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MHRC concerned over low number of public complaints

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SHILLONG, April 23: The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is concerned that not many people approach it to lodge a complaint.
MHRC chairperson Justice (retired) T Vaiphei on Tuesday said the Commission does not receive even 10 complaints in a month.
He said in contrast, the people in Assam, especially Barak valley, frequently approach the Assam Human Rights Commission and it receives 7-8 complaints every single day. He said the people in Assam approach the Commission even when they do not get proper water supply.
Stating that the scope of the Commission gets limited when a matter is between private individuals, Justice Vaiphei said the Commission can act if there is a public element involved in it.
Since 2017, the MHRC registered 214 cases of complaints and out of these, 108 were disposed of. The Commission disposed of 22 of the 57 cases that it registered suo motu.
In 11 cases, the victims or their families were awarded compensation. The total amount of compensation was of Rs 33,51,000.
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh was provided to the families of six persons who had lost their lives in a coal pit mishap. Similarly, in a matter of negligence by a hospital, a compensation of Rs 3 lakh was provided.
Compensation of Rs 5 lakh (Rs 2.5 lakh each) was awarded to a family from West Khasi Hills that lost two of its minor members due to electrocution. In a case of custodial death, a family had received compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
Stating that the scope of human rights is vast and not limited to harassment by the police, Justice Vaiphei said people can also approach the Commission on matters of government projects and schemes such as MGNREGA when they find that these are not implemented properly.
He said the Commission can take the police to task if an investigation is not carried out properly.
He said although the recommendations of the MHRC are not binding on the government, yet most of its recommendations were adhered to by the Meghalaya government.
Meanwhile, the Commission has sought a report from the state  government on media reports that no arrest has been made yet in the recent South West Garo Hills alleged gang-rape and assault case involving two minor girls. A notice was issued to the district superintendent of police to submit a detailed report.
Justice Vaiphei said the Commission cannot interfere in matters of central government institutions. He said people have to approach the National Human Rights Commission if they want to file a case against any central government institutions.

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