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POTA has safeguards against misuse: NHRC chief

February 17, 2003 20:18 IST

Contrary to the views of his predecessor Justice J S Verma, the newly appointed chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Justice A S Anand, on Monday said the Prevention of Terrorism Act has provision to safeguard against his misuse.

"There are apprehensions that POTA can be misused. Any law can be misused. What we have to see is whether there is an in-built mechanism to safeguard the act from being misused. It has," Anand said after assuming charge.

He, however, said that these provisions are not enough.

The rights of a person in uniform are equally important as those who belong to civil society, he said, adding that a balanced approach towards both is necessary.

Emphasising that no civilised country could allow the terrorism to flourish, he said, "But one has to differentiate between a criminal and a terrorist. While all the terrorists are criminals, it does not necessarily mean that all criminals are terrorists."

Describing the problem of illegal migrants as 'very serious', the former chief justice of India said the government has to take necessary steps to push them out of the country. However, he refused to comment on the present issue of Bangladeshi migrants saying, "The policy of governments needs to be studied before commenting and I have not done it so far."

Describing maternal care, child labour, child abuse, custodial violence and gender inequality as some of the major challenges before the country, he said the commission will focus on protecting right to life with dignity, which envisages civil, political, cultural and social rights of a citizen.

"I am not talking about the question of excellence but issue of survival," he said.

Justice Anand, 66, is the fourth chairman of the commission.

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