National Human Rights Commission:Composition, Powers and Functions

Abstract :

1. Composition of National Human Rights Commission.

2. Functions of Human Rights Commission.

3. Powers of Human Rights Commission. Article:

• Section 3 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 deals with the constitution of the NHRC Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission.—

(1) The Central Government shall constitute a body to be known as the National Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, it under this Act.

(2) The Commission shall consist of—

(a) a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;

(b) one Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court;

(c) one Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court;

(d) two Members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

(3) The Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, 1[The National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes] and the National Commission for Women shall be deemed to be Members of the Commission for the discharge of functions specified in clauses (b) to (j) of section 12.

(4) There shall be a Secretary-General who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions of the Commission 2[(except judicial functions and the power to make regulations under section 40B) as may be delegated to him by the Commission or the Chairperson, as the case may be].

(5) The headquarters of the Commission shall be at Delhi and the Commission may, with the previous approval of the Central Govern¬ment, establish offices at other places in India. • Section 12 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 deals with the functions of NHRC Functions of the Commission.—The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:—

(a) inquire, suo-motu or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf 1[or on a direction or order of any court], into complaint of— (i) violation of human rights or abetment thereof; or (ii) negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant;

(b) intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the appro¬val of such court;

2[(c) visit, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates thereof and make recommendations thereon to the Government;] 2[(c) visit, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates thereof and make recommendations thereon to the Government;]”

(d) review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implemen¬tation;

(e) review the factors, including acts of terrorism, that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures;

(f) study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementa¬tion;

(g) undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;

(h) spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means;

(i) encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisation and institutions working in the field of human rights;

(j) such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.

  • (1) The Commission shall, while inquiring into complaints under this Act, have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:— (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath; (b) discovery and production of any document; (c) receiving evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; (e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents; (f) any other matter which may be prescribed.
  • (2) The Commission shall have power to require any person, sub¬ject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the inquiry and any person so required shall be deemed to be legally bound to furnish such information within the meaning of section 176 and section 177 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • (3) The Commission or any other officer, not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer, specially authorised in this behalf by the Commission may enter any building or place where the Commission has reason to believe that any document relating to the subject matter of the inquiry may be found, and may seize any such docu¬ment or take extracts or copies therefrom subject to the provi¬sions of section 100 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in so far as it may be applicable.
  • (4) The Commission shall be deemed to be a civil court and when any offence as is described in section 175, section 178, section 179, section 180 or section 228 of the Indian Penal Code is committed in the view or presence of the Commission, the Commis¬sion may, after recording the facts constituting the offence and the statement of the accused as provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, forward the case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the Magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused as if the case has been forwarded to him under section 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • (5) Every proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196, of the Indian Penal Code, and the Commission shall be deemed to be a civil court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • 1[(6) Where the Commission considers it necessary or expedient so to do, it may, by order, transfer any complaint filed or pending before it to the State Commission of the State from which the complaint arises, for disposal in accordance with the provisions of this Act: Provided that no such complaint shall be transferred unless the same is one respecting which the State Commission has jurisdiction to entertain the same.
  • (7) Every complaint transferred under sub-section (6) shall be dealt with and disposed of by the State Commission as if it were a complaint initially filed before it.]
  • Section 14 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 deals with the powers of National Human Rights Commission relating to investigation.
  • Section 14 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 Investigation.—
  • (1) The Commission may, for the purpose of conducting any investigation pertaining to the inquiry, utilise the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Cen¬tral Government or any State Government with the concurrence of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be.
  • (2) For the purpose of investigating into any matter pertaining to the inquiry, any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1) may, subject to the direction and control of the Commission,— (a) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him; (b) require the discovery and production of any document; and (c) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any office.
  • (3) The provisions of section 15 shall apply in relation to any statement made by a person before any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1) as they apply in relation to any statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence before the Commission.
  • (4) The officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1) shall investigate into any matter pertaining to the inquiry and submit a report thereon to the Commission within such period as may be specified by the Commission in this behalf.
  • (5) The Commission shall satisfy itself about the correctness of the facts stated and the conclusion, if any, arrived at in the report submitted to it under sub-section (4) and for this purpose the Commission may make such inquiry (including the examination of the person or persons who conducted or assisted in the inves¬tigation) as it thinks fit.
  • References: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/842137/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/958544/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1348169/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/720759/

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