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Donate the Constitution instead of religious books: Justice Saikia

Ri Bhoi, 9th Mile, Khanapara, 30 January 2018: With the objective to create greater public awareness of the importance of human rights to the lives of people, the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC)organized an ‘Awareness Programme on Human Rights’ at University of Science and Technology, Meghalaya in association with the University School of Law and Research here today. The programme was addressed by Dr. Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia, Chairperson, MHRC; P.J.P. Hanaman, Member, MHRC; Noor Khan, District Session Judge, Ri Bhoi and West Jaintia Hills; Baharun Saikia, Advocate, Gauhati High Court and was participated by hundreds of law and political science students from USTM, apart from other participants.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Justice Aftab Husain Saikia, the MHRC Chairman and former Chief Justice in Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim, said that human right in India is in a critical state as “a judgement is always judge oriented”. “Even learned people in our country have been seen violating human rights. Therefore, I feel that people should read the Constitution to know our rights and duties. One should make it a point to donate the Constitution to as many people possible, rather than donating religious books”, he added. According to him, in view of the innumerable cases of human rights violation in India, there is an urgent need for establishment of Human Rights Courts in every district of every state of the country.

Making a Power-Point Presentation on “Overview of Human Rights in Meghalaya”, P.J.P. Hanaman, Hon’ble member, MHRC said that Meghalaya Human Rights Commission was constituted only recently on 15 July 2016 under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 which made Meghalaya the third state after Assam and Tripura to have a Human Rights Commission. Hanaman pointed out five categories of human rights—Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and explained them to the students and all present in the programme. He said that the two main functions of MHRC are, i) to inquire suo moto or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person against violation of human rights by a public servant or abetment thereof, ii) negligence in the prevention of violence. Moreover, MHRC would not enquire into any matter which has taken place more than one year earlier.

Speaking on the occasion, Noor Khan, District Session Judge, Ri Bhoi and West Jaintia Hills, said that people have to understand the concept of human rights first. He said that certain laws have become redundant and that is why the concept of human rights emerged. “Human Right is an interest to be protected by the state. It is not enough to confer right, but there should be a mechanism in order to confer rights so that rights could be enjoyed”, he said.

Baharun Saikia, eminent advocate in Gauhati High Court deliberated on various aspects women’s rights and touched problems such as dowry death, acid attack, divorce cases, public assault of women, trafficking, etc.

Earlier, welcoming the participants, Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor of USTM said that USTM takes interest in research, study and participation in issues having impact on the well being of the society. He said that Meghalaya can expect to have a world class university at USTM in the near future. An interactive session also took place between the students and the speakers. The programme came to an end with the vote of thanks given by Prof Alaka Sarma, Dean, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, USTM.

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