Noise pol­lu­tion? Seek money from govt: HC Com­mon en­trance test likely for all cen­tral var­si­ties

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Bhadra Sinha bhadra.sinha@hin­dus­tan­times.com Badri Chat­ter­jee badri@chat­ter­jee@hin­dus­tan­times.com Nee­lam Pandey nee­lam.pandey@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (NHRC) can­not in­ves­ti­gate al­leged ex­cesses by armed forces in mil­i­tancy-af­fected ar­eas such as Ma­nipur and Jammu & Kash­mir as the panel is only a rec­om­menda­tory body, the Cen­tre told the Supreme Court on Wed­nes­day.

At­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi also turned down the NHRC’s of­fer to probe more than 1,500 al­leged ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings in Ma­nipur and said even the top court can­not “trans­plant” any pow­ers on the panel.

“It amounts to ju­di­cial leg­is­la­tion and will have a dele­te­ri­ous ef­fect on the Army fight­ing against all odds in dif­fi­cult ter­rain,” Ro­hatgi told a bench of jus­tices MB Loukur and UU Lalit.

In July, the court had held that the al­leged ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings by Army and Ma­nipur po­lice re­quired a thor­ough probe. How­ever, there was no de­ci­sion which agency will con­duct the probe.

Ac­tivists have long been de­mand­ing scrap­ping of the con­tro­ver­sial Armed Forces (Spe­cial Pow­ers) Act, en­forced in parts of the North­east and Kash­mir, al­leg­ing ram­pant hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions by se­cu­rity forces un­der the im­mu­nity granted to them by the law.

NHRC coun­sel Gopal Subra­ma­nium said: “If there are ab­ro­ga­tion of hu­man rights, then ac­count­abil­ity has to be fixed on the erring per­son­nel. Here there is no ac­count­abil­ity”.

Cit­i­zens can claim com­pen­sa­tion from the state if their com­plaints about noise pol­lu­tion have gone un­heard, the Bom­bay high court said.

A divi­sion bench of jus­tice Ab­hay Oka and jus­tice Am­jad Sayed said the fail­ure of law en­force­ment agen­cies in im­ple­ment­ing noise pol­lu­tion rules was a vi­o­la­tion of a cit­i­zen’s fun­da­men­tal right.

The or­der, is­sued on Au­gust 16, was pub­lished on the court’s web­site on Septem­ber 5. The court will hear the mat­ter again on Oc­to­ber 4 to dis­cuss de­tails about the com­pen­sa­tion cit­i­zens can claim.

“We hold that any breach of the Noise Pol­lu­tion Rules shall amount in­fringe­ment of fun­da­men­tal right of cit­i­zens un­der the Ar­ti­cle 21 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia and apart from the other reme­dies avail­able, the cit­i­zens will have right to seek com­pen­sa­tion from the state within the mean­ing of Ar­ti­cle 12 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia on ac­count of breach of fun­da­men­tal rights,” read the or­der.

The Union hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment min­istry is ex­plor­ing the op­tion of in­tro­duc­ing a com­mon en­trance test for all cen­tral uni­ver­si­ties, a move that will end the un­re­al­is­tic high cut­offs for ad­mis­sion, recorded of­ten in Delhi Univer­sity. Sev­eral Delhi Univer­sity col­leges de­clare 100% marks as cut­off to study pop­u­lar cour­ses such as math­e­mat­ics, eco­nomics, and his­tory. Many stu­dents seek­ing ad­mis­sion miss out by a whisker de­spite hav­ing im­pres­sive marks — such as 95% — in their Class 12 school exam. The pro­posed ad­mis­sion pro­ce­dure will put all stu­dents on an equal foot­ing as ev­ery­one will be tested through a com­mon ex­am­i­na­tion.

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