Human Rights Act ,1993.

Review of literature:

• Human Rights

• What is Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993?

• Introduction of Human Rights

• Objectives of Human Rights

• Kinds of Human Rights

• National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

• State Human Rights Commission (SHRC)

Article:

Human Rights:

1. Means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India, [Section 2(d), Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (India)].

2. Is a broad concept and cannot be straitjacketed within narrow confines. Any attempt to do so would truncate its all-embracing scope and reach and denude it of its vigour and vitality. Human rights are not like edicts inscribed on a rock. They are made and unmade on the crucible of experience and through irreversible process of human struggle for freedom. They admit of a certain degree of fluidity. Categories of human rights, being of infinite variety, are never really closed. Human rights are the basic, inherent, immutable and inalienable rights to which a person is entitled simply by virtue of his being born a human. They are such rights which are to be made available as a matter of right. The Constitution and legislations of a civilised country recognise them since they are so quintessentially part of every human being. That is why every democratic country committed to the rule of law put into force mechanisms for their enforcement and protection. Human rights are universal in nature. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as “UDHR”) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10-12-1948 recognises and requires the observance of certain universal rights, articulated therein, to be human rights and these are acknowledged and accepted as equal and inalienable and necessary for the inherent dignity and development of an individual. Consequently, though the term “human rights” itself has not been defined in UDHR, the nature and content of human rights can be understood from the rights enunciated therein, Ram Deo Chauhan v. Bani Kanta Das, (2010) 14 SCC 209: (2011) 3 SCC (Cri) 727.

What is the Protection of Human Right Act, 1993?

1. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 came into force with retrospective effect from September 28, 1993.

2. It applies to the whole of India and in the case of J&K, it applies to matters pertaining to Union List and the Concurrent List only.

3. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted to provide for the constitution of: o National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), o State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and o Human Rights Courts for the protection of human rights.

INTRODUCTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS :

• Definition :

According to Section 2(d) of the protection of Human Rights Act 1993 :-

“Human rights means the right relating of life, liberty, equality, dignity of individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the international Covenants and enforceable by Courts in India.”

OBJECTS Of HUMAN RIGHTS :

1) To Protect Human Being.

2) To develop individual self respect.

3) To value human dignity.

4) To promote respect, understanding and appreciation of diversity.

5) To promote democracy, Social Justice and friendship among people and nations.

KINDS OF HUMAN RIGHTS :

1) Civil and Political Rights

2) Economic and Social Rights

3) Collective Rights

1) Civil and Political Rights :- Rights contained in the Covenants of Civil and Political come under this category that see their origin in the 13th century in Magna Carta. Example:- Rights of life, liberty, right to privacy, right to freedom from torture and inhuman treatment.

2) Economic and Social Rights:- These rights refer to economic and social rights which are considered to have been originated in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and in the Paris peace conference of 1919. Example:- Food, Clothes, House and adequate standard of living and freedom from hunger etc.

3) Collective Rights :- Individuals are also members of such units , groups or communities and state, therefore, international law not only recognises inalienable rights of individual, but also recognises certain collective rights. Example:- Rights to self determination, rights to peace and development etc.

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC) :

1. NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established on 12 October, 1993.

2. Established as per provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, later amended in 2006, 2019.

3. It is the watchdog of human rights in the country, i.e. the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

4. It was established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991) and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993.

5. NHRC is a multi-member body .

NHRC history:

1. In 1948, the UN adopted the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

2. In 1991, the Paris Principles were established by the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).

3. In 1993, the UN adopted these Paris Principles at its General Assembly.

4. In 1993, India enacted the Protection of Human Rights Act.

5. This led to the formation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

6. The Protection of Human Rights Act also allowed state governments to establish the State Human Rights Commission.

Functions and Powers of NHRC :

1. NHRC investigates grievances regarding the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.

2. It has the power to interfere in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.

3. It can visit any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations thereon.

4. It can review the safeguards provided under the constitution or any law for the protection of the human rights and can recommend appropriate remedial measures.

5. NHRC undertakes and promotes research in the field of human rights.

6. NHRC works to spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promotes awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, media, seminars and other means.

7. The Commission takes an independent stand while providing opinions for the protection of human rights within the parlance of the Constitution or in law for the time being enforced.

8. It has the powers of a civil court and can grant interim relief.

9. It also has the authority to recommend payment of compensation or damages.

10. NHRC credibility is duly reflected in large number of complaints received every year and the trust reposed in it by the citizens.

11. It can recommend to both the central and state governments to take suitable steps to prevent the violation of Human Rights. It submits its annual report to the President of India who causes it to be laid before each House of Parliament.

Limitations :

1. Only make recommendations, without the power to enforce decisions.

2. NHRC cannot investigate the complaint registered after one year of incident.

3. NHRC is viewed as post-retirement destinations for judges and bureaucrats with political affiliation moreover, inadequacy of funds also hamper its working.

4. NHRC does not have any mechanism of investigation.

2019 amendment :

▫️Composition:

• A person who has been chief justice of Supreme Court, or a judge of the Supreme Court will be Chairperson of NHRC.

• 3 members to be appointed of which at least one will be a woman.

• It included Chairperson of national backward commission, National commission for the protection of child rights, chief commissioner for persons with disabilities as members of NHRC .

Chairperson of SHRC:

A person who has been chief justice or judge of a High Court .

•Term of office: Reduced the term of office to 3 years or till the age of seventy years, which ever is earlier. There is no 5 years limit for reappointment.

State Human Rights Commission (SHRC):

• The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 provides for the creation of not only the National Human Rights Commission but also a State Human Rights Commission at the State Level.

• About 26 states have constituted the State Human Rights Commission through official Notification.

• A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of subjects mentioned in the State List (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

• The Central Government may confer upon the State Human Rights Commissions the functions relating to Human Rights except the Union Territory of Delhi. Such functions for New Delhi are dealt by the National Human Rights Commission.

References:

[Section 2(d), Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (India)].

Ram Deo Chauhan v. Bani Kanta Das, (2010) 14 SCC 209: (2011) 3 SCC (Cri) 727.

Section 2(d) of the protection of Human Rights Act 1993

Chapter -II : Sec. 3 to 11 National Human Rights Commission

Chapter-V : Sec 21 to 29

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