The Telangana High Court on Saturday pulled up the state government and has asked it to explain its stand on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which pointed out that the state had failed to appoint a Lokayukta, a Upa-Lokayukta and a new chairperson for the State Human Rights Commission.
Khammam-based social activist Koini Venkanna had filed the PIL pointing out that thousands of cases were pending with the Lokayukta and the SHRC due to the state government's apathy in filling up the vacant posts. After hearing the issue, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akhter issued a notice to the Telangana government.
After the state's Advocate General BS Prasad sought some time to file a counter, the bench then posted the matter for hearing on September 11.
In Telangana, statutory bodies, which protect human rights, particularly of women and children, have remained defunct for months and sometimes, years.
The State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) has been defunct for close to two years, while the state has not had a Chairperson for the State Women's Commission for over a year.
Since November 1, 2018, not a single case has come up for hearing at the SHRC, due to no chairperson being appointed. According to the SHRC's own data provided to TNM last month, between 1 November 2018 and 6 July 2019, a total of 3,823 fresh complaints were filed, and there was no one to hear these cases.
An RTI response to TNM from the Public Information Officer of the Lokayukta in July showed that since 15 December 2017, 2,767 complaints had been received, while the total number of complaints pending with the institution was a staggering 5,283.
The RTI reply also said that the matter of bifurcation of the institution was also still pending with the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.