HC questions NHRC's power to award damages

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) The Delhi High Court asked the NHRC to examine its limitation to award damages to a person, whose Human Rights were violated during interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Remanding back the order of the NHRC, Justice Sunil Gaur yesterday told them to take a fresh look at the limitation of its order.

The NHRC had directed the ED to pay Rs 50,000 as damages to an accused, who alleged that his basic rights were violated by the ED, while investigating a FERA violation case. He complained of torture and misconduct by the ED officers.

Remanding back the matter to the NHRC for consideration on the question of limitation, Justice Gaur asked the NHRC to explain the reasons incase the Commission claimed to have the jurisdiction to award immediate compensation.

The court allowed a petition filed by the central government through the ED questioning the jurisdiction of the Commission to pass an order on immediate relief.

In the year 2000, the NHRC had directed the ED to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to accused Prabhakar L Mehta on his complaint that he was tortured by the ED officials during raids at his residence conducted in 1997.

According to the prosecution, in 1996, Mumbai-based Mehta had illegally transferred foreign exchange worth Rs 467 crore from South Indian Bank, Mumbai, against bogus import.

On Mehta's plea, the NHRC had ordered an inquiry and finding the allegations to be true, the Commission had awarded an interim relief of Rs 50,000 to the victim and asked the investigating agency to shell out the amount.

Challenging the interim order of the NHRC, the Central government moved a petition before the High Court and questioned the Commission's limitation.

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