Dignity of dead must be given due respect: SC

New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Respect the dignity of the dead, the Supreme Court said today while directing state governments to follow the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission.

“It is not as if the dignity of only living persons needs to be respected but even the dignity of the dead must be given due respect. Unless the communications and guidelines laid down by the NHRC are adhered to, the respect and dignity due to the dead and the human rights of all us will remain only on paper,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit said.

The apex court’s remarks came on the submission of NHRC which said that all its communications and guidelines have remained only on paper and are not enforced by any State Government.

It said that the intention of the NHRC was to more effectively assist the criminal justice delivery system and avoid any factual controversies while respecting human rights.

The apex court, however, expressed disappointment on the failure of the NHRC to bring out its annual reports saying the website of commission indicate is of 2012-13.

“Several years have gone by since then, but no annual report has been published. We have no idea what is the stage of preparation or consideration of the subsequent annual reports,” it said, adding that the commission should be made available expeditiously.

Regarding State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) not being constituted by several states, the apex court said the provisions of Constitution required every State to constitute a commission.

“We do not think it appropriate to issue any direction, particularly in the present writ petitions, to State Governments to constitute a State Human Rights Commission.

“But, we do feel it imperative to bring it to the notice of all State Governments that it would be but a small step in the protection of life and liberty of every person in our country if a SHRC is constituted at the earliest,” it said.

The court said it expected all state governments to abide by the directions issued by the NHRC in regard to compensation and other issues.

“Considering that such a high-powered body (NHRC) has brought out its difficulties through affidavits and written submissions filed in this Court, we have no doubt that it has been most unfortunately reduced to a toothless tiger,” it said while directing the Centre to take note of the concerns of the NHRC and remedy them at the earliest.

The Supreme Court made these observation in its verdict constituting a SIT comprising five CBI officers and ordering registeration of FIR, probe into the extra-judicial killings, fake encounters by Army, Assam Rifles and police in AFSPA imposed insurgency hit Manipur.

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