Missing girl’s father pleads for change in human rights act

June 13th, 2009 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) A man who approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for help to trace his missing 17-year-old daughter has moved the Delhi High Court seeking amendment of a law that does not allow human rights commissions to probe cases one year after the incident.
Vidya Prakash, whose daughter Anita went missing in June 2006, filed the petition through NGO Lagaam. He has approached the court seeking amendment to a section of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

C.S. Parasher, counsel for the petitioner, submitted before a bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Neeraj Kishan Kaul earlier this week that victims of human rights violations were facing difficulties due to Section 36 of the Protection of Human Rights Act.

Section 36 states that the NHRC and state commissions will not inquire into any matter one year from the date on which the act constituting violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed.

Parasher said that due to the clause Prakash’s petition to the NHRC, filed in 2008, was dismissed on grounds of delay.

In his petition, Prakash had requested the NHRC to direct the police to take appropriate steps after they failed to find his daughter.

After Anita disappeared, Prakash lodged a first information report (FIR) alleging that Virender, a person living in his neighbourhood, had abducted his daughter. Subsequently, Virender was arrested but released on bail in July 2006.

Parasher said they had approached the court in October 2006 as well, when the court had directed the deputy commissioner of police to take necessary action to trace the girl.

Parasher pleaded to the court to declare Section 36 void because it defies the aim and object of the Protection of Human Rights Act.

After a brief argument over the issue, the court sought responses from the central government and the NHRC. The matter will be heard July 22.

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