17 Jul National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “National Human Rights Commission”. The topic “National Human Rights Commission” has relevance in the Governance section of the UPSC CSE exam.
GS 2: Governance
Role and Function of NHRC?
Limitations of NHRC ?
About United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)?
Why in the news?
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for an action taken report from the Odisha government on a complaint filed by a Delhi-based advocate who had alleged that the State government and the Indian Railways failed to maintain the dignity of the dead in the case of the Balasore train accident
- The NHRC ensures the protection of rights related to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of individuals.
- It upholds rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and international covenants enforceable by Indian courts.
- The NHRC was established on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
- It has been amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006, and the Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2019.
- The establishment of the NHRC is in conformity with the Paris Principles, which were adopted to promote and protect human rights.
- The NHRC consists of a chairperson, five full-time members, and seven deemed members.
- The chairman is a former Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge.
- The chairman and members are appointed by the President based on the recommendations of a six-member committee.
- The committee comprises the Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, leaders of the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, and the Union Home Minister.
- The chairman and members hold office for a term of three years or until they reach the age of 70.
Role and Function:
- The NHRC possesses powers of a civil court with judicial proceedings.
- It is empowered to utilize the services of central or state government officers or investigation agencies for investigating human rights violations.
- The NHRC can investigate matters within one year of their occurrence.
- Its functions are primarily recommendatory in nature, meaning it can make recommendations and suggestions to the government regarding human rights issues.
- The NHRC cannot inquire into any matter after one year from the date of the alleged human rights violation.
- It has limited jurisdiction in cases of human rights violations by armed forces.
- The NHRC lacks authority to act in cases of human rights violations by private parties.
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC):
- The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body established within the framework of the United Nations. Its primary mandate is to promote and protect human rights globally.
- It was established in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, replacing the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) operates with the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which serves as its Secretariat. The OHCHR is located in Geneva, Switzerland
- The UNHRC consists of 47 United Nations Member States elected by the UN General Assembly.
- The membership is based on equitable geographical distribution, with seats allocated to different regions.
- Members serve for three-year terms and are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.
Procedures and Mechanisms:
- The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) assesses human rights situations in all UN Member States.
- The Advisory Committee provides expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues.
- The Complaint Procedure allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the Council’s attention.
- UN Special Procedures monitor and report on specific thematic issues or human rights situations in countries.
- The composition of membership in the UNHRC has raised concerns, as some countries accused of human rights abuses have been included.
- Disproportionate focus on certain countries, such as Israel, has been criticized.
- In 2020, India’s NHRC submitted its report as part of the third round of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.
- India was elected to the UNHRC for a period of three years beginning on January 1, 2019.
Q.1 Which of the following statements accurately describes the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)?
(a) NHRC is a constitutional body established under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.
(b) NHRC is a statutory body established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
(c) NHRC is an executive body established by an executive order of the President.
(d) NHRC is a judicial body established by the Supreme Court of India.
Q.2 Which of the following statements accurately describes the composition and tenure of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)?
(a) The NHRC consists of a chairperson and ten members appointed by the President, and their tenure is for a period of five years.
(b) The NHRC consists of a chairperson and five members appointed by the Prime Minister, and their tenure is for a period of three years.
(c) The NHRC consists of a chairperson and five members appointed by the President, and their tenure is for a period of three years.
(d) The NHRC consists of a chairperson and ten members appointed by the Chief Justice of India, and their tenure is for a period of six years.
Q.3 Discuss the role and significance of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in safeguarding human rights in India. How does the NHRC contribute to the protection and promotion of fundamental rights, and what challenges does it face in fulfilling its mandate?