Since its inception in 1993, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India, an autonomous statutory body, has recommended financial relief to victims of human rights violation in a large number of cases.
In continuance to this, the NHRC in April 2011 recommended monetary relief to the victims of human rights violations or their next of kin. According to its May 2011 issue of Monthly Newsletter, the Commission recommended monetary relief of Rs. 87,54,000/- in 51 cases. The financial compensations were awarded after it found the public authorities, including the police, guilty of negligence in protecting human rights. However, the process of recommending compensation to victims is cumbersome and takes years. This is clear from these cases, some of which are pending since 2002-2003.
Worst, in some cases the NHRC recommendations of monetary compensation were not complied with by the public authorities/state governments. There are instances where NHRC orders were not respected and the victims or relatives of human rights violations denied compensation.
For example, the NHRC recommended Rs. 500,000 as monetary relief to the next of kin of Masud Rana Sarkar, who died in an assault by the BSF personnel in Dakshin Dinjapur district of West Bengal, and Rs. 50,000 each to his three injured family members in the assault (NHRC Case No. 180/25/18/07-08-PF on a complaint filed by Asian Centre for Human Rights in March 2007).
The BSF requested the NHRC to close the case on the basis of General Security Force Court (GSFC) order which had exonerated all the five accused BSF personnel. However, the NHRC found a magisterial inquiry report in the case convincing which established that the BSF personnel caused grievous injuries to the members of the family and recommended that the Government of India to pay monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased and to those injured in the assault by the BSF personnel. The NHRC also called for proof of payment and compliance report within six weeks.
However, the family is yet to receive the financial relief even after more than one year of the NHRC order. The poor family members of Masud Rana are running from pillar to post to get the financial relief. The Government of India is yet to submit proof of payment and compliance report to the NHRC.
The government failed to provide justice to the family of Masud Rana. Justice delayed is justice denied. And the case of Masud Rana is not a rarity.