What is the National Human Rights Commission and how does it work?

Why was National Human Rights Commission formed?  Understanding the latest amendments

We often see the mention of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the news but do we really know what is it? When was it formed and how does it work? In this article, we will understand its roles and functions.

What is NHRC?

National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body which means it was formed as the law of the Parliament. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 gives NHRC legal status. It was formed on 12th October 1993. The act was amended in 2006 and in 2019. The act also provides for a State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) at the state level.

What is the composition of NHRC?

A Chairperson, who has been the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The 2019 amendment added that a person who has been a Judge at the SC can also be appointed for this position. The current chairperson is H.L Dattu.

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The other members are-

-One member who is a judge or has been a judge of the SC

– One member who is a judge or has been a judge of the HC

-3 members who have knowledge or experience in matters related to Human Rights 2019 made the number to 3 (earlier it was 2) and said that one of them has to be a woman.

-Ex- officio members include- Chairpersons of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Women, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and National Commission for Minorities. The 2019 amendment added the inclusion of Chairpersons of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights  (NCPCR) National Commission for Backward Classes, the, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as ex-officio members.

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What does NHRC do?

The basic function of the commission is to ensure that Human Rights are protected. It is a defender of basic human rights such as equality, life, and liberty.

A lot of work done by NHRC involves it taking actions in recent cases such as- Death of more than 100 children in Kota, Rajasthan, violence in Jamia, Muzaffarpur rape case and many more.

It has the power of a Civil Court. However, the judgments given by them are not binding in nature.   

Term of office

After the 2019 Amendment, the tenure has been reduced to 3 years (earlier it was 5 years) or 70 years of age, whichever is earlier.

The NHRC is a robust institution that is essential to democracy like India. There is a need to make it more powerful and give them the power to have binding judgments that lead to better carrying out of justice and respect for Human Rights.

For more such informative articles stay tuned to OWN Guru.

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