Records of cases being handled by Jammu and Kashmir’s erstwhile State Human Rights Commission have been locked up in a room after the panel was wound up in 2019, the Union Territory administration said according to PTI.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission was dissolved after the erstwhile state was converted into a Union Territory as per the Jammu and Kashmir Re-organisation Act, 2019. The Act came into force on October 31, 2019.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration informed about case records being shut in a room in response to a Right to Information query filed by activist Venkatesh Nayak. The administration, in its initial response to the RTI plea, had stated that it had no information on the records of the commission.
“All the records of the commission were locked in a designated room at the office premises of the erstwhile Human Rights Commission, Old Assembly Complex, Srinagar,” the administration said in its reply, according to PTI. “...The records of the commission were not formally handed over to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and as such are not accessible to the department.”
After Nayak filed an appeal, the administration stated that the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997 was repealed when the erstwhile state was bifurcated. The Act had provided the basis for the setting up of the State Human Rights Commission.
About 8,000 cases were pending before the Human Rights Commission when it closed down, HuffPost India had reported in 2019. The cases pertained to allegations of human rights violations committed by state forces and other transgressions by officials.
In August 2021, a report by Scroll.in quoted a communication issued by DM Tripathy, Under Secretary (Coordination) at National Human Rights Commission as saying that no particular state human rights commission has been notified to take the human rights cases of the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. These included the cases that were pending when the state panel was wound up.