National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Why in news : Recently, Meghalaya said it will move to NHRC regarding Assam border firing which is a clear violation of human rights.

Some facts about NHRC :

  • The NHRC is a statutory body established under Protection of Human Rights Act,1993.
  • The commission is the watchdog of human rights in the country.

Composition of the Commission :

  • It consists of a chairperson and five members.
  • The chair person and members are appointed by the president on the recommendations of a six-member committee.
  • They hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years which is earlier.
  • They are eligible for reappointment.
  • The salaries, allowances and other conditions of the commission members are determined by the central government.

Functions of the commission :

  • To enquire into any violation of human rights
  • To visit and see the situation of inmates in the jail
  • It submits the annual report to the central government or respective state governments concerned.

Limitations of the commission :

  • It cannot enquire about any human rights violation after the expiry of 1 year (from the date of incident happened).
  • Its reports and findings are mainly only recommendatory in nature i.e., they are not binding.
  • It has limited powers while dealing with the violations made by the members of armed forces.

Recent amendments made to the NHRC in 2019 :

  • Composition of NHRC: Previously, the chairperson of the NHRC should be retired chief justice of the Supreme Court. After 2019 amendment, the chairperson can now be either retired CJI or a judge of the supreme court.
    (the same applies even to the SHRC {State human rights commission}).
  • Previously, the act provides for two persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of the NHRC. The act amends this provision to allow three members to be appointed, of which at least one will be a woman.
  • Before 2019 amendment, chairpersons of various commissions such as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and National Commission for Women are members of the NHRC.
  • Now, the amended act 2019, provides for including the chairpersons 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.
  • The amended act provides that the central government may confer on a SHRC human rights functions being discharged by Union Territories except that of Delhi. Functions relating to human rights in the case of Delhi will be dealt with by the NHRC.

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