NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established on 12 October 1993 as per provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, later amended in 2006.
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 the Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
It was established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October 1991), and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December 1993.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948. Every year Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December, which is the anniversary of the UDHR.
- NHRC was established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October 1991), and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December 1993.
- This act also authorized State Governments to establish the State Human Rights
NHRC is composed of a Chairman and seven other members. Out of the seven members, three are ex-officio members. The Chairman and members of NHRC are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a high-powered committee headed by the Prime Minister.
APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF MEMBERS:
The Chairman and the members of the NHRC are appointed for 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. They can only be removed on the charges of misbehavior or incapacity if proved by an inquiry conducted by a Supreme Court Judge.
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS:
- NHRC holds the power to investigate grievances related to the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.
- It has the power to interfere in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.
- It can visit any jail or other government-controlled facility to see the prisoners’ living conditions and make recommendations on them.
- It can review the protections provided for in the constitution or any human rights protection legislation and can recommend effective remedial steps.
- NHRC has the powers of a civil court and can grant interim relief.
- It also has the authority to recommend payment of compensation or damages.
- It can recommend to both the central and state governments to take suitable steps to prevent the violation of Human Rights.
- NHRC submits its annual report to the President of India who causes it to be laid before each House of Parliament.
- NHRC cannot take any action against violation of Human rights by private parties
- The Recommendations made by the NHRC are not binding.
- It cannot penalize the authorities that don’t implement its recommended orders.
- It has limited jurisdiction over cases related to armed forces
- It cannot hold jurisdiction in the following cases:
- Cases older than one year.
- Cases that are anonymous, pseudonymous, or vague.
- Frivolous cases.
- Cases pertaining to service matters.
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