The handling of cases pertaining to the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riots by the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court reflects the seriousness the country attaches to human rights complaints of its citizens, former CJI JS Verma has said.
Justice Verma, the NHRC chief during the 2002 riots, had indicted the Narendra Modi government for its failure to ensure “relief and rehabilitation” for victims and their families.
In his address to the Commonwealth Lawyers Association Conference in Sydney, a copy of which has been made available to HT, Justice Verma said: “The working of the national institutions in their true spirit has enabled a complementarity to develop between the national judiciary and institutions of human rights for the better protection of these rights.”
The former CJI said this experience has been highly successful in India. “NHRC's intervention in the 2002 Gujarat communal violence, followed by the Supreme Court's orders relating to it, and monitoring of, identification and rehabilitation of bonded and child labour, is a major example of this.”
Praising the Supreme Court's role, Justice Verma said the top court acted promptly on the NHRC recommendations “to proceed against the culprits affirming this principle”.
Questioning the inaction in controlling the riots, Justice Verma said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that rights are not violated either through overt acts, or through abetment or negligence.