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M’laya gets its first human rights panel

Justice (retd) Aftab Saikia named chairperson, Hanaman member

SHILLONG: After a long wait, the State government has finally notified the formation of the first Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) with Justice (retired) Aftab H. Saikia as Chairman and former Meghalaya DGP P.J.P. Hanaman as member.
Justice Saikia, who took over as Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir in 2010 and retired in 2011, was earlier heading the Assam State Human Rights Commission as its Chairperson.
After his tenure ended in Assam, he was chosen as the head of Meghalaya human rights panel.
An official source told The Shillong Times on Sunday that the Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission was notified on June 7 by the Political department with a Chairperson and a member.
There is a provision for one more member which will be filled up in the due course of time, whereas the Chairperson and the lone member appointed can start functioning.
Earlier, though  the State government had appointed former judge of the lower court, M.B. Challam as another member of the Human Rights Commission, Challam was informed later that she would not be eligible since she had served as the District and Sessions Judge only for four years, while the criteria is seven years.
The formation of the state human rights body was accelerated after the Supreme Court wanted the State government to compete the entire formation of the human rights panel within June 30.
It was on August 13, 2013 that the State cabinet gave its nod to the formation of the Commission.
Later in March, 2014, the Assembly passed the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (Salaries and Allowances and other Terms and Conditions of Service of the Members) Rules, 2014.
The formation of the human right panel assumes significance in the context of many pressure group and individuals now directly approaching the National Human Rights Commission to get their grievances addressed.
Several instances of human rights violations have been reported in the past in the State, but in the absence of a proper human rights panel in the State, the aggrieved persons are yet to get justice.

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