Day 26 – Q 5.Discuss the mandate, constitution and performance of the National Human Rights Commission.
5. Discuss the mandate, constitution and performance of the National Human Rights Commission.
राष्ट्रीय मानवाधिकार आयोग के जनादेश, संविधान तथा प्रदर्शन पर चर्चा करें।
The National Human rights commission is a statutory body established under the provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. It is responsible for looking into cases of excesses which are violating human rights and to strengthen the efforts to uphold the human rights in the country.
Recently Lok Sabha cleared Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2019 which will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India and in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.
Constitution of NHRC
The Commission consists of:
- A Chairperson
- One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
- One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
- Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
- In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions of ( Minorities, SC, ST, Women) serve as ex officio members.
Performance of NHRC
- NHRC has asked all state governments to report the cases of custodial deaths or rapes within 24 hours.
- It has taken the plight of undertrials in jails who are staying for several years even in petty cases due lack of financial security provision to secure bail bonds and affording lawyers etc. The horrible conditions of inmates and crimes inside prison by authorities and inmates are given attention.
- Suo moto took cognisance of deportation of Rohingya refugees –the commission was of opinion that Rohingya have a fear of persecution. Back in 1994 had taken about issue of safety of Chakma community in Arunachal Pradesh.
- It has made effort to rescue and rehabilitate bonded children, criticized the Juvenile Justice act, 2016.
- Had taken up issue of death of kids due to malnutrition in Odisha-The recommendations were accepted by state government.
- Had worked for improving the conditions of denotified tribes.
- Looking up for the sterilization tragedy of Chattisgarh among various other rights violation of women.
- Campaigning against discrimination of HIV patients.
- The NHRC has also worked against the discrimination of the LGBT community in India.
- It has conducted many public hearing on complaints of medical negligence and awarded compensations.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Justice H L Dattu said the rights watchdog needed some teeth to enforce its orders on remedial measures in cases relating to violations. He said NHRC is a toothless tiger.
Issues with respect to NHRC:
- Recommendations of NHRC are not binding: NHRC has had very little success in getting the victims financial compensation
- Has limited power over armed forces: Can only ask for a report from concerned department –This has handicapped NHRC with respect to involvement of violation of human rights by armed forces
- Non-compliance by the states with the directions for compensation issued by the commission
- Shortage of adequate number of trained staff to handle the growing number of complaints.
- Large expenditure on office expenses, leaving small amounts for research and rights awareness programmes.
- Private bodies are out of ambit of NHRC
- The NHRC does not have fair and equal means of representation in terms of gender, religious minority groups and disabled populations.
Recommendations which can make NHRC more effective
- The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are immediately made enforceable by the government.
- Can include civil society human rights activist’s members for better understanding of situation at hand.
- Staff should be recruited independently rather than deputation from government.
- Should remove the barrier of not taking complaints older than a year.
The biggest achievement of NHRC has been to raise awareness about need to protect human rights and initiate a dialogue about the same. The journey ahead won’t be easy but NHRC need to continue pushing mandate so as to fulfil expectation of people.