About: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

About: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

  • The National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established in 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • The commission is the watchdog of human rights in the country i.e. 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.
  • Objectives:
    • To strengthen the institutional arrangements through which human rights issues could be addressed in their entirety in a more focussed manner.
    • To look into allegations of excesses, independently of the government, in a manner that would underline the government’s commitment to protect human rights.
    • To complement and strengthen the efforts that have already been made in this direction.

Composition of NHRC:

  • The commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairperson and five members.
  • The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • The chairperson and members are appointed by the President on the recommendations of a six-member committee consisting of:
    • Prime Minister (head)
    • Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
    • Leaders of the Opposition in Both Houses of Parliament
    • Union Home Minister

  • The chairperson and members hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. They are eligible for reappointment.
  • After their tenure, the chairperson and members are not eligible for further employment under the Central or a state government.
  • Inaddition to these full-time members, the commission also hasseven ex-officio members–the chairpersons of the NationalCommission for Minorities, the National Commission for SCs, theNational Commission for STs, the National Commission forWomen, the National Commission for BCs and the NationalCommission for Protection of Child Rights and the ChiefCommissioner for Persons with Disabilities.

Functions of the Commission:

  • To inquire into any violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant, either suo motu or on a petition presented to it or on an order of a court.
  • To intervene in any proceeding involving allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court.
  • To visit jails and detention places to study the living conditions of inmates.
  • Toreviewtheconstitutionalandotherlegalsafeguardsforthe protection of human rights.
  • To encourage the efforts of nongovernmental organisations(NGOs) working in the field of human rights.
  • To undertake such other functions as it may considernecessary for the promotion of human rights.

Working of the Commission:

  • The commission is vested with the powers of a civilcourt and its proceedings have a judicial character.
  • The commission has its own nucleus of investigating staff forinvestigation into complaints of human rights violations.
  • It may call forinformation or report from the Central and state governments orany other authority subordinate thereto.
  • Headquarters: Delhi

Limitations of the Commission:

  • It can look into a matter within oneyear of its occurrence.
  • The functions of the commission are mainly recommendatory in nature.
  • It has no power to punishthe violators of human rights, nor to award any relief includingmonetary relief to the victim.
  • Its recommendations are not binding on the concerned government or authority.
  • The commission has limited role, powers and jurisdiction with respect to the violation of human rights by themembers of the armed forces.