Human Rights Commission Cannot Exercise Plenary Powers In Derogation Of The Statutory Limitations: Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court bench of Justice CK Abdul Rehim and Justice Narayana Pisharadi, held in a case related to Malabar Cements .Ltd that The Human Rights Commission has no unlimited jurisdiction. An order passed by the Kerala State Human Rights Commission directing Malabar Cements to appoint a Mazdoor in the company, was challenged by the company.

The court while considering the issue, held that:

“The commission is a statutory body created under the Act. It does not have any plenary or prerogative powers like the High Court. It exercises only statutory powers. The commission is, no doubt, entrusted with the very important function of protecting human rights. But the commission has no unlimited jurisdiction. It cannot exercise plenary powers in derogation of the statutory limitations. The commission, which is the creature if the statute, is bound by its provisions. Its duties and functions are defined and circumscribed by the Act. The commission should necessarily act within the parameters prescribed by the Act. The commission is one of the fora which can redress grievances arising out of violations of human rights. It is to be remembered that, even if the Commission is not in a position to enquire into a complaint and to afford redressal on account of statutory fetters or handicaps, the aggrieved persons are not without other remedies.”

The Commission may expel a complaint in the initial stages, if the issue identifies with administration matters. Since the issue in appeal identifies with arrangement as a mazdoor in the organization and it is an administration matter, the Commission ought to have rejected the grumbling initially. The court noted the above point with regard to Clause (f) of Regulation 17 of Kerala State Human Rights Commission (Procedure) Regulations, 2001.


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