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Delhi HC dismisses plea seeking relief against resettlement of 156 Chakma families in Arunachal Pradesh for want of jurisdiction

The petition filed by Suhas Chakma, through advocate Nitesh Kumar Singh, was dismissed as withdrawn after Justice Prathiba M. Singh remarked that the National Human Right Commission has no jurisdiction in the matter.

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The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking relief against the forcible resettlement of 156 Chakma families in Arunachal Pradesh for want of jurisdiction.

The petition filed by Suhas Chakma, through advocate Nitesh Kumar Singh, was dismissed as withdrawn after Justice Prathiba M. Singh remarked that the National Human Right Commission has no jurisdiction in the matter. Justice Singh left the petitioner with the option to reach Arunachal Pradesh High Court.

The petitioner filed a complaint dated 06/02/2021 with the Respondent against the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India and the State of Arunachal Pradesh, which are constructing the Greenfield Airport at Holongi in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh and displaced about 156 Chakma families. In its complaint to the NHRC, the petitioner herein sought the urgent intervention of the NHRC against the ongoing forcible shifting/resettlement of 156 Chakma families displaced by the construction of the Greenfield Airport at Holongi in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh to the new colonies including during the First Phase of Covid-19 national lockdown from March 24 to May 31, 2020. The petitioner also highlighted the failure of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the State of Arunachal Pradesh to provide the statutory entitlements guaranteed under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act) to these 156 Chakma displaced families including no award of solatium as provided under Section 30 and First Schedule to the LARR Act, nonpayment of entitlements minimum compensation package as per Second Schedule of the LARR Act, not providing of infrastructural facilities and basic minimum amenities as per Third Schedule of the LARR Act, non-payment of interest for delay as provided under Section 80 of the LARR Act, 2013 etc.

The said complaint was duly registered by the respondent as Case No. 10/2/10/2021 on 19/03/2021. It was stated in the petition that vide order dated 31/03/2021, the NHRC unreasonably and unjustifiably closed the case by transmitting the complaint to the concerned authorities, against whom the case had been filed, to take action as deemed appropriate in violation of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 under which it was established.

The petition further contended, “The mandate of the Respondent NHRC is to adjudicate complaints of human rights violations for better protection of human rights as provided under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (PHRA) and not to act as the “post office” between the complainants and the authorities and/or appoint the concerned authorities against whom the complaint is filed as judge and jury of the alleged human rights violations committed by them and further denude the NHRC of its judicial character, notwithstanding the Commission being manned by a former Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court judges, Chief Justices of High Courts, etc.”

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The petitioner, in his plea, prayed for the following reliefs from the respondent;

  • Submit a detailed report on the implementation of the Detailed Project Report with respect to the Chakma project displaced families with (i) activities specified for rehabilitation and resettlement; (ii) budget allocated for each activity; and (iii) amount utilized for each activity as on date.
  • Provide details of payment/compensation made to each project affected family as per Section 31 of the LLRA Act, which, inter alia states that “(2) The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Award shall include all of the following, namely:— (a) rehabilitation and resettlement amount payable to the family; (b) bank account number of the person to which the rehabilitation and resettlement award amount is to be transferred….”
  • Pay solatium to each project affected Chakma family as per Section 30 of the LARR Act, 2013 and the same be deposited in beneficiary’s account;
  • Pay interests at the rate of 15% as per Section 80 of the LARR Act, 2013 for the period from taking possession until the compensation shall have been so paid or deposited:
  • Pay entitlements/minimum compensation package as per Second Schedule of the LARR Act, 2013 including (i) choice of annuity or employment, (ii) subsistence grant for displaced families for a period of one year, (iii) transportation cost for displaced families, (iv) cattle shed/petty shops cost, (v) one-time grant to artisan, small traders and certain others, (vi) one-time Resettlement Allowance, and (vii) proof of exemption from stamp duty and registration fee.
  • Ensure the establishment of infrastructural facilities and basic minimum amenities as per Third Schedule of the LARR Act, 2013 and submit a status report; and
  • Take any other measures as the NHRC deems fit and proper.
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