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'First Approach The NHRC': Delhi HC Denies Relief To Plea Seeking NHRC Inquiry On Torture Committed Against The Nirbhaya Convicts

Karan Tripathi
4 March 2020 6:22 AM GMT
First Approach The NHRC: Delhi HC Denies Relief To Plea Seeking NHRC Inquiry On Torture Committed Against The Nirbhaya Convicts
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Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking court's direction to National Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into the physical and mental conditions of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya rape case.

Moved by activist A Rajarajan, the petition wanted the National Human Rights Commission to intervene and enquire about the physical and mental conditions of the four death convicts with the aid and assistance of unbiased experts from relevant field.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has disposed off the petition by noting that the petitioner should've first approached the NHRC itself.

'First you're supposed to go to NHRC. If it doesn't do anything, then you invoke the writ jurisdiction of this court. We can't issue directions to such a high constitutional authority without you making any prior representation before it', the court said.

Petitioner had submitted that the authorities failed in initiating the execution proceedings against the convicts in appropriate time; which is within 30 days of the dismissal of the criminal appeal.

It is argued that the execution proceedings were initiated, and death warrants were issued, at a delayed stage which raises doubts in the intention of the authorities.

Since the death warrants were issued at the time of the elections, the Petitioner calls the said exercise as an unreasonable and arbitrary state tactic to politicise the execution of the convicts. It is submitted:

'That the omission and commissions on the part of concerned authorities from initiating the execution proceedings and thereby keeping the 4 convicts under constant fear of life threat coupled with allegations of physical torture would have caused untold mental agony, distress to the convicts and may affected the mental stability of the convicts.'

It is also highlighted by the Petitioner that the death warrants were issued against the convicts despite the non-exhaustion of all their legal remedies. The allegation of solitary confinement has also been levied against the state.

Therefore, the Petitioner argues that dealing with the convicts in such a manner violates their fundamental and human rights as enshrined under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

It is further submitted that by dealing with the execution proceedings as per its own whims and fancies, the state has caused mental agony and distress to the convicts by putting them in constant fear of their lives.

In addition to this, allegations of physical torture has also been levelled against the state.

Apart from asking for an inquiry, the Petitioner also wants NHRC to submit a report before the Delhi High Court regarding the Human Rights Violations Committed by the concerned authorities entrusted with the job of executing the death sentence of the four convicts.

In light of the subsequent developments that have taken place in the case, the Petitioner has asked the court to commute the death sentence of all the convicts to life imprisonment.

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