Way back on 3rd March, 2011, PVCHR called upon Human Rights Institutions, Human Rights Defenders and other civil society groups to observe9th December each year as Human Rights Defenders Day. This demand was supported by over 260 Human Rights Defenders representing 45 Organisations across Uttar Pradesh. On 9th December, 2011, PVCHR not only organized the First National Convention on Human Rights Defenders in Varanasi but also honoured some of the HRDs. We are glad that Justice Sri K.G.Balakrishnan, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in his message to the HRDs has shared our belief. We thank NHRC for acknowledging the contribution of the HRDs in the work of the commission’s mission for protection of human rights in India. On its part the HRDs appreciate the formation of a focal point in NHRC considering the risk and real time support the former need. It goes without saying that the HRDs have played an important role in mobilizing victims to strengthen the complaint mechanisms of the commission not only to strengthen the process of access to justice from the commission but to highlight the extent of human rights violations in India. Increase in number of complaints registered in NHRC from 496 in 1993-94 to 95,174 in 2011-12 clearly bears a mark of the role HRDs and other civil society groups.
The observation of 9th December will not be a day to celebrate in anyway, but to rededicate ourself for strengthening the human rights movement in every corner of the country to build a society of dignity and justice. The HRDs will continue to face threats, intimidation and reprisals both from state and non state actors. The non state actors are operating as state actors and the state agencies are at the command of non state actors. The freedom of the citizens of a free nation is at stake. The degree of threat is always larger in the rural and remotest part of the country. The sacrifice of all those HRDs and their family members will not go waste. We resolve to establish a just and democratic society based on constitutional values.
We also take this opportunity to thank all those national and international agencies, individuals who believed and supported the politics of Human Rights Defenders across India.
However, we appeal all the freedom loving people to go through the following case which is pending in NHRC. This case highlights the state of HRDs in India.
Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, Secretary General, PVCHR
Dr Mohanlal Panda, Secretary, PVCHR
The Commission received a complaint dated 1.4.2010 from Shri Nand Lal Shukla, President, Manavadhikar Emergency Helpline Association, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi, UP and a human rights defender, alleging that the then Addl. Supdt. of Police, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Uttar Pradeshy - Ms. Ruchita Choudhary called him and asked him to withdraw his statement in a complaint case no. 224/24/73/09-10 earlier submitted by him before the Commission pertaining to one victim Vinod Kumar Dixit. He further alleged that when he showed reluctance, the Addl. Supdt. of Police, Sant Ravidas Nagar threatened him and stated that the investigation is being done against him and after lodging FIR, his limbs will be broken. In the light of the apprehension of false implication and threat to life, a prayer was made before the Commission for intervention and justice.
Pursuant to the directions of the Commission dated 09.04.2010, the matter was got enquired through DIG Vindhyachal Range, Mirzapur. The report dated 12.07.2010 mentions that in the light of investigation pending against the complainant and in view of anticipation of action against him, false allegations were leveled in the complaint. No action, therefore, appeared necessary on the complaint. It was also mentioned in the repot as regards release of Vinod Kumar Dixit by the then SHO Gopiganj, Mangla Prasad Chaturvedi, after accepting money, departmental action against him had been initiated under the relevant rules.
In his comments on the above report, the complainant his letter dated 24.9.2010 reiterated his allegations also stating that investigation against him was being carried out by Addl. Supdt. of Police, Ruchita Choudhary with a view to protect the then SHO from he action against him, although the Commission had made a recommendation for monetary relief after finding the SHO guilty. It was also mentioned that there was no case registered against the complainant either in Sant Ravidas Nagar or in any other part of Uttar Pradesh or anywhere else in India. However, his brought living in Mumbai was unnecessarily harassed by police from Bhadohi on the pretext of an enquiry and the Polide did not find anything adverse against him. The accused Addl. Supdt. of Police continued to threaten the complainant and therefore, a prayer was made for an indeptn3ednt inquiry.
While considering the matter, the Commission on 24.3.2011 directed Director General (Investigation) of the Commission to have the matter investigated by deputing a
competent team of the Commission and submit a report within six weeks. The Investigation team of the Commission submitted a report wherein the allegations made in the complaint were not found substantiated.
The Commission while considering the matter on 3.1.2012 directed to call for the replies to the queries from the DGP, UP i.e. to inform - If he had received a complaint from SI M.P. Chaturvedi; If this was in writing, to send a copy to the Commission; If it was oral, what the contents were and how it was received; what instructions he conveyed on it and to whom. The Commission also directed SP, Sant Ravidas Nagar to inform whether a complaint from Chaturvedi was referred to him by the DGP, UP; What the complaint was; and What instructions he conveyed on it and to whom.
The Supdt. of Police, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi in his letter dated 23.1.2012 mentioned that the police personnel SIs Mangla Prasad Chaturvedi and Jai Kishan Verma found guilty had been awarded penalty of reduction to the lowest stage of pay in the time scale of pay for a period of 3 years each. DGP, UP vide his letter dated 9.2.2012 informed that the Supdt. of Police, Sant
Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi had vide letter dated 4.2.2012 submitted that Shri Mangla Prasad
Chaturvedi has made a complaint against Sh. Nand Lal Shukla about his involvement in various illegal activities as well as his association with the criminals. The DGP had directed the SP, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi to enquire the matter and to submit a report.
While considering the matter on 1.3.2012, the Commission observed that it was apparent that Sh. Nand Lal Shukla was intimidated and harassed by the Addl. SP Ms. Ruchita Choudhary on the pretext of a pseudonymous complaint because he exposed police malpractices and this Commission, vide its proceedings dated 4.2.2010 in the case No.224/24/73/09-10, directed to issue a show cause notice u/s 18(a) (i) of Protection of Human Rights Act and action against guilty police officials in the matter. Therefore, Sh. Nand Lal Shukla must be paid adequate compensation under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 for violation of his human rights by a senior police officer of the State.
Accordingly, the Commission on 1.3.2012 directed that a notice u/s 18(a)(i) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 be issued to the Govt. of UP, through its Chief Secretary, requiring him to show cause why compensation be not recommended to the victim Sh. Nand Lal Shukla.
The Chief Secretary, UP was also asked to initiate suitable punitive action against Ms. Ruchita Choudhary, the then Addl. Supdt. of Police, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Bhadohi for intimidation and harassment of Sh. Nand Lal Shukla on the pretext of a pseudonymous complaint. It must also be inquired why and how many times police officials were sent to Mumbai in this matter and whether the letter dated 18.3.2010 said to be signed and issued by Sh. Karamveer Singh, the then DGP, UP is genuine or otherwise. DGP, UP was also asked to ensure security for the complainant.
In response to the Show Cause Notice dated 6.3.2012,, Secretary, Home (HR) Deptt, UP vide his letter dated 01.05.2012 submitted a copy of report dated 20.4.2012, received from Addl. DGP (HR), UP along with the report dated 17.4.2012 received from sP, Sant Ravidas Nagar mentioning that there was no evidence found during enquiry about threatening to Shri Nand Lal Shukla and harassment caused to any one in Mumbai. There was, therefore, no justification for grant of monetary relief to the victim (complainant). Sh. Nand Lal Shukla in his letter dated 20.4.2012 submitted that after coming to know about the issue of Show Cause Notice, Addl. SP, Ruchita Choudhary contacted Senior police officer for creating pressure. The police was trying to hush up and save the officer from action. He has, therefore, prayed for independent investigation and justice.
The matter was placed before a Division Bench of the Commission on 03.10.2012 when it inter-alia observed and directed as under:-
“In view of the report received it is apparent that the activist is being harassed. No response has been received to the show-cause notice issued by the Commission.
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and that the said Nand Lal Shukla is a genuine Social Worker, acting as a defender of human rights, the Commission would like to have the presence of Additional Superintendent of Police, Ms. Ruchita Choudhary and Superintendent of Police, Sant Ravi Das Nagar before the Commission on 12 the December, 2012 at 11.00 A.M.”
Pursuant to the above directions, Summons dated 10.10.2012 were issued to Ms. Ruchita choudhary, Addl. Supdt. of Police (R), Kanpur Nagar, UP and Supdt. of Police, Sant Ravidas Nagar calling upon them to appear in person before the Commission on 12.12.2012 at 11.00 A.M.