SHRC to wait HC order on its jurisdiction against Army

Srinagar: The State Human Rights Commission has decided to wait final outcome of the case filed by Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir High Court, challenging the Commission’s jurisdiction against defence authorities.
The decision was taking by a single bench of the Commission comprising its acting chairman Rafiq Fida after being informed that the J&K High Court has issued notice returnable two weeks on the petition filed by the army challenging Commissions jurisdiction.
The SHRC had directed reporting officer of the army to argue the preliminary objection as raised by it against the jurisdiction.
“There are more than half a dozen cases pending before the Commission against army where the army has taken shelter under the same preliminary objection of the Commission in such matters,” Rafiq Fida observed.
On November 7, 2013, the Commission had directed Defense Secretary to depute an officer or their counsel to argue the preliminary objection raised by it regarding jurisdiction in various cases pending before SHRC.
“Defense Secretary has not chosen to depute the counsel to argue the matter and in view of the matter last opportunity was provided to Defense Secretary to comply the direction by February 18, 2014 failing which it would be presumed that they have nothing to say in support of the preliminary objections,” the Commision had said in its last order and it was communicated to defense secretary on November 12 last year.
However, the Chairman said, instead of contesting the preliminary objections on ‘legal justifications’, Government of India through Secretary Defense New Delhi filed a petition before the High Court which came up for hearing on February 7.
The High Court while issuing the two weeks’ notice has also stayed the Commission’s order to defense Secretary, communicated on November 12 last.
“Since the High Court is seized of the matter, the Commission has to wait till the final outcome of the case before (it),” Rafiq Fida said.
The SHRC was hearing a complaint filed by Mohammad Ahsan Untoo, Chairman International Forum for Justice, stating that some twenty one persons have been killed by Rashtriya Rifles in “fake encounters”.