By Ayush Upadhyay
In the Chhattisgarh High Court
|NAME OF THE CASE||Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board V. Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission & Others|
|CITATION||AIR 2018 CHH 53|
|DATE OF THE CASE||November 7, 2017|
|PETITIONER||Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board|
|RESPONDENTS||Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission & Others|
|BENCH/JUDGE||JUSTICE SANJAY K. AGGARWAL|
|STATUS/CONSTITUTION INVOLVED||The Constitution of India; The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993; The Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1952|
|IMPORTANT SECTIONS/ARTICLES||The Constitution of India – Article 226 The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 – Section 18 The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 – Section 3|
Human Rights comprises of rights of human regarding to their life, liberty, equality and also in relation with their properties. Human rights are primary, basic, inherent and inalienable rights to which a person authorized by virtue of being human. In the case that we are going to discuss about the power and jurisdiction of the Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission in relation with compensatory jurisprudence. In this case the Court perceived that the statute does not give or impose any power to the Commission to make the direction of payment. Concerned Authority petitioner Company has made a writ petition to know the scope and jurisdiction of the human rights commission. As the provision has given in several statutes stating that the Commission is a recommendatory body. Thus, can not make any direction to pay the compensation. As we are by the rule of law and by the fundamental norms of the protection of life and liberty and human dignity under a constitutional order, it will not be open to the State Government to disregard the view of the Commission … The State Government is at liberty to challenge the order of the Commission on merits since no appeal is provided by the Act. But it cannot in the absence of the order being set aside, modified or reviewed disregard the order at its own discretion.
The Court has further evolved the principle of compensatory jurisdiction of the Commission in the violation of human rights of an individual. The Government or authority has power to make payment of compensation to the complainant or the victim or aggrieved or the member as deemed necessary.
In the present case of Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board V. Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission & Others, the petitioner Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (hereinafter termed as Company) and the respondents are Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission (hereinafter termed as Commission) and others. In this case an issue was sought against the Commission for passing the compensation in violation of human rights by the petitioner. This issue has been occurred when Mr. Jai Shankar Verma/respondent no. 4 filled a complaint in the office of Commission. It was a perfect case for determining the situation where the Commission has made a recommendation, and after that it was treated as impugned order. As the provisions states that it is a recommendatory framework. Thus, how could it make a direction to pay such amount as compensation for the infringement of Human rights of an individual. After the institution of Writ petition under the ambit of Article 226 of the constitution in the Chhattisgarh High Court, it was a fit case for the correctness of the prior cases where same cause of action had arisen.
Recommendatory body means a body whose recommendations do not bind on the State or Central government authority as the case may be, so that it was only a recommendatory body & may not make a direction in violation of human rights of person. If we see the jurisprudential aspect of the constitution of this body, it doesn’t make sense but in the whole process for obtaining the compensation, aggrieved party must make a complaint in the name of Commission to get suitable recommendation in this behalf.
FACTS OF THE CASE
In this case the petitioner Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board has lodged the writ petition under the ambit of Article 226 of the Constitution of India claiming for lawfulness, legitimacy & credibility order dated 19.05.2006 issued by the respondent Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission, by which the Commission has commanded the petitioner Company to remit Rs. 6,22,000/- to respondent No. 4 as compensatory cost of felonious and contraband insertion of six electricity polls and electricity line in the agricultural area possessed by the Mr. Jai Shankar Verma respondent no. 4.
Mr. Jai Shankar Verma in this regard filed an objection to the premise of the Commission that he has owned 2.5 acres of the piece of land at village Amleshwar, Tahsil Patna, District Durg in which he is preparing to have vermiculture plantation, but the petitioner Company has inserted six electricity polls together with electricity line in absence of his permission on his land and in doing so the respondent no. 4 has been distressed to suffer cultivation and endured massive damage and that is contravention of Human Rights of individual. As a consequence, he is well authorised for the cost as compensation under the provisions in this behalf. The Commission in its disputed order observed that the contentions of respondent no. 4 were valid, so he is authorised to get compensation by the Collector of Durg. On 08.05.2007, the Collector evaluated the cost of compensation as Rs. 6,22,000/- and the respondent Commission on 20.06.2007 commanded the petitioner Company to pay Rs. 6,22,000/- as compensatory cost to the respondent no.4 Mr. Jai Shankar Verma.
Perceiving disgruntled and discontented with the order, this writ petition has been submitted by the petitioner Company contending additionally that the Commission has no authority and power to award compensation.
ISSUE RAISED BEFORE THE COURT
1. Whether the Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission has the authority and jurisdiction to administer order for the payment of compensation?
ARGUMENTS FROM THE PETITIONER SIDE
1. Learned Counsel for the petitioner argued that Commission has no power and authority to vouchsafe compensation. Therefore, it is only a recommendatory body and can not order to direct the cost to be paid.
2. Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the Commission can only impose recommendation under section 19(a) of the Act of 1993 to agitated establishment to construct payment.
3. The petitioner’s counsel concluded his argument by that the Commission is a recommendatory body so that it can not direct to pay the compensation as like it was ordered by the appropriate government to make aforesaid amount in this behalf.
ARGUMENTS FROM THE RESPONDENT SIDE
1. Learned counsel for the respondent side argued that the Commission has made the order in the consequence of the statutory provision. The provision has imposed the authority to make direction in this behalf.
2. Learned counsel again stated that the Commission has all authority to direct any kind of payment in relation with the infringement of human rights of an individual.
3.Learned counsel for the respondent side agreed and supported the disputed order made by the Commission.
- Constitution of India
Article 32 – Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by this Part
- The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed
- The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part
- Without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Supreme Court by clause (1) & (2), Parliament may by law empower any other court to exercise within the local limits of its jurisdiction all or any of the powers exercisable by the Supreme Court under clause (2)
- The right guaranteed by this article shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
Section 18 – Steps during and after inquiry – The Commission may take any of the following steps during or upon the completion of an inquiry held under this Act, namely: —
(a) where the inquiry discloses the commission of violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights or abetment thereof by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned Government or authority—
(i) to make payment of compensation or damages to the complainant or to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary;
(ii) to initiate proceedings for prosecution or such other suitable action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons;
(iii) to take such further action as it may think fit.”;
(b) approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
(c) recommend to the concerned Government or authority at any stage of the inquiry for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary;
(d) subject to the provisions of clause (e), provide a copy of the inquiry report to the petitioner or his representative;
(e) the Commission shall send a copy of its inquiry report together with its recommendations to the concerned Government or authority and the concerned Government or authority shall, within a period of one month, or such further time as the Commission may allow, forward its comments on the report, including the action taken or proposed to be taken thereon, to the Commission;
f) the Commission shall publish its inquiry report together with the comments of the concerned Government or authority, if any, and the action taken or proposed to be taken by the concerned Government or authority on the recommendations of the Commission.]
- The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952
Section 3 – Appointment of Commission. —
- The appropriate Government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, and shall, if a resolution in this behalf is passed by 6 [each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State], by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a Commission of Inquiry for the purpose of making an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance and performing such functions and within such time as may be specified in the notification, and the Commission so appointed shall make the inquiry and perform the functions accordingly: Provided that where any such Commission has been appointed to inquire into any matter—
- by the Central Government, no State Government shall, except with the approval of the Central Government, appoint another Commission to inquire into the same matter for so long as the Commission appointed by the Central Government is functioning;
- by a State Government, the Central Government shall not appoint another Commission to inquire into the same matter for so long as the Commission appointed by the State Government is functioning, unless the Central Government is of opinion that the scope of the inquiry should be extended to two or more States.
- The Commission may consist of one or more members appointed by the appropriate Government, and where the Commission consists of more than one member, one of them may be appointed as the Chairman thereof.
- The appropriate Government may, at any stage of an inquiry by the Commission fill any vacancy which may have arisen in the office of a member of the Commission (whether consisting of one or more than one member).
- The appropriate Government shall cause to be laid before 6 [each House of Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State], the report, if any, of the Commission on the inquiry made by the Commission under sub-section (1) together with a memorandum of the action taken thereon, within a period of six months of the submission of the report by the Commission to the appropriate Government.]
In the prominent and leading case of Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board V. Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission & Others where the power and jurisdiction of the Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission has been determined by the Apex Court. In the above noted case, has emerged the limitation and restrictions of the state commission in compensatory jurisdiction. The Court has considered that the Commission can only perform the power and authority in relation with recommendatory purpose. As the petitioner had also mentioned that the Human Rights Commission formed for the object of recommendation in the matter of violation of human rights of an individual. Thus, the Court is of opinion that the petitioner’s contentions are legal, valid and legitimate enough to set aside the order given by the Commission dated 19.5.2006 by putting petitioner Company to make payment of Rs. 6,22,000/- to the respondent no. 4.
After analysing and substantiating the facts, the Court has made the historic and groundbreaking verdict by which restricting the Commission not to make any order in violation of human rights. The Supreme Court has portrayed the extent of power and jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission by further various verdicts.
In N.C. Dhoundial v. Union of India & Others and in Power Grid Corporation of India Limited v. Century textiles and Industries Limited and Others, the Court has enunciated the exact scope and power in regards to direct the order for compensation lies with the District Magistrate. The Commission must perform its act inconformity with statutory provisions enshrined by the Parliament.
Finally, the Court has considered the matter and ordered that the Human Rights Commission is only authorized to make a recommendation. It has no jurisdiction in relation with determination of the issue and the concerned government or authority has a responsibility to observe the recommendation in spirit of the Law. Therefore, the disputed order or direction to pay compensation to the respondent no. 4 is set aside & order will be considered as recommendation.
The writ petition is allowed by the Supreme Court.
By delivering a remarkable and epoch-making judgement in Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board V. Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission & Others. This case has given a clear verdict in relation with the power and jurisdiction of the State Human Rights Commission. This verdict pronounces limitation on the Commission, by which it can not make an order for compensation in violation of human rights. As the provision stated that the Commission is a recommendatory in character & can not impose direction in this behalf. The Commission has power to make inquiry and incorporate its recommendation after completion. This case contemplates that it is discretion of the concern government or authority to consider it or not. After considering this case, I made a view that the State Human Rights Commission is a unique body in our system which regulates the functions in the matter of any complaint has been made for infringement of human rights. Conclusively, I can say that the infringement of human rights by anyone irrespective of its name or designation would not be considered as ground for escape. The Parliament has made the law in relation with human rights commission also therefore, the commission can not go beyond the power given to it. The recommendations will be treated as inquiry report and upon the discretion of the concerned government whether pertinent its view.
 LL.B.(Hons.) 4th Semester Student at University of Allahabad, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
 Sucheta, Human Rights Commission’s orders awarding compensation/damages not mere recommendations, State duty bound to comply (in absence of order being set aside/modified), (April 30, 2016), <https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2016/04/30/human-rights-commissions-orders-awarding-compensationdamages-not-mere-recommendations-state-duty-bound-to-comply-in-absence-of-order-being-set-asidemodified/> accessed 03 July 2023.
 The Protection of Human Rights Act, No. 10, Acts of Parliament, 1993(India).
 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32(1).
 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32(2).
 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32(3).
 The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32(4).
 The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, § 18.
 The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, § 3(1).
 The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, § 3(2).
The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, § 3(3).
The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, § 3(4).
 N.C. Dhoundial v. Union of India & Others (2004) 2 SCC 579.
 Power Grid Corporation of India Limited v. Century textiles & Industries Limited & Others (2017) 5 SCC 143.