New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh to inform it about any custodial death within 24 hours and any encounter death within 48 hours, as per its guidelines.
The order comes after months of revocation of Article 370 and division of the erstwhile J&K state into two Union territories.
NHRC Secretary General Jaideep Govind in a letter dated sent to the Chief Secretary of Union territory of J&K and Commissioner Secretary, Union Territory of Ladakh, has requested them "to pass suitable instructions to the concerned for compliance of all instructions issued by the Commission to send all requisite reports including post-mortem, videography and magisterial enquiry report etc. in all custodial deaths and encounter deaths."
He said that the erstwhile state of J&K was not under statutory obligation to follow the mandate of the Commission by sending intimations, in such cases of deaths in custody or encounter, in view of protection given in respect of subjects mentioned in List II of VII Schedule of the Constitution (State subjects) in the PHR Act. But after Amendment of PHR Act in the year 2019, there is no prohibition of exercising jurisdiction by the Commission like in all other states and UTs.
"Therefore, it is incumbent upon the UT of J&K to follow the NHRC guidelines issued by the NHRC, India in case of custodial and encounter deaths that happened within the territory of UT of J&K," said the letter by NHRC.