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Supreme Court remarks on illegal detention fly in face of India’s constitutional and international obligations: CHRI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court needs to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on complex issues of nationality, detention and deportation and not be unmindful of its own commitment to these duties, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has urged.

The following is the text of the statement, issued today, and signed by a group of eminent citizens including former Supreme Court Justice Madan Lokur, Wajahat Habibullah, CHRI’s Chair and former Chief Information Commissioner, Justice AP Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, and a number of senior former officials and civil society leaders:

As concerned citizens, we look to the Supreme Court to reaffirm India’s constitutional and international obligations to rights on sensitive issues. That is why we are disappointed by recent statements by the Chief Justice of India on a complex matter relating to illegal detention and deportation, without heeding India’s own constitutional and international obligations.

While advocating greater detention of suspected ‘foreigners’, the Chief Justice brushed aside the Assam Chief Secretary with a stinging admonition for proposing a methodology for the release of a handful of foreign prisoners who had been in detention beyond their term of sentence for illegal entry. This was especially of concern for the case concerned the wilful violation of the human rights of hundreds of detainees who were languishing in what the court itself accepts are “inhuman conditions”.

We regard these remarks as unfortunate.

Article 21 is very clear in its intent, ambit and process. It binds all duty-holders and citizens with the ringing affirmation that no person in India (and we emphasize that there no special privileges here for Indian citizens) can be deprived of her/his right to life and liberty without due process.

There is no deportation agreement with Bangladesh. International law lays down that such deportations can take place only with the consent of the country of origin. Bangladesh has consistently refused to accept that its citizens migrate in large numbers to India. Indeed, Bangladesh regards such unilateral efforts as harmful to a bilateral relationship that is critical for the security and stability of both countries and especially of our eastern region.

We cannot place ourselves in a situation where we are seen as forcing people out at gunpoint; it would be ethically unjust, wrong in law and draw international condemnation.

We are acutely sensitive to concerns in Assam and other parts of the North-east and across the country about the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh, a long-standing issue that has defied official proclamations and pledges of “push back”, “deportation” and “detection”. Whatever methods are used they must be undertaken within the rule of law frame, be just and fair and designed to minimise individual hardship and tragedy. We believe there is a need that this is a tragedy of growing intensity which is gathering momentum as a result of the current National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam.

Accounts from Assam indicate that often arbitrariness not rule of law is used to define those who have come post-1971 from Bangladesh (of whatever religious denomination) and those who are Indian nationals.

Lakhs are in limbo and now fear that they may become “stateless” because of a process that is mired in a mix of complexity, confusion, lack of precision and prejudice.

Many of those at risk are from the bottom of the economic pyramid, unable to sustain the complex adjudication process needed to establish their citizenship. Large numbers are already in detention camps.

Although the Supreme Court mandated deadline for a ‘final’ list is July 2019, we understand that not less than 38 lakh persons out of the 40 lakh (four million) who had found themselves off the NRC last year have filed applications for inclusion. Such a huge number of requests cannot be processed in two months and we urge that this not be hurried as the consequences are too devastating to contemplate. The efforts need to be steady and methodical so that the charges of arbitrariness, prejudice and poor record keeping, which have plagued the NRC process, do not stick.

It must be pointed out here that India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which its representatives played a stellar part in developing the language that all of us are familiar with in regard to equality, non-discrimination and gender. Our international commitments are clear as to the rights of people affected in such situations.

It would also be unacceptable if any Indian of any religious denomination is harmed by negligence, wilful prejudice, wrongful confinement and prosecution.

Failure to address this critical situation adequately and justly would be seen internationally as a gross violation of human rights and a blot on India's traditional record. What is also of concern to us are social fault lines that could be exacerbated by insensitive handling that could leave many people desperate, particularly youth, with the potential of radicalization.

As concerned citizens, we appeal to the judicial system and the government to explore a solution that addresses the human dimension. The situation in Assam and inter alia other parts of the North-east represent unprecedented challenges and conditions that cannot be resolved by application of a routine legal framework which is designed to deal with individual cases.

Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson, CHRI

Members:

Justice Madan Lokur

Justice AP Shah

Ms. Vineeta Rai (IAS, retd, former Revenue Secretary to the Government of India)

Nitin Desai, former Under Secretary, United Nations)

Jacob Punnoose (IPS, retd)

Poonam Muttreja (Member, Executive Committee, CHRI)

Kamal Kumar (IPS, retd)

Ms. Maja Daruwala (Adviser, CHRI)

Jayanto N. Choudhury (IPS, retd)

Dr. BK Chandrashekar (ex MLC, Karnataka)

Sanjoy Hazarika (International Director)

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GU impasse heading for end

4 Sep 2015 - 8:59pm | AT News

The Gauhati High Court on Friday set up a special panel to look into the allegations against acting chief justice K Sredharan Rao.
Taking up two different petitions against the Justice Rao a division bench of the court set up the committee. The bench asked the committee to submit the report within ten days.

“We are satisfied with the move. Let our serious allegations against the Justice Rao be probed. We will wait for the findings,” a lawyer told Assam Times when they were holding a meeting to call-off the protest.

After the meeting at the old high court premises the Bar Association leaders confirmed that they would join the functionings from Monday. Later they took out a procession reiterating their demands.
 

Krishnendu Bose, filmmaker extraordinaire

6 Sep 2014 - 9:56pm | Harsha Hazarika
Krishnendu Bose set up Earthcare Films in 1995 while making wildlife and conservation films after acquiring a Masters in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. He was in the city recently on an invitation from WWF-India and the Cotton College State University to screen his film titled 'The Forgotten Tigers'.

The film features the plight of tigers living outside tiger reserves and the whole issue of gaps in human and other resources for their protection. It highlights the problems that the forest department personnel face on the ground, and brings up the question of social carrying capacity and the problems faced by the communities living in proximity to the tigers.

Talking about his film Bose said, “The Forgotten Tigers is the first film, which takes a look into the lives of tigers that live outside the tiger reserves and critiques the dominant tiger conservation strategy that the country has been following for four decades.”

With shrinking forests and eroding legal protections, the tigers’ space is being squeezed. While some of the tiger reserves are now legally well protected and safe heavens for the tigers, many tigers are living outside in the mine fields. When the tigers reach carrying capacity populations in a reserve, they by their natural instinct travel to seek new homes. And when they do, they cross over to the unprotected lands and their lives and that of the habitation all around, come into peril, he said.

Commenting on the film Syed Miraz Ahmed an independent journalist, said that Bose’s film has set an example of sorts in the genre of documentary film making that is responsible for bringing core issues of conservation and allied matters to the fore. “It is a subtlety intelligent reportage which calls for more screenings across northeast India. Policy makers need to see this film and environmental activists should lobby against ill planned conservation efforts and the politics encircling it. Documentary film makers of this region has a lot to learn from Bose's experience.”, he said.

Bose is also involved in conducting sessions on environment education in schools and colleges, using his films as a medium. He has been a guest faculty in top media and design schools in India like Symbiosis and National School of Design.

In 2009 Bose was conferred the highest award for documentary filmmaking in the field of Environment and Wildlife in India with the CMS-UNEP Prithvi Ratna Award. The screening ended with an open house that received active participation from among students, the academia and others present.

Management Training Programme held at Guwahati

7 Aug 2011 - 4:03pm | Nanda Kirati Dewan


Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with IIM-Shillong organized a two days management development training programme on Team Building, Personal Effectiveness and Communication Skill August 5 and 6 at Indian Institute of Bank Management (IIBM), Khanapara campus, Guwahati. Dr. Sonia Nongmaithem, Asst. Professor of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Management, Shillong popular as IIM-Shillong conducted the program successfully.


Indian Chamber of Commerce realizes that human resource development plays a significant role in the growth of business of an organization and most important factors being employees’ ability to work in a team with set targets and desired goal and shared leadership with proper flow of information through anorganized system of communication and channelized organizational behavior. As many as 40 participants from various PSUs, Railways, Banks, Corporate sectors, IT and Infrastructure companies, and telecom giants along with Members of Indian Chamber of commerce attended the two day of the program which primarily focused on team in an organisation.


Dr. Sonia during the training session stressed on need of a team work in an organization for yielding desired results better productivity during the cut throat completion of professionalism. ‘Proper organisational behavior and channelized flow of information and communication along shared leadership concept, can make wonders for an organisation’, she said while addressing the valedictory session. She appreciated ICC-North East efforts in grooming the future managers of the region to build up healthy work culture in the region and proposed ICC to reach out maximum through its channel partners and members. In his valedictory speech Mr. Mahesh Deori, Regional Director ICC-North East outlined the functions of ICC and said that Northeast team is committed to explore the land of ‘unlimited opportunities’ which the chamber have been consistently doing over the few years now. He shared his personal experience on being benefitted from two days training program and stressed on need of more such class room training time and again on various segments. Mr. C C Mitra Director IIBM who attended valedictory session as observer and Mr. Mahesh Deori along with Dr. Nongmaithem gave away the certificates to the participants who successfully completed the training.


Miss Roshini Rai a Management Trainee at the Northeast Financial Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi) hailing from Sikkim said that it was her huge experience to have opportunity to attend such a professional training program organized by largely reputed organization ICC and one of premier institute of the NE the IIM-Shillong. ‘By far I was the youngest and juniormost participant in this program but I believe I had the highest takehome from this program. All thanks to Dr. Sonia and ICC for availing an opportunity for such grooming’, she overwhelming said on being asked to speak after receiving her certificate. Members of all participating organization aired same kind of view with small constructive criticism by a few.


Addressing the participants Mr. Mitra said that the topics selected by ICC for the training has been very relevant in view of work culture in Northeast India. Training as such has always been beneficial to the participants. He appealed the future managers to adhere to principle of organizational behavior and cope-up with the existing working environment. He concluded his speech applauding the efforts of ICC-NE and IIM-S in holding the training program successfully.


Mrs. Shanta B Sarmah Asst. Director ICC in her vote of thanks speech thanked IIM-Shillong for the collaboration and association with ICC for holding the program in Guwahati. She made a special mention of Mr. C C Mitra, Director IIBM who alloted them all the necessary infrastructure for the training program and thanked him for his kind presence. She thanked all the participants and the organizations for keenly participating in the program. The program ended with a call for more such management skills development training program time and again on other topics.