Dispensations in Jammu and Kashmir have tried to strangle the SHRC from the very beginning, first and foremost by not accepting its recommendations, and when the panel not only survived but also passed some crucial judgements, state governments have sought to put curbs refusing to strengthen it in terms of manpower and infrastructure. The hemming-and-hawing of the government that has just been thrown out of office is best exemplified by ‘explanations’ given when a meeting of an empowered committee tasked with appointing the SHRC chairman eons ago could not be held.
Besides the then Chief Minister, the empowered committee had comprised of then Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the then chairman of the Legislative Council and the then leader of the opposition in the Assembly, a position fallen vacant after she was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Anantnag-Pulwama parliamentary constituency.
Though, according to senior officers in the Law Department and GAD, the meeting had been postponed “till further” orders because of the then Chief Minister’s packed schedule, insiders attributed the postponing to the LC chairman’s non-availability in Srinagar. According to sources, his “absence” had been occasioned by the NC’s decision to boycott the meetings of the coalition government’s coordination committee headed by the PCC President Saifuddin Soz in protest against the latter’s remarks of governance deficit in J&K.
Now that deficits of a variety of kinds are expected to be addressed by a Healing, if not a Midas, Touch, key appointments to vacant top posts, particularly having to do with human sensitivity could be expected to be expedited, and serious culpability in what have euphemistically been termed as casualties in law and order situations probed and prosecuted.