PUCL Karnataka Towards civil liberties and human rights for all in Karnataka

|Press Release| Government intereference in SHRC and Backward Classes Commission

Friday, 30 April 2010

Press statement

Condemning the state government and BJP’s interference in the independent functioning of State Human Rights Commission and Backward Classes Commission

The large number of incidences of abuse & exploitation of children, women, dalits, disabled, minorities, farmers & other vulnerable sections are increasing. The dislocation & displacement of these sections in the name of development are aggravated the situation bad to worse. The law & order is out of gear, the authorities responsible for protecting people are exploiting causing severe damage to lives, livelihood and rights of common people specially, the weaker and vulnerable sections. The Commissions constituted under constitution of India to protect people’s rights and livelihoods are under the attack of state government. The recent incidences of highhandedness & undemocratic decisions of state government by curtailing the powers of such constitutional authorities is a setback & dangerous.

The PUCL-K condemns the recent efforts of the BJP administration to silence and intimidate independent statutory authorities in the state. The PUCL-K is disturbed by the way the BJP administration has sought to interfere with the functioning of both the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission as well as the Backward Classes Commission.

The reported remarks of the BJP’s spokesperson that Justice S R Nayak was fighting for his own rights rather than fighting for human rights is a calculated attempt to humiliate a former Chief Justice and the present Chairman of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission.

One can only understand by these remarks that the BJP administration is upset with the independent stands taken by Justice Nayak which has embarrassed the government.

One in particular would like to draw the attention to the series of Orders issued by Justice Nayak which has repeatedly chastised the State Government for its turning a blind eye to moral policing in Dakshina Kannada. Justice Nayak has repeatedly warned the state that ‘Unless the State authorities, particularly the law enforcing authorities of the State nip these ugly heads of moral policing in the bud, there is likelihood of these forces engulfing the entire coastal belt and the State resulting in communal upsurge’

Justice Nayak has also been very active on a range of human rights issues right from slum dwellers rights to the rights of construction workers to the rights of sex workers. He has proved to be an able defender of human rights and a great ally of human rights struggles in Karnataka. As such targeting Justice Nayak is nothing but an attempt by the Government to immunize itself from any criticism of its abysmal human rights record.

With regard to backward Classes Commission, the issue of a circular by the Karnataka government to clip the powers of the Backward Classes Commission is another attempt by the State Government to denigrate and degrade independent statutory authorities.

The Karnataka Backward Classes Commission under its Chairperson, C.S. Dwaraknath has been functioning effectively to fulfil its mandate under Section 9 of the Karnataka State Commission for   Backward Classes Act, to examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a Backward Class in the lists.

In particular, the PUCL-K would like to commend the Chairman for holding a unique meeting with members of the transgender community to examine the possibility of their inclusion as backward classes. His intervention in protecting the rights of kadugollas when their huts burnt by upper caste in Kurumayyana Gudlu,Gubbi taluk; and special package recommended to safe guard their interest is still pending with government. Similarly, the way he responded to uphold the rights of Alemari community, the rehabilitation of a small invisible dakleru community, series of measures initiated by him and the members of the Backward Classes Commission within the constitutional mandate created hopes in small communities in backward classes.

Such being the sterling contributions towards building an inclusive and democratic Karnataka, the comments and actions by the Government against these two authorities are indeed a step backward.

Therefore the PUCL urge that if the Goverment is serious in its intention to abide by the Constitutional mandate of ensuring justice social, economic and political, then it must forthwith

  1. Apologize to Justice Nayak for the intemperate remarks made against him by both BJP party spokesperson as well as senior government functionaries
  2. Withdraw the circular which in effect destroys the statutory independence of the   Backward Classes Commission.

We request you to publish this press statement in your newspaper to draw the attention of the public & government so as to protect democratic and constitutional spirit and uphold human rights of common people.

Thanking you

  • Arul Selva,  Secretary  PUCL – Karnataka
  • Y J Rajendra, Vice President   PUCL – Karnataka

Dated: Friday, 30 April 2010

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