1. Introduction .
2. Constitution of State Human Rights Commission .
3. Appointment of Chairperson and Members of State Commission .
4. Resignation and Removal of Chairperson and Members of State Commission.
5. Salary and Allowances
6. Functions of State Human Rights Commission.
7. Powers of SHRC.
8. Achievements of SHRC.
The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 provides for the creation of State Human Rights Commission at the state level. A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights related to subjects covered under state list and concurrent list in the seventh schedule of the Indian constitution.
• Section 21 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 21. Constitution of State Human Rights Commission.—
(1) A State Government may constitute a body to be known as the ……………………….. (Name of the State) Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to a State Commission under this Chapter.
1[(2) The State Commission shall, with effect from such date as the State Government may by notification specify, consist of—
(a) a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court;
(b) one Member who is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court or District Judge in the State with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge;
(c) one Member to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of or practical experience in matters relating to human rights.]
(3) There shall be a Secretary who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the State Commission and shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions of the State Commission as it may delegate to him.
(4) The headquarters of the State Commission shall be at such place as the State Government may, by notification, specify.
(5) A State Commission may inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of matters relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List II and List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution: Provided that if any such matter is already being inquired into by the Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force, the State Commission shall not inquire into the said matter: Provided further that in relation to the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission, this sub-section shall have effect as if for the words and figures “List II and List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution”, the words and figures “List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and in respect of matters in relation to which the Legislature of that State has power to make laws” had been substituted.
2[(6) Two or more State Governments may, with the consent of a Chairperson or Member of a State Commission, appoint such Chairperson or, as the case may be, such Member of another State Commission simultaneously if such Chairperson or Member consents to such appointment: Provided that every appointment made under this sub-section shall be made offer obtaining the recommendations of the committee referred to in sub-section (1) of section 22 in respect of the state for which a common chairman or member, or both, the case may be, is to be appointed.]
• Section 22 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 22. Appointment of Chairperson and 2[Members] of State Commission.—
(1) The Chairperson and 1[Members] shall be appointed by the Governor by warrant under his hand and seal: Provided that every appointment under this sub-section shall be made after obtaining the recommendation of a Committee consisting of— (a) the Chief Minister—Chairperson; (b) Speaker of the Legislative Assembly—Member; (c) Minister in-charge of the Department of Home in that State—Member; (d) Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly—Member: Provided further that where there is a Legislative Council in a State, the Chairman of that Council and the Leader of the Opposition in that Council shall also be members of the Committee: Provided also that no sitting Judge of a High Court or a sitting district judge shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State.
(2) No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member of the State Commission shall be invalid merely by reason of 2[any vacancy of any Member in the Committee referred to in sub-section (1).]
• Section 23 in The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
1[23. Resignation and Removal of Chairperson or a Member of the State Commission].—
2[(1) The Chairperson or a Member of a State Commission may, by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the Governor, resign his office. (1A) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the Chairperson or any Member of the State Commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it by the President, has, on inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed in that behalf by the Supreme Court, reported that the Chairperson or such Member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed.]
(2) Notwithstanding anything in 3[sub-section (1A)], the President may by order remove from office the Chairperson or any 4[Member] if the Chairperson or such 4[Member], as the case may be,— (a) is adjudged an insolvent; or (b) engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or (c) is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or (d) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or (e) is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which in the opinion of the President involves moral turpitude.
Salary and Allowances
The state government determines the chairperson’s or member’s salary, allowances, and other working conditions. After his appointment, however, they cannot be changed to his detriment.
Functions of the States Human Rights Commission :
The functions of the States Human Rights Commission are as follows:
• To investigate any breach of human rights or failure to prevent such violations by a public servant, either on its own initiative or in response to a petition or a court order.
• To intervene in any pending legal proceedings including allegations of human rights violations.
• Visit jails and detention centers to assess detainees’ living conditions and make recommendations.
• Review and recommend steps for effective implementation of constitutional and other legal safeguards for the protection of human rights.
• Review the circumstances that obstruct the enjoyment of human rights, including acts of terrorism, and make recommendations for solutions.
• To conduct and encourage research on human rights issues.
• People’s human rights literacy should be promoted, as well as awareness of the measures available to defend these rights.
Powers of the States Human Rights Commission
• The Commission has the authority to govern its own procedure. It has all of the functions of a civil court and conducts judicial proceedings.
• It may request information or a report from the state government or any other authority that has previously been subordinate.
• The Commission has no authority to investigate any matter after one year has passed after the alleged violation of human rights occurred.
• To put it another way, it can investigate a problem within a year of its occurrence.
The Commission may take any of the following steps during or upon the completion of an inquiry:
• It may suggest that the victim’s compensation or damages be paid by the state government or authority.
• It may suggest to the state government or authority that criminal charges or other actions be brought against the state government.
• It may suggest to the state government or authority that the victim be granted prompt interim relief.
• It may seek direction, order, or writs from the Supreme Court or a state high court.
• The state government receives the Commission’s annual or special reports. These reports are presented to the state legislature, together with a memorandum of action taken on the Commission’s recommendations and the reasons for rejecting any of them.
Achievements of SHRC
• The State Human Rights Commission of Tamil Nadu directed the state government to compensate Rs.75 lakhs to 15 Irula tribal members for the harassment by the Villupuram police.
• The Assam State Human Rights Commission has taken a suo moto case on the fake encounters in the state.
• The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission issued suo moto notices to the Commissioners of Labour and Social Welfare departments regarding the employment of child labor in railway stations. Conclusion
• The State Human Rights Commission has clearly demonstrated its willingness to assist all sections of society in the safeguarding of human rights.
• People are putting increasing faith in this Commission to protect their human rights. Despite the fact that the SHRCs has been in existence for 25 years, many questions about their operation and usefulness remain unanswered.
• The commission’s reputation and legitimacy are on the line. There is a pressing need for the Commission’s jurisdiction and power to be expanded.
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