29 September 2008 by Y.Prakash
The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from 13 States and the Union Territories on a PIL which complained that had not set up any human rights panels.
The petition filed through post by an NGO, Citizen Forum on Human Rights, had alleged that these States/UTs have not established any State Human Rights Commission or even human rights cells to protect the rights of the citizens.
The States which have not constituted the Human Rights Commissions are Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Pondicherry, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripurar, Sikkim and Goa.
The petition lamented that it was shameful that in the world's biggest democracy even 15 years after the formation of Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, the said States have failed to set up the human rights commissions.
It also blamed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for failing to ensure that the States set up the panels.
The PIL urged the court to seek explanation from the NHRC and the States on the issue and ensure that the SHRCs were constituted within six months.
SC notice to Centre, LS Secretariat on disqualified MP's plea
The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and the Lok Sabha secretariat on a petition file by Mohammad Shahid Akhlaq, former BSP Member of Parliament, challenging his disqualification from the House by the Speaker under the anti-defection law.
Akhlaq, who was elected as an MP of the BSP from the Nauchandi Lok Sabha Constituency, Meerut was disqualified for having defected in December, 2006 to the Samajwadi Party headed by the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
On the basis of the disqualification application filed by the BSP, the Speaker after conducting an inquiry through the committee of privileges, had disqualified Akhlaq under the anti-defection law on 27th January 2008.
The aggrieved MP, filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court challenging his disqualification but it was dismissed following which he appealed in the apex court.
In the apex court, the disqualified MP has argued that his disqualification was illegal and erroneous as there was no documentary or other admissible piece of evidence to substantiate the charge that he had defected to the Samajwadi Party.
According to him, the disqualification was allegedly based on newspaper reports and electronic media reports purportedly showing his meeting with the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav during a public meeting when the latter visited the Nauchandi constituency.
The aggrieved MP has claimed that the media reports were distorted and the action of the Speaker by relying on the said media reports was illegal and erroneous and hence his disqualification should be set aside.