New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (August 13) slapped a cost of up to Rs 1 lakh on seven states for failing to file responses regarding setting up of human rights courts despite its January 2018 direction.

The top court imposed cost of Rs 1 lakh each on Rajasthan and Uttarakhand while noting that neither have they filed their responses nor their advocates were present in the court during the hearing.

A bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and BR Gavai also slapped cost of Rs 50,000 each on Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Meghalaya and Mizoram after it was told that these states have not filed their responses.

The bench said these seven states can file their response within four weeks subject to payment of cost. 

The top court had on January 4, 2018 directed all the states to file their responses on the issue of setting up of human rights courts as mandated in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and appointment of special public prosecutors. 

Following this, in July 2019 the apex court had agreed to hear a plea seeking direction to the Centre for setting up human rights courts in every district of the country as mandated under the Protection of Human Rights Act. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to all 29 states on the plea which also sought appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) for conducting speedy trial of offences arising out of human rights violation within a time period.  

The petition filed by a law student, Bhavika Phore, had sought direction to the Centre for providing sufficient and adequate funds for setting up of human rights court in all 725 districts in 29 states and seven Union Territories (at that point in time) in a time bound manner. She also sought an instruction to registrars of all the high courts for the same.