‘If there is a cooling period of two years post-retirement, no judge would take up these jobs. Who would be bothered?’
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In this Idea Exchange moderated by Senior Assistant Editor Maneesh Chhibber, NHRC chairman and former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan speaks about judicial overreach and judges being appointed to government posts
Manu Pubby: Of late, there have been many cases dating back to the nineties that have resurfaced, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. What is the role of NHRC in such cases?
K G Balakrishnan: As you know, J&K has a special status and so there are a very few areas where we have jurisdiction. But within this limitation, we are trying to look into cases from there.
Maneesh Chhibber: Why is it that the J&K government is not keen on allowing NHRC to take up cases of alleged human rights violations? Why is the government so jittery?
K G Balakrishnan: It has filed a petition before the High Court of J&K and the court stayed some of the cases pending with NHRC. In some other cases, the government was willing to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of those killed. NHRC demanded proof of the payment on paper, but the state had some issue. Wherever it could, NHRC has engaged a senior counsel to contest these cases. There was one case in which some political leaders wanted to go to Srinagar to hoist flags and they were stopped by the state police. After we took over the matter, the state government filed a petition in the court and the court issued a stay order. In another case, a man was beaten to death and we had ordered compensation. We are not interfering with the police but this is a human rights violation. We directed the government to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation. Let us see what happens in those cases.