Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY)07/20/2019
THE NEED FOR PROPER FLOOD MANAGEMENT07/22/2019
The Lok Sabha passed The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill 2019.
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRCs) are statutory, non-constitutional bodies, established in 1993 under an act of Parliament, the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
- It is the watchdog of human rights in the country, i.e. the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
- NHRC was constituted under Section 3 of the 1993 Act for better protection of human rights. The term ‘human rights’ is defined in Section 2(d) of the 1993 Act, which reads as follows:
“2. (d) “Human rights” means 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.”
- NHRC is committed to provide independent views on issues within the parlance of the Constitution or in law for the time being enforced for the protection of human rights. The Commission takes an independent stand.
- NHRC has the powers of a civil court, authority to grant interim relief and authority to recommend payment of compensation or damages
Prevailing Composition of NHRC:
- NHRC is a multi-member body which consists of a Chairman and seven other members. Out of the seven members, three are ex-officio member.
- President appoints the Chairman and members of NHRC on recommendation of high-powered committee headed by the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Home Minister and The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Lower House).
- The Chairperson and the members of the NHRC are appointed for 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- They can be removed only on the charges of proved misbehavior or incapacity, if proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge.
Why NHRC is Important:
- NHRC promotes a number of humans, civil, economic and social rights.
- It is a milestone in the history of human rights, which sets out, fundamental human rights to be a prime aim for the overall development of human.
- It brings greater accountability in strengthening human rights in the country.
Features of the New Bill:
- The Bill amends the provision to have chief Justice of Supreme court of India as chairman of NHRC, to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or a Judge of the Supreme Court will be the chairperson of the NHRC.
- The Act provides for two persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of the NHRC. The Bill amends this to allow three members to be appointed, of which at least one will be a woman.
- The Bill provides for including the chair persons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as members of the NHRC.
- Under the Act, the chairperson of a SHRC is a person who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court. The Bill amends this provision to allow Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court will be the chairperson of an SHRC.
- The Act states that the chairperson and members of the NHRC and SHRC will hold office for five years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.
- The Bill reduces the term of office to three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier. Further, the Act allows for the reappointment of members of the NHRC and SHRCs for a period of five years.
- The Act provides for a Secretary-General of the NHRC and a Secretary of a SHRC, who exercise powers as may be delegated to them. The Bill amends this and allows the Secretary-General and Secretary to exercise all administrative and financial powers (except judicial functions), subject to the respective chairperson’s control.
Impact of the Bill:
- The Bill will expedite the process of appointment of chairperson and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). This bill includes the new provision of incorporating chairman selection procedure wide open, thus the appointment of the chairman of NHRC will not be limited.
- Representation of all walks of members of society. The Bill incorporates every section of society, which will be beneficial in taking appropriate decision making.
- The amendment will ensure transparency in the appointment of chairman and members of the commission and will help fill all the vacancies with the wider ambit of knowledgeable person.
- The efficacy of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are made enforceable by the government. It is also important to give this body a separate investigating branch so that they would have not to fall upon any other agency for their work.
- Misuse of laws by the law enforcing agencies is often the root cause of human right violations. So, the weakness of laws should be removed and those laws should be amended or repealed if they run contrary to human rights.