaries in Jammu, Lal was picked up on June 21, 2003 by Jammu Police from Amritsar and taken to Jammu for interrogation and died after 11 days.
According to the NHRC, there was evidence to indicate that he was subjected to third degree torture during interrogation leading to his death.
Asian Centre for Human Rights Director Suhas Chakma had brought the incident to the notice of the NHRC and the commission had then asked J&K to pay compensation.
The state instead contended that the commission had failed to realise the statutory limitation in exercising its jurisdiction as Section (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 specifically excluded the operation of the Act to J&K in so far as it pertained to matters relatable to the entries enumerated in List II (state list) of the VII Schedule (in the instant case public law and order) of the Constitution of India.
But, the commission rejected J&K's contention on the ground that the List II contained the heads of legislation in respect of which a state legislature can make laws. It asked the state to comply with its directions by the end of February.