National Human Rights Commission
Updated: Dec 17, 2022
•What are Human Rights?:
When a terrorist kills multiple people in an attack then he violates the Right to life. When paparazzi go beyond their prescribed limits by law to show the audience, the insides of the life of a celebrity then they violate the right to privacy of that celebrity. When concerned authorities or personnel do not do anything to improve the living standards of people and do not provide relief to them in case they are starving and there is a shortage of food and water then they violate the Right to adequate standards of living and freedom from hunger.
These above-mentioned rights fall in the category of Human Rights. In other words, the rights which every person inherits at the time of his/her birth and which can't be taken away from him/her till the time he/she dies are called Human Rights. However, these Rights are subjected to certain restrictions.
•National Human Rights Commission:
It is the Independent body which got established on a national level to protect and promote Human Rights. Section 2(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 facilitated its formation. The Foundation of this body is the Paris Principles which came into existence in 1991 at the meeting of the United Nations which took place in Paris. Due to these Paris Principles, the nations that adopted these principles established National Human Rights Commission to ensure the proper implementation of Human Rights.
~Important Sections of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993:
This Section provides the place where the headquarter is situated and the members of the National Human Rights Commission which is formed by the Central Government and they are:
(a) Chairperson = former Chief justice of India / former judge of the Supreme Court
(b) 1 member = present/former Judge of the Supreme Court
(c) 1 member = present/former Chief Justice of a High Court
(d) 3 members, out of which 1 should be a woman, are appointed amongst persons with knowledge or practical experience in the field of Human Rights.
(3) Chairperson of :
i) the National Commission for Minorities
ii) the National Commission for Other Backward Classes
iii)the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
iv)the National Commission for Schedule Castes
v) the National Commission for Schedule Tribes and
vi) the Chief Commissioner for disabled persons
These people shall be considered to do functions which are given in Section 12 clauses (b) and (j).
(4) CEO of the Commission will be the Secretary-General who will work under the control of the Chairperson and will have all administrative and financial powers but no judicial power to make rules according to Section 40 B.
(5) Headquarters = Delhi
•Section 4 :
This Section deals with the appointment of chairpersons and other members which is done by the President with the recommendation of a committee which involves:
# The Prime Minister as chairperson
# The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
# The Minister of Home Affairs
# The Leader of the Opposition Party in the Lok Sabha
# The leader of the Opposition Party in the Rajya Sabha
# The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
No Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of the High court can be appointed to the Commission without consultation with the Chief justice of India. Furthermore, No appointment done by the committee of a chairperson or other members will be nullified based on the vacancy in the Committee.
•Section 5 :
This Section provides the specifications of the resignation of or removing the chairperson and other members of the Commission. Those are:
(1) Chairperson or any member can resign by writing a notice to the President.
(2) the President can remove the Chairman or the members if they are proven guilty of misbehaving or are incapable, in the inquiry conducted by the Supreme Court.
(3) The conditions under which the Chairperson or the members can be removed are:
a) If they are declared insolvent.
b) If they do any paid work besides being a member of the Commission.
c) If they are not mentally or physically fit to hold their position.
d) If they are declared to be of an unsound mind.
e) If they are convicted of committing an immoral crime.
According to this Section, the Chairperson and the members are eligible to hold their position for a particular period or till attaining a particular age and those terms are as follows:
(1) For Chairperson: Term of 3 years beginning from the date he or she enters the office / until he or she becomes 70 years old, whichever is earlier. Chairperson is also eligible for reappointment until he or she attains the age of 70 years.
(2) For members: Term of 3 years beginning from the date he or she enters the office / until he or she becomes 70 years old, whichever is earlier. Members are also eligible for reappointment until they attain the age of 70 years.
(3) After leaving the office, a chairperson or a member can not gain employment under both the Central government and the State governments of all states.
•Functions of the Commission:
Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 provides the functions of the commission. Those are as follows:
(a) Take action based on a petition of the victim or Suo Moto Cognizance, in the complaint of violations of Human Rights.
(b) It can intervene in cases of violation of human rights which are presented before a court, with the permission of such court.
(c) It can conduct visits with the permission of the State Governments, to jails to examine the living conditions of prisoners.
(d) It reviews the laws made by the constitution to protect Human Rights and also ensure their proper implementation.
(e) It can provide remedies and compensations in the cases of Human Rights violations.
(f) It studies International treaties and other policies on Human Rights and ensures their effective implementation.
(g) It encourages research in the field of Human Rights.
(h) It makes people aware of their Human Rights and the relief that they can get in case of a violation of those rights with the help of media, seminars, publications in the newspapers and magazines etc.
(i) It supports NGOs that work to protect the Human Rights of the people.
•Nature of the complaints that are presented before this Commission:
# The Complaint can be made by the victim or by any person on the behalf of the victim of a Human Rights violation.
# These Complaints can be made in any language that is provided in the 8th Schedule of our Constitution.
# The complaint should contain either the violation of Human Rights or Negligence of a public servant which led to the violations of Human Rights.
# Types of complaints which are not usually entertained by the commission are:
i) Unclear Complaints which do not contain the name of the person who is submitting the complaint or a false name is mentioned in the complaint.
ii) The Complaints are senseless and are not worth considering.
iii) Pending Complaints in any court can not be solely entertained by the commission without the permission of that court.
iv) Complaints which are submitted after 1 year of that episode of Human Rights violation.
v) Complaints which are related to a civil dispute, service matter, labour or industrial disputes, property rights or contractual obligations.
•Achievements of the Commission:
According to the website ‘the quint’:
(i) On 10 December 2020, which is Human Rights day, 19, 50, 695 cases got registered and out of those 19, 32, 533 cases were disposed of.
(ii) Victims got relief of close to 2 Billion rupees on the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission.
(iii) The number of Suo Moto cases has also dropped by 46.32% between 2012-2020.
•Limitation of the Commission:
(i) It is considered to have no real powers.
(ii) It is viewed as incapable of providing legal relief to the victims.
(iii) In the matters of Human Rights violations which involve the Armed Forces, the Commission have to rely on Center Government’s reports.
(iv) It only has the power of recommendations.
(v) It has no power to enforce its decision by making it legally binding.
At last, the National Human Rights Commission have strived over the years to protect and promote the Human Rights of the citizens. It has helped in providing a safer environment to the people and has gotten many victims back on their feet by compensating them for the losses that they suffered when their Human Rights got violated. Human Rights play a very vital role in the life of a person as these rights provide him/her the basic freedoms which help them in leading a liberated, dignified and safe lifestyle in India.