Government Shuts Down J&K Human Rights Commission, Information Commission

The state commissions have been ordered shut despite the fact that many Union Territories have equivalent bodies.

New Delhi/Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration – which is directly controlled by the Narendra Modi government in the Centre – has shut down seven government commissions, including those dealing with human rights, the right to information, the rights of the disabled, and allegations against public functionaries.

An official order issued Wednesday said a total of seven state commissions would cease to exist with effect from October 31. No reason for their dissolution has been given.

The commissions being wound up are the:

  • Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC)
  • State Information Commission (SIC)
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)
  • State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC)
  • State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights (SCPWCR)
  • State Commission for Persons with Disabilities (SCPwD)
  • State Accountability Commission (SAC).

All that the official order, issued by the state’s General Administration Department said was that “consequent upon repeal of the acts related to these commissions by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, sanction is hereby accorded to the winding up of these commissions, with effect from October 31, 2019”.

It is not clear what the status of matters these commissions have taken up or issued orders on will be. However, the term of all officeholders  – chairpersons, presidents and members of these commissions – will come to an end the same date.

October 31 is also the date that the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be bifurcated into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Many Union Territories – Puducherry and Delhi, for example – have commissions of the kind that the latest order has abolished so it is not clear why the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are to be deprived of, say, a regional human rights commission.

The GAD order asked the secretaries of the seven commissions to handover the possession of the buildings housing their respective offices, along with furniture and electronic gadgets, to the director of the estates department.

The secretaries shall transfer all records pertaining to their respective commissions to the concerned departments, the order stated.

With inputs from PTI