Human rights in Maharashtra is a subject that major political parties in the state think best to relegate to the backburner. Clearly, it is only the voting aspect of these rights that seems to concern them and not other basic human rights.
What else could explain the fact that since 2018, the three-member panel has been headless and without one member.
The sole member - M A Sayeed has singlehandedly disposed of at least 50% of the pending cases but unfortunately, he too retired on April 27, this year, reducing the state committee to a hollow shell.
Now since April, it has been over a month, the human commission is lying defunct with only the secretary Tukaram Munde and the Registrar Pramod Lokhande.
"I retired in April after manning the commission work all alone. I worked as the acting chairperson since 2018 till my retirement date," Sayeed told the Free Press Journal.
The former retired judge of the lower judiciary in the state further said that the commission wrote several letters to the state governments both the Devendra Fadnavis led dispensation and also the present MVA.
"We had written letters to both the state governments but there has been no response yet. In fact, in December itself, I had written a letter to the state highlighting the serious shortfall of staff including members of the commission," he said, adding, "But there has been no response yet. I had even asked them to re-appoint me as there is a provision to re-appoint a retired member. But no response yet."
According to the officials of the commission, there is a backlog of around 20,000 cases.
"During his tenure of acting chairperson, Sayeed disposed of over 10,000 cases. He worked throughout the pandemic and last year alone he disposed over 3,500 cases," Lokhande said.
Given the alarming numbers of pending cases, Sayeed said that it is really a serious issue. "The pandemic is going on there are so many rampant human rights violations across the state. There is the issue of migrants, no proper facilities at hospitals, patients being turned down admission etc."
"Thus, the state must consider appointing the sanctioned posts at the earliest so that people's rights are protected. The commission must function at the earliest given the pandemic," Sayeed said.