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  • » 02/18/2010, 00.00

    INDIA

    Historic verdict by Supreme Court to allow independent investigations in states

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Judges say investigators need not obtain prior consent of State governments before launching probes. For human rights advocates, the ruling will protect minorities like those in Orissa and Gujarat.
    Delhi (AsiaNews) – This is a “milestone judgement,” well-known human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi told AsiaNews. Now, ordinary people “have one more option [. . .] especially in cases where officials of state governments are involved in crimes.” Raghuvanshi, who heads the Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), was speaking about a ruling by the Indian Supreme Court that would allow the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct investigations in any state without the prior consent of the concerned state government.

    Hitherto, the CBI required local approval of before it would start any probe, but now the court’s decision removes any doubt as to what it can or cannot do.  This is especially important in India where corrupt State government officials have turned a blind eye on crimes against minorities, the PVCHR chairman said.

    Justice will be served in cases where States are not keen on investigations into corruption or genocide, “in Orissa (Kandhamal) or in Gujarat, where State officials are involved in violating the human rights of ordinary people. It is a very important judgement that gives the people of India one more independent instrument to fight for justice.”

    A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan reached the unanimous verdict but  added a word of caution, noting that such powers have to be used sparingly in exceptional and extraordinary circumstances in cases having national and international ramifications. Otherwise, the CBI would be flooded with routine cases.

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    See also

    05/03/2014 INDIA
    For Christian leader, victims in Orissa and Gujarat should be treated the same way
    The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) calls on the central government to give the children of victims of anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (2008) the same privileges in government hiring as it does for the children of Hindu-Muslim riots (2002).

    07/01/2009 INDIA
    Supreme Court tells Orissa to ensure Christians’ safety
    The ruling, issued last Sunday, criticises the authorities’ slowness in responding early to the violence. Also on Sunday the nun raped in K. Nuagaon on 25 August identified two of her assailants.

    24/01/2011 INDIA
    Christian leaders denounce dangerous Supreme Court comments on the murder of Graham Staines
    While confirming the life sentence for the main culprit of the heinous crime, the court added a few remarks on non-existent forced conversions that seem to justify sectarian and anti-Christian violence. Cardinal Gracias, "I'm worried about the interpretations that may be given to this view, and especially for the implications that this ruling could have in the future."

    10/02/2012 INDIA
    Gujarat massacre: government to rebuild more than 500 places of worship
    The state’s High Court makes the ruling following a petition by the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat. Fr Prakash, director of a Jesuit human rights centre, welcomes the decision. More than a thousand people were killed in the 2002 riots; 523 places were destroyed, including three churches.

    05/02/2014 INDIA
    India’s Supreme Court to review "pro- Hindu" ruling, to curb religious extremism
    In 1995, the country's highest court ruled that seeking votes in the name of Hinduism is not a form of corruption. The verdict was heavily criticized, because the defendant in that trial had been elected on the back of Hindutva, a nationalist ideology . The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC ) urges a favorable decision of the Supreme Court in view of the general elections of May 2014. "In states where Hindutva is pursued, minorities live in insecurity".



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