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Broaden HR ambit to include poor: J S Verma

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 13:39 IST

FORMER CHIEF Justice of India and former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, J S Verma, on Wednesday stressed the need for broadening the definition of the victim so that cases of human rights violation of poor people and farmers could also be taken up by the Human Rights Commission. 

Addressing a symposium on ‘Human rights of the victims’ at Academy of Administration here today, Justice Verma said that human rights commissions do not have powers like courts and efforts should be made at all levels to strengthen them so that they could protect human rights of maximum people possible. He further said that human rights commissions should play an active role in the events of natural calamities and riots as well.

Inaugurating the symposium, Governor Balram Jakhar said that every person should be aware of rights of other people when they seeks to exercise their own rights.

He further stressed the need for equal rights for all the people in the society State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) chairman D M Dharmadhikari in his welcome address said that protection of witnesses has been a largely neglected issue in judicial system but several important cases of late including those of Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo and Zahira Shiekh have brought to fore how witnesses are allured, threatened and pressurised to deter them from speaking the truth before the court.

The courts in such cases had to acquit the accused, pricking the conscience of the nation and a new debate on improving the judicial system in the country has begun, he added.  Time has come for giving a chance of hearing to the victims at all levels of judicial procedure and giving adequate attention to security of witnesses also, he said. 

National Law Institute University (NLIU) director Prof Balraj Chauhan said that United Nations has given a broad definition of the victims and laws should be framed accordingly in the country to protect their rights.  IG Police, Bhopal, Sanjeev Kumar Singh talked about schemes being implemented for the victims by the State police.

Earlier, Jakhar and Verma formally inaugurated the symposium by lighting the traditional lamp and garlanding the picture of Goddess Saraswati.