Loktak fishermen take their case to NHRC
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, January 24 2013:
A joint delegation of All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen's Union and Centre for Organisation Research and Education, (CORE) met Justice KG Balkrishnan, National Human Rights Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India on January 22 regarding the complaint and written statements submitted concerning the grievances faced by the Phumdi dwellers of Loktak Lake.
The delegation comprising Oinam Rajen Singh, Secretary General ALLAFU, Manipur, Kh.
Deven Singh, Secretary Treasurer and Kh.
Jibon Singh, Advocate and social worker urged for immediate repeal of the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006, in particular Article 19 and 20 of the said Act, which violates the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.
Justice Balkrishnan informed the delegation that the state Director General of Police has been asked to investigate how the management of Loktak Lake has been taken over by K-PRO from the Loktak Development Authority and the same should be handed over to the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) .
Kh Jibon Singh Adviser of the organizations apprised the NHRC Chairman Justice Balkrishnan that fishermen are often harassed under the provision of the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006, which empowers the officers of the LDA to search and arrest without any notice or warrant.
Jibon Singh stated that such an Act forfeits the dignity and liberty of the fishermen forcibly in complete contrast with the Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which says, "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law" .
He also reminded the case of Maneka Gandhi vs Govt of India whereby Article 21 also protects the Right to Life and personal liberty of citizens not only from the Executive action but also from the Legislative action.
A person can be deprived of his life and personal liberty if two conditions are complied with.
Firstly, there must be a law and secondly, there must be a procedure prescribed by that Law provided that procedure is just, fair and reasonable (Meneka Gandi Vs.
Union of India AIR 1978 SC 597) .
Justice Balkrishna informed the delegation that there is a case pending before the Gauhati Bench High Court; during the tendency of writ petition in High Court, he could not direct till the disposal of the case.
However, he said that there cannot be any violation of human rights in Manipur.
The delegation also submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar for immediate repeal of the Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006 to protect the basic rights of fishermen.