Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q12. यद्यपि मानवाधिकार आयोगों ने भारत में मानव अधिकारों के संरक्षण में काफी हद तक योगदान दिया है, फिर भी वे ताकतवर और प्रभावशालियों के विरुद्ध अधिकार जताने में असफल रहे हैं। इनकी संरचनात्मक और व्यावहारिक सीमाओं का विश्लेषण करते हुए सुधारात्मक उपायों के सुझाव दीजिए। (उत्तर 250 शब्दों में दीजिए)

Q12. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures.(Answer in 250 words) 15

Answer: The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA) of 1993 was passed on October 12, 1993. The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act of 2006 and the Human Rights (Amendment) Act of 2019 revised it. It was created in accordance with the Paris Principles, which were agreed in Paris in October 1991 for the promotion and protection of human rights and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993.

It serves as a watchdog for the country’s human rights, which include rights to life, liberty, equality, and dignity guaranteed by the Indian Constitution or enshrined in international accords and enforced by Indian courts. It is a five-person body with a chairman and four members. A chairman is someone who has served as the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge.

Role and Functions of NHRC

  • It has all of the functions of a civil court and conducts judicial proceedings.
  • It has the authority to enlist the assistance of any officer or investigation agency of the federal or state governments to investigate accusations of human rights violations.
  • It can investigate an issue within one year of its occurrence, i.e. the Commission is not allowed to investigate any topic after one year has passed since the claimed violation of human rights occurred.
  • The commission’s primary job is to provide recommendations.
  • It has no authority to prosecute human rights abusers or to provide remedy to victims, including monetary relief.
  • When it comes to violations of human rights by personnel of the armed services, it has a restricted role, powers, and jurisdiction.
  • It lacks the authority to intervene when private parties violate human rights.

Limitations of NHRC

  • There is no investigating procedure in place at the NHRC. In the vast majority of cases, it requests that the concerned central and state governments examine cases of human rights violations.
  • Due to its inability to provide any real assistance to the offended party, it has been dubbed “India’s taunting illusion” by Soli Sorabjee (former Attorney-General of India).
  • The NHRC can only offer recommendations and has no authority to impose decisions.
  • NHRC is frequently perceived as a post-retirement destination for judges and bureaucrats with political ties, and its operations are hampered by a lack of finances.
  • A high percentage of complaints go unresolved since the NHRC is unable to evaluate complaints filed after a year has passed after the incident.
  • The government frequently rejects or only partially implements the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission.
  • State human rights commissions are unable to request information from the national government, therefore denying them the authority to probe armed forces under national jurisdiction.
  • The National Human Rights Commission’s powers in relation to armed forces violations of human rights have been severely curtailed.

Remedial Measures 

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) needs to be completely revamped in order to become more effective and truly a watchdog for human rights violations in the country.
  • The government can improve the effectiveness of the NHRC by making its judgments enforceable.
  • The makeup of the commission should be changed to include representatives from civil society and activists.
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) needs to build an independent cadre of staff with relevant experience.
  • Many Indian laws are outdated and antiquated, and by updating them, the government can improve regulatory openness.
  • State and non-state entities must collaborate to enhance and strengthen India’s human rights status.

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