HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION HAS THE AUTHORITY TO GIVE COMPENSATION FOR ANY VIOLATION: KERALA HIGH COURT
The High Court of Kerala passed a judgment on 30th January 2023 ,stating the Human Rights Commission has the authority to compensate for any violation of Human Rights. It was stated in the case of Kottayam Municipality & Anr. v. The Chairperson, Kerala State Human Rights Commission & Ors. which was passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Murali Purushothaman.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
A street vendor had approached the Human Rights Commission, alleging that a sanitation worker from the Municipality had asked him to remove a waste kit placed near his vending place and when the former told that him that he had not kept the same at the place, the worker had verbally abused him. It was further alleged that when he had left the vending place to buy medicine, about 15 employees of the Municipality came in a garbage collection vehicle and took away all the clothes kept by him for sale. He contended before the SHRC that this had affected his source of livelihood, and that he was not in a position to repay the loans, and that he had also sustained a loss of Rs.2,34,000/- The Municipality subsequently filed a report before the SHRC stating that the 3rd respondent was summarily evicted pursuant to an order issued by it and in exercise of its powers under Section 367 (3) of the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994 since there were reports regarding obstruction to vehicular and pedestrian traffic due to the street vending and that the 3rd respondent had occupied 3/4th of the pavement and was littering the area causing blockage of the drain. Thereafter, the SHRC visited the premises of the Municipality and recorded that only one box and a few items could be seen and no details of the items could be seen and no details of the items seized were recorded in the mazhar. The SHRC thus found the said act of the Municipality to be discriminatory, and his eviction from the place where he had been doing business for a quarter century as inhuman and in violation of his human rights and right to life and the directions of the Supreme Court and the Government Policies
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE:
The Court in this case perused Sections 367 which provides for removal of encroachments, and 372 which provides for instances where the Secretary may remove encroachments without notice. It ascertained that as per Section 367(3), the power vested in the Secretary to summarily evict encroachments is discretionary and shall be exercised judicially and reasonably. The Court had in the said case, rejected the argument that the Commission lacked the jurisdiction to direct payment of compensation. The petitioners were granted two months’ time from the date of the order to make payment of the amount ordered by the SHRC
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ROSHNI SABU, KERALA LAW ACADEMY LAW COLLEGE.