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India is the largest democracy in the world. Being a democratic nation one of the major objectives is the protection of the basic rights of the public. Government of India has specified due consideration to the acknowledgement and protection of human rights. The Constitution of India identifies these rights of the people and demonstrates deep concern concerning them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights covers public, political, financial, communal and social rights. Constitution assures maximum of the human rights limited in Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Chapter III of the constitution talks about, while public, political, financial, social and cultural rights have been included in chapter IV of the Constitution. All the laws have to be in agreement of the provisions of the Constitution.
The viewpoint and objective of the Constitution of India is protected in the preamble which contain the protection of the self-esteem of an individual. For the fulfilment of this objective, chapter III of the constitution guarantees fundamental rights to individual which are important for the growth of an separate personality, these rights covers:-
- The Right to Equality
- The Right to Freedom
- The Right against Exploitation
- The right to freedom of religion
- The cultural and educational rights and the right to constitutional remedies.
It is the responsibility of the central as well as state Governments to make available satisfactory circumstances to each individual to enjoy their human rights.
THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, ACT 1993
The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 came into force on 28th January, 1993. Human Rights Commission Bill, 1993 was presented in the Lok Sabha on 14.05.93 and was mentioned to the standing committee of Parliament on Home Affairs .In opinion of urgency of the matter, Protection of Human Rights ordinance, 1993 was presented on 28.09.93 by the President of India. On 8.01.94, the Protection of Human Rights Act was passed which covers Entire India.
Protection of Human Rights have become priority for government across the world. These rights have also become pivotal in lives of human beings as without these basic rights one cannot think to lead respectful and dignified life. At global level, bunch of Agreements, Announcements and Treatises have been framed to offer satisfactory guidance to associate states to sanction laws in their individual Nations to protect human rights. Having motivated from global mandate on matters of human rights and their growing violations international vis-à-vis in India, the Government of India has also passed a specific law known as The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. This law suggests for the formation of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commissions for each State to promote the goal of protection of human rights. The NHRC has been allocated numerous responsibilities under the Act to protect human rights.
The state maintains a framework of social order by implementation of various laws without which well-ordered social life would not be possible. Protection of dignity of an individual is essential for harmony in the society, as it violation can have grave impact on individual in particular and on society in general. Every individual is entitled to some rights which are inherent to human existence. The rights must not be violated on the basis of sex, race, background, society, belief etc.
Protection of human rights is a requirement for the growth and development of an individual personality, which eventually donates in the development as a whole in the nation. It is an internationally recognized issue and various international instruments have been established for the protection of human rights. The concept of human right is dynamic and adapts to the needs of the nation and its people. The definitive purpose of the national in addition to global law is to protect the human rights of the individuals.
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993
The countries in the western region. Mainly America, criticised lndia for violation of human rights by Indian armed forces and para-military forces, particularly, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In early 90’s India felt the necessity for creating a commission as a progressive reply to the criticisms of the foreign Governments in the framework of political conflict and violence in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, the North-Eastern states and Andhra Pradesh. However, it is nowadays a well-recognised fact that terrorism is a serious violation of human rights. America, not once wasted an opportunity to criticize lndia, whenever Indian security services wanted to deal strictly with activists.
In addition of the pressure from foreign countries, there is a strong demand from the national front as well for the formation of a National Human Rights Commission. All this led the Government to pass a law to create a Human Rights Commission. The Government’s offer to start the Commission was of course unexpected and without due considerations. On September 27, 1993 The President of India, circulated an Order for the formation of a National Human Rights Commission. Justice Ranganath Misha, the former Chief Justice of lndia, was appointed the Chairperson of the Commission on October 12, 1993.
The requirement for the protection of human rights matters both at national and international level led to the representation of an Act which precisely deals with the protection of Human rights named ‘The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993’. The main objective of the Act is to make available administrative structure for protecting human rights. The Act offers for Human Rights Commission at nationwide level as well as at State level in each state and additional for arrangement of Human Rights Courts at district level for improved protection of human rights and matters associated therewith. The Act states human rights in Section 2(d) as “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.” However, bounds the scope of the working of the National Human Rights Commission. However, India sanctioned the two Contracts, which are International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. International covenants are not admissible before the courts, so there must be laws in the country which is to be with the conventionality of these agreements. Thus, the human rights guaranteed in the Constitution are in conformism with these International Agreements.
The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enforced on 28th January 1993. After having a deliberate conversation on the subject of Human Rights Commission Bill, 1993 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 14.05.93 and was mentioned to the standing committee of Parliament on Home Affairs.
In opinion of urgency of the matter, Protection of Human Rights Order, 1993 was introduced by the president of India on 28.09.93. On 8.01.94, the act was passed which extended to whole of India and came to be known as “The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993”.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993
The main object is protecting human beings from violations. In absence of Human rights there will be meaning less life. The rights concerning to life, freedom equality and dignity of the individual as guaranteed by the constitution are also involved in the type of “Human Rights”. Human Rights are the rights and freedoms granted to all the human beings.
The persistence of safeguarding human rights as such is to offer safety to these rights contrary to the misuse of power committed by the structures of state to create organisation for the development of existing condition beings and for the growth of their personality and at the similar time to offer actual corrective measures for procurement redressing the event of rights which are violated. The act offers for formation of National Human Rights Commission, State Human right Commission and Human Rights Judges which seeks to avoid and penalize any uncivilized violation of human rights.
THE KEY PROVISIONS OF THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993
In chapter II of the Act, the National Human Rights Commission is well-defined under section 2(c) and recognised under section 3 of the Act. The Commission shall be constituted of members as placed under provisions of section 3 (2), which lay that there will be a Chairperson who shall be a retired chief justice of India, 2 members who have been a judge in the Supreme Court and other member shall be chief Justice of a High Court apart from this there should be two additional members who have worked in the area of human rights. Apart, from this Commission there should be a separate commission for National Commission for minorities and National Commission for women.
The members of Commission should be appointed by the President after finding recommendations from Prime Minister for appointment of chairperson and the members should be nominated in conversation with Speaker of the House of the People, Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People, Leader of the Opposition in the Meeting of States and Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of States. The Chairperson should hold the office for a period of five years or until he has obtained the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier and the members shall be holding the office for term of five years and shall be qualified for reappointment. The act also controls the situations of services, salaries, payment and selection of extra staff.
Chapter III of the Act deals with powers and functions of the Commission in sections 12 to 16. The commission should also take certain actions in the case where the victim has filed for an application for the violation of human rights.
Chapter IV deals with the way after a complaint has come into notice of Commission. The Commission after getting a notice of violation of human rights should inquire into the matter.
SALIENT FEATURES OF PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993
The Human Right Act was formed to protect the Human Right of the people of India and to give them a platform in case of violation of the same. The act establishes the Human Right Commissions on both National as well as State Level. Under Section 3 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 it lay down the Constitution of the National Human Rights Commission.
The Act, also defines the formation and the constitution of state’ Human Rights commission. Section 30 of the Protection of the Human Rights Act details the establishment of Human Rights courts for providing speedy Trial of Offense arising out of the violation of Human Rights.
THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISION
Under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, The National Human Rights Commission of India was found in India. The National Human Rights Commissions are unique independent organisation and plays a supportive and supplementary role to the current organisation.
COMPOSITION OF NHRC
- NHRC is an autonomous organisation consisting of:
- Appoint a chairperson who has served as a Chief Justice in the Supreme Court.
- Any one member who is or was a judge in the Supreme Court.
- Any one member who is or has been the Chief Justice in the High Court.
- Any Two members to be appointed amongst persons having information of practical experience in substances involving Human Rights.
DIVISION OF NHRC
In total there are six divisions within NHRC, they have been entrusted with specific task and they add work in close consultation and coordination, the six divisions are:-
- The Administrative Division
- The Law division
- The Training Division
- The policy, Research and Project Division
- The investigation Division
- The Information and Public Relations Divisions
FUNCTIONS OF NHRC
The primarily function of NHRC is to conduct inquiries into violations of human rights. NHRC conducts inquires for the following categories of Violations:-
- Abuse of right to life, liberty, equality and dignity
- Violation of International Treaties to which India is a party.
- Human Rights abetment of violation by a public servant.
- Prevention of human rights violation due to negligence of public servant.
NHRC AS A DEFENDER AND PROTECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Since the establishment of NHRC, it is dealing with multiple forms of Human Rights Violation, it doesn’t only perform several activities to protect the Human Rights in India, but at several occasion issued direction to government and their instrumentalities to respect human rights of vulnerable sections of the society.
POWERS GIVEN TO NHRC
Section 13 of the Act gives the powers to the commission
- Powers to a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil procedure,1908
- To involve any person to supply information on opinions or materials subject to any privilege which may can be claimed through that person under any law for the time being in force.
- Enter into any building or place where the commission has reasons to believe that any document relating to the subject matter or inquiry may be found and may seize any document make copies of subject to the provisions of sec 100 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 came into action when the entire nation as well as the world was observing the growing cases of violation of human rights in ways dissimilar and at times unfathomable. The tough occurrence of laws applying and supporting human laws are significant as they help continuing and inspiring the humaneness of the common people. The Act comes hand in hand with various laws that relate to the new problems of our society, acts such as dowry deaths, child marriages are uncivilized violations of human rights, therefore the act does not walk down a thin path but grips an all-inclusive attitude. Laws involving the society cannot afford to be still, as the society is continuously changing, the same applies to this act, as the time changes, pertinent changes in the act would be needed.
Author: Sannidhi Sharma, UPES, Dehradun.