India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a statutory public agency established on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of September 28, 1993. The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA) of 1993 gave it legal status . The National Human Rights Commission of India is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, which are defined by the Act as “Rights Relating To Life, Liberty, Equality, and Dignity of the Individual Guaranteed by the Constitution or Enshrined in International Covenants and Enforced by Indian Courts.” India has shown great interest in establishing or strengthening a national institution that promotes and protects human rights in the past, and has emphasized the importance of the integrity and independence of such national institutions.
In the early 1990s, in the context of political turmoil and violence in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast and Andhra Pradesh, India found it necessary to establish a committee as a positive response to criticism from foreign governments. Due to people’s awareness of human rights protection in internal pressure has also increased, requiring the establishment of a committee such as all of this led to the government’s decision to enact a law to establish a Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Protection Law was enacted in 1993. The constitution of the National Human Rights Commission, the National Human Rights Commissions of the states, and human rights courts are stipulated to better protect human rights.
Section 2 (d) of this law defines human rights in India by stipulating that human rights refer to the rights related to the life, freedom, equality and dignity of people that are guaranteed by the Constitution or incorporated into the International Covenant and enforceable by the court. National Human Rights Commission was established on October 12, 1993.
- The National Human Rights Commission shall consist a chairperson and other seven members.
- A chief justice of the supreme Court is a sole person eligible to become a chairperson of the NHRC.
- Others member are appointed from the following categories:-
a. A member can be a current or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India ;
b. A member may serve or retire as chief justice of any High court;
c. According to their specialty and knowledge in the field of human rights , appoints two members, and
d. The Chairperson of the National Committee of Scheduled Castes, the National Committee of Scheduled Tribes, the National Committee of Ethnic Minorities and the National Committee of Women are the Members of NHRC.
The Chairperson and Members of the committee are appointed by the president of India on the recommendation of Committee. The committee is chaired by the Prime Minister and other 5 Members are as specified in the Law.
- The Chairperson and members of the Commission shall serve for a term of five years from the date of their appointment or until they reach the age of seventy years, whichever comes first.
- The members of the Commission are the only ones who can be reappointed. If they have not yet reached the age of seventy, they are eligible for one more term years. Whichever comes first.
- After surrendering office, the chairperson and members of the commission are prohibited from accepting any position with the federal or state governments.
If the Chairperson’s office becomes vacant due to his absence, resignation, death, or otherwise, the President of India may appoint another member to fill the gap until the President of India directs otherwise. The Chairperson reclaims his or her position, or a new one is appointed.
- The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006 stipulates that the Chairperson or any Member may quit his office by giving notice in writing to the President of India,
- The Chairperson or any of the members of the Commission shall only be removed from office by the President of India on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity in accordance with a report submitted by the Supreme Court after conducting a due inquiry.
- However, the above provision has no bar on the President to remove the Chairperson or the members of the Commission on any of the grounds if they are:
a. Adjudged as an insolvent; or
b. Engaged in any paid employment outside during their term of office;
c. Unfit to continue in office by reasons of infirmity of mind or body;
d. Declared as of unsound mind by a competent court of law; or
e. Convicted or sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which in the opinion of the President involves moral turpitude.
FUNCTIONS OF NHRC:-
- To investigate accusations of human rights violations or abatement, or negligence displayed by a public official in the prevention of such violations, either on its own or in response to a petition presented by an aggrieved party or on his behalf by any person.
- To submit annual report to central government and to State government concerned and to submit special report in matters of urgency.
- With advance notice, to visit any jail or other institution where prisoners are held or lodged for treatment, reformation, or protection under the supervision of a State government to assess the inmates’ living conditions and offer recommendations.
- Conducting and Promoting human Rights related research.
- To examine all factors that obstruct the enjoyment of human rights, including acts of terrorism, and make recommendations to the government on how to address them.
- To research and report on human rights treaties and other international instruments, and to provide recommendations to the federal government for their effective implementation.
- To undertake publication of books or recommendations pamphlets or conduct seminars, or use the media or any other means available to it.
- To perform functions issued by SC under Art. 32 of the Constitution.
- To promote and support human Rights related non-governmental organisations and institutions.
- To propagate the concept of human rights and to promote the awareness for their protection among the various sections of the society.
- To intervene in any of the proceedings pending before a court with the permission of such a court on any complaint of violation of human rights.
- To assess the protections for the protection of human rights established by the constitution or any existing law, and to provide recommendations to the federal and state governments on how to make them effective.
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If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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