Court questions NHRC’s power to award compensation

November 26th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to review its order directing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to pay Rs.50,000 as damages to an accused in a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation case. Justice Sunil Gaur asked the NHRC to examine its power to award damages and reconsider the order as he allowed a petition filed by the central government through the ED questioning the commission jurisdiction to pass an order on immediate relief.

In 2000, the NHRC directed ED to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000 to Prabhakar L. Mehta on his complaint that he was being tortured by ED officials during raids at his residence in connection with an FERA violation by him in 1997.

According to the prosecution, in 1996 Mumbai-based Mehta illegally transferred foreign exchange worth more than Rs.4.60 billion from South Indian Bank, Mumbai, against a bogus import.

On Mehta’s plea, the NHRC ordered an enquiry and following the enquiry report awarded an interim relief of Rs.50,000 to the victim. It asked the investigating agency to shell out the amount.

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