As India plans to celebrate Human Rights Day on December the 10th, India Legal is running a series on views of present and former National Human Rights Commission chairmen. The present installment is an excerpt from exclusive interview of Justice S. Rajendra Babu, fifth Chairman of NHRC.
Former Chief Justice of India and fifth Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Justice S. Rajendra Babu is known for his initiatives on police brutality and capital punishment. His verdict in the Kishori vs State of Delhi case delineating mob psychology is noteworthy.
In an exclusive interview with India Legal, Justice Rajendra Babu held that NHRC has power to remain relevant and effective, if it wants.
“NHRC is a body without powers to make decrees or enforce its decisions and hence, some persons describe it as a ‘paper tiger.’ However, my view is different; its role is not confrontational but co-operative; if all stake holders are involved in the process of recommendations and good governance needs adherence to Human Rights, much can be achieved.
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“When children from Chhattisgarh were transported to Kashmir as prisoners by a contractor, I invoked good offices of Chief Ministers in both the states belonging to different political parties, who cooperated in getting their freedom.
“In Gujarat, following the incidents of 2000, many were dislocated from their places. While some of them wanted to settle down in their original places, others wanted to reside in new places.
“Without going into the question of causes for the incidents, I sought cooperation of the Gujarat Government, which was extended whole-heartedly. The hallmark of Good Governance is to respect the human rights, which all governments are aware of, but need to be reminded often.”
As NHRC chairman Justice Rajendra Babu had worked on developing new jurisprudence to tackle police brutality, he paid special attention to the protection of economic, social and cultural rights and developed an easy system of recording complaints.
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As India plans to commemorate National Human Rights Day on December the 10th, stalwarts like Justice Rajendra Babu are a source of inspiration and strength in the fight for protection of human rights of the citizenry.