National Human Rights Commission: A Critical Analysis on its Role and Importance

by

NAINCY GOYAL

INTRODUCTION
In the year 1991, a meeting of representatives was held in Paris which is related to UN-sponsored. The meeting concluded a detailed set of principles on the status of national institutions. These are universally known as the Paris Principles. These principles, subsequently recognized by the UN Commission on Human Rights[1] and the UN General Assembly[2] have become the foundation and reference point for the establishment and operation of national human rights institutions.[3] Human rights are the basic inherent rights. These rights are related to values, fairness, justice and good conscience. A human being is a living creature, and in the same manner, humanity is a living and constantly evolving concept. Thus by virtue of their being human possess certain primary and absolute rights which are commonly known as human rights.[4]

NHRC (National human right commission) is an autonomous public body. It was constituted on 12th October 1993 under the protection of human right Ordinance of 28th September 1993.[5] The primary function of National Human rights Commission is the protection and promotion of human rights as defined in the act as "rights interrelated to life, equality, liberty and dignity of the individual assured by the constitution or embodied in the international Covenants."[6] It has its headquarters in New Delhi, India. Justice H.L. Dattu is the current chairman of NHRC and Ambuj sharma is the current secretary general of NHRC. Every human is entitled to enjoy his rights freely irrespective of his religion, race, caste, sex and nationality. Human rights are the rights of an individual from birth. According to NHRC, all human beings are free to enjoy his life and live with dignity. All human beings are born at liberty. Human rights are vibrant in nature. New rights are introduced in accordance with the needs of human beings. TPHRA (the protection of human rights Act) of parliament provided this body a statutory status.[7] Human possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as human rights. The provisions related to NHRC are defined in The protection of Human rights Act which are related to the removal of a member to act as a Chairperson[8] or to discharge his functions in certain circumstances,[9] the terms an d conditions of service of members,[10] vacancies, etc., not to invalidate the proceedings of the Commission,[11] the procedure to be regulated by the Commission,[12] the officers and the other staff of the Commission.[13]

"It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings" -Mahatma Gandhi

THE NEED TO CREATE NHRC
The ratio of violation of Human Rights in India was increasing constantly. It raised a need to create a separate body to address Human rights and to protect the violation of Human Rights. The ratio continuously kept on growing on the matters related to custodial deaths and tortures, extra judicial killings, child labour, sexual violence and arbitrary arrest and detention etc. The nonstop pressure from the foreign countries and the overflowing rates of crimes led to the creation of National Human rights commission. Thus, in the year 1992 the bill was passed in lok sabha and in the year 1993, the president promulgated an ordinance for the establishment of commission on Human rights at state level but after certain amendments, the bill was finally passed by both the houses and replaced the ordinance. On January 8, 1994 the bill became an act known as the protection of Human rights act, 1993. The National human rights Commission deals with the cases related to the violation of Human rights by public servants. Any public servant who commits criminal misconduct in the discharge of his duty shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable for fine.[14]

ROLE OF NHRC IN SAFEGUARDING HUMAN RIGHTS
There are many types of Human rights violations prevailing in India. Some of the major issues covered by the NHRC to protect and safeguard the violation of Human rights in India are custodial torture, false encounter, sexual harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, violence against women and children, protection of rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender, difficulties faced by scheduled tribes and people living in minority areas etc. NHRC has established its position since its formation. It is regarded as a reputed and independent body to protect Human rights.[15] The NHRC has achieved a great success with its determination.[16] After its formation, the commission was flooded with huge number of complaints. It has received about 6,987 complaints in the year 1994-95 which was increased to 10,195 complaints in the year 1995-96. NHRC has the right to only register the complaints and forward them to Supreme Court for their enforcement. NHRC do not have any right to directly take action on any of these issues. Thus, H.L. Dutta regarded NHRC as a toothless tiger.[17]

Apart from that, NHRC has a big involvement in helping most of the victims and to provide them relief. Now, a fast track system of complaints have been adopted and complains will be registered with computerization to prevent heavy case works. In the year 2016, The National Human Rights commission and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) organized a regional public hearing on rights to health care for the western region in association with Union Ministry of Health and family welfare at Mumbai. The main reason of this public hearing is to know the working status of Human rights violations in public and private health care services in India. NHRC has also visited many areas all over the country to spread the awareness among people regarding violation of Human rights. It has also requested all State Governments to report the cases of custodial deaths or rapes within 24 hours of occurring or else failing would be assumed as that there was an attempt to suppress the incident. NHRC has recommended that more focus should be given on laws related to the protection of Human rights that exist but not implemented.[18] NHRC has also recommended modifying prospectus of education and quality infrastructure,[19] quality of teachers and building Human rights cultures are also included. It has recommended to Bring Human rights curriculum not only in colleges but also in NCERT Curriculum at primary levels.[20] NHRC has also recommended on matters related to sexual assault and said that age of consent of sexual intercourse should be retained at 16 years and not increased to 18 years.[21] NHRC has also stated that proper implementation of Environmental Law is necessary. The state cannot leave its citizens due to toxic haze. It had issued notice to the Centre and the Governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana to take adequate measures to protect the violation of right to life and health.[22] It is also looking up the sterilization tragedy of Chhattisgarh.[23] NHRC provides "Immediate interim relief" correlated to the injury or loss which the victim or members of his family have suffered due to the violation of Human Rights by public servants.[24] The ratio of crimes related to Custodial deaths has increased and 415 died in the police custody and custody of security forces in the year 1985-91.[25] The main duty of agents of Government is to protect and serve the Public. The power of enforcing the law has been provided to them but that does give them the privilege to act against the Law. In the year 1999, NHRC has provided relief to Ganga Prasad for the illegal detention and torture of his son in police station, Shikarpur, Uttar Pradesh. In the same year, some workers died in the silicon factories of Madhya Pradesh due to the inhalation of Silicon dust. Thus, the commission directed to ensure the establishment of BHEL machinery in the factories to prevent dust pollution and to ensure that pollution free air is provided to the workers. NHRC has also provided the relief to the ten year old Juvenile who was the inmate of Juvenile observation Home in Raichur, Karnataka. She was brutally raped while in the juvenile Home. The interim compensation of Rs. 50,000/- was provided to the parents of the girls. The National Human Rights Commission does not take into consideration complaints relating to economic, social and cultural rights.[26]


CONCLUSION & SUGGESTIONS
This research paper concludes the whole structure of the National human rights commission. It shows that, National Human right commission is a fully independent body. It played a very important role in the protection of human rights from the date of its establishment. The main function of this commission is to provide protection in case of violation of Human rights. Its plays an ideal role in upholding the pillars of Indian society. The main resolution for setting up the commission is to strengthen the machinery for more effective enforcement of Human rights of the people of India. The main focus of the protection of human rights Act is to entertain complains of the violation of Human rights by Public servants. It keeps a check on the misuse of powers by the police or other governmental agencies. However, the commission do not have a power to take action directly on such cases. Commission shall intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of Human Rights pending before a court with the approval of such court.[27] It does not replace the functioning of courts regarding any matter. The creation of National human rights Commission is a huge Success. It has received 496 complaints in its first year 1993-1994 and an impressive 100,616 complaints during the financial year 2007-2008. The NHRC has registered 1,699,206 cases since its inception till 30th September, 2017. In case of State, it is simply optional for the state to constitute State Human Rights Commission.[28] The public should be aware about the human rights and the commission should try to spread Human Rights literacy among various sections of the society and promote the awareness, of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, Media, seminars and other available means.[29]

An independent court of Human rights should be created for the better enforcement for the violation of Human rights. The Human right committees should be given power to constitute an independent investigation and take necessary action on the matters of human rights. Section 21(1) of the act should be amended and it should be made mandatory for the state to create an independent body of human rights Commission. The national human rights commission should be given power to scrutinize the decisions made by the Supreme courts regarding the Human rights and also the power to implement the decision in case of any failure. The constitution of India should be amended and the Human rights should also be included under it. Everyone should be made aware about their basic Human rights. The lower sections of Society who don't have any idea about the enforcement of Human rights would be benefitted if they are made aware about them. It can be done by making known to everybody at best those minimum standards of treatment which he or she is entitled and in making known to every person about the violations of Human Rights wherever they may occur. Both the print and electronic media owe the responsibility and the duty towards the society, in controlling the crime effectively.


References

[1] Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1992/54 of 3 March 1992

[2] General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993.

[3] http://www.asiapacificforum.net/about/paris_principles.html

[4] http://www.asiapacificforum.net/about/paris_principles.html

[5] http://nhrc.nic.in/ (Last accessed on 10 Dec 2017)

[6] Sec 2 (d) of TPHRA, 1993

[7] http://nhrc.nic.in/documents/Publications/HRActEng.pdf

[8] Sec 6 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[9] Sec 7 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[10] Sec 8 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[11] Sec 9 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[12] Sec 10 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[13] Sec 11 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[14] Sec 5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947

[15] Y.P Chibbar, "Foreign Agents" to National Human Rights Commission, 39 The Administrator 136 (1994).

[16] H.O Agarwal, International Law & Human Rights954 (Central Law Publications, Allahabad, 16th edn., 2009).

[17] H. L. Dutta "NHRC a toothless tiger: Panel chief", Times Of India (2016).

[18] A National Seminar on "good governance, development and Human rights", New Delhi (2017).

[19] ibid.

[20] ibid.

[21] NHRC "recommendations on Criminal law" (2013).

[22] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nhrc-notice-to-centre-delhi-punjab-haryana-over-pollution-crisis/article20009887.ece

[23] Manoj Kumar Sinha, "Role of National Human Rights Commission of India in Protection of Human Rights"; available at: http://www.rwi.lu.se/pdf/seminar/manoj05.pdf

[24] Sec 18 (3) of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[25] Amnesty International Report (1992).

[26] http://nhrc.govmu.org/English/limitations/Pages/default.aspx

[27] Sec 12(a) of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[28] Sec 21(1) of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

[29] Sec 12(h) of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993