Is Delhi a safe hub for North Easterners? SC questions Centre

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court took the Centre to task on Monday for not being able to take enough measures to prevent racial discrimination of people from the Northeastern states in Delhi and asked whether it is ready to set up a nodal agency for the purpose.

When Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said steps had been taken to prevent racial abuse of persons from the Northeast in Delhi, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said: “The steps may be on paper. It is not judicially visible on the ground. You identify a nodal agency so that the court can question it about the complaints of racial abuse received by it and the steps taken.”

The bench said there is a sizeable population of students from the Northeastern states in Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh where they study in educational institutions. “Let the Centre present us with a picture perfect mechanism for Delhi, we will ask the authorities at these educational hubs to replicate it,” the bench said.

The order came on a petition filed by Karma Dorjee two years ago shortly after an Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania was beaten to death in Delhi. Nido’s friends and family alleged that the men who killed him shouted racial slurs at him and made fun of his dyed blonde hair.

The bench had taken note of the recommendation by M P Bezbaruah committee which had suggested amendment of Section 153 IPC to make racial slur a distinct offence. It also considered the petitioner’s plea that India needed to enact stronger laws since it had ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965.

The bench termed the Centre’s affidavit as broad-based and said: “This is a sensitive issue which requires a proactive monitoring and corrective measures for years. There should be a nodal body to coordinate the efforts. To ask a huge amorphous body like the government to do it may not yield proper results. The court should be able to hold some one responsible for non-implementation of the devised strategy.”

When the ASG said he would take instructions from the ministry of home affairs and file an affidavit, the bench asked: “What have you been doing for last two years. We don’t want to be taken in by your promise to file affidavit. We want action on the ground.”

To step around the Court’s adverse comments, Singh said he would take instructions whether the government would take the legislative route to amend the related provisions in the IPC to make racial slur a distinct offence.

The bench said: “We are not on legislative measures. We cannot direct that. But tells us on Friday what steps you have taken on ground to stop persons from Northeast being subjected to racial slur.”

(Source: Times of India)

Image: Representational

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