National Human Rights Commission of India
|National Human Rights Commission|
|Formed||12 October 1993|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the national human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as "rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants".
Since late 2011, the organization has been embroiled in a controversy where leading jurists have sought the resignation of its Chairman, ex-Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, pending investigation by the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation into charges of assets disproportionate to his income. In response, NHRC has uploaded details of Justice Balakrishnan's assets.
TPHRA mandates the NHRC to perform the following functions:
- proactively or reactively inquire into violations of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant
- by leave of the court, to intervene in court proceeding relating to human rights
- visit any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations
- review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
- review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures
- study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation
- undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
- engage in human rights education among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means
- encourage the efforts of NGOs and institutions working in the field of human rights
- such other function as it may consider it necessary for the protection of human rights.
The NHRC consists of:
- A Chairperson
- One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
- One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
- Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
- In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions serve as ex officio members.
The current chairperson of the NHRC is K.G Balakrishnan, and the other members are:
- (one position vacant)
- Babulal Chandulal (B.C.) Patel
- Satyabrata Pal
- (one position vacant)
- Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities
- Panna Lal (P.L.) Punia, Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Castes
- Dr Rameshwar Oraon, Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
- Mamta Sharma, Acting Chairperson, National Commission for Women.
Sections 3 and 4 of TPHRA lay down the rules for appointment to the NHRC. The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister (chairperson)
- The Home Minister
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (House of the People)
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People)
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
|1.||Justice Ranganath Misra||12 October 1993 - 24 November 1996|
|2.||Justice M N Venkatachaliah||26 November 1996 - 24 October 1999|
|3.||Justice J S Verma||4 November 1999 - 17 January 2003|
|4.||Dr. Justice A S Anand||17 February 2003 - 31 October 2006|
|5.||Justice Dr. Shivaraj Patil*||1 November 2006 - 1 April 2007|
|6.||Justice S. Rajendra Babu||2 February 2007 - 31 May 2009|
|7.||Justice Govind Prasad Mathur*||1 June 2009 - 6 June 2010|
|8.||Justice K G Balakrishnan||7 June 2010 - 11 May 2015|
The NHRC has been accredited with "A status" by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (the ICC), indicating that it is in conformity with the Paris Principles – a broad set of principles agreed upon by a conference of experts on the promotion and protection of human rights, in Paris in October 1991, and subsequently endorsed by the UN General Assembly. The Commission is thus entitled to participate in the ICC and in its regional sub-group, the Asia Pacific Forum, and may take part in certain sessions of the UN human rights committees.
A report concerning the manner of which the Shivani Bhatnagar murder controversy case was rejected, a case which involved high-ranking officials being implicated in the murder of a journalist, opened the organisation up to questioning over the usefulness of human rights commissions setup by the government at the national and state levels.
In mid-2011, the chairman of the NHRC, ex-Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan came under a cloud for allegedly owning assets disproportionate to his income. His son-in-law P. V. Srinijan, an Indian National Congress politician, had to resign for suddenly coming into possession of land worth Rs. 25 lakhs. Many prominent jurists, including former CJ J. S. Verma, SC ex-Judge V. R. Krishna Iyer, noted jurist Fali S. Nariman, former NHRC member Sudarshan Agrawal and prominent activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, have called on Balakrishnan's resignation pending from the HRC pending inquiry. As of February 2012, Justice Balakrishnan had not resigned, and the Supreme Court inquired of the government re: the status of the inquiry.
- HRC's recommendations
NHRC held that 16 out of 19 police encounters with suspected maoists in Guntur and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh, prior to 2002 were fake and recommended to Government payment of compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the families.
- Annual Report 1993-94 of the National Human Rights Commission
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006
- News / National : Krishna Iyer wants NHRC chief to resign. The Hindu (2010-12-27). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- SC asks govt about action taken on allegations against ex-CJI – India – DNA. Dnaindia.com (2012-02-13). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- News / National : HRC makes assets of Balakrishnan public. The Hindu (2011-06-09). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- NHRC website
- "Former & Present Chairperson and Members". NHRC. Archived from the original on 6 Mar 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- The NHRC, and the Shivani Murder Controversy. Indiatogether.org. Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- CBDT to probe ex-CJI Balakrishnan's assets -Videos India:IBNLive Videos. Ibnlive.in.com (2011-06-22). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- Ex-CJI's son amasses property in four years. Deccanherald.com (2012-09-21). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- Fali Nariman wants judicial probe against ex-CJI, kin's assets : South News – India Today. Indiatoday.intoday.in (2011-01-03). Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- SC asks Centre about action taken against ex-CJI KG Balakrishnan – India News – IBNLive. Ibnlive.in.com. Retrieved on 2012-09-30.
- "NHRC declares 16 out of 19 encounters fake, orders compensation of Rs.80 lakh". 13 July 2012.