Human Right & NHRC

Human rights are inherent in all human being and its recognition gives full enjoyment of the same. The term Human in itself refers to a bundle of rights, woven in perpetuity to human life. All human beings are empowered to live a dignified life. The term ‘Human life’ is not limited to a mere animal existence. Their diverse values should be realised to ensure their individual and collective well being.

The need for the human right was first realized aftermath of the Second World War. Yet discrimination continued to exist owing to the ignorance, prejudice and certain fallacious doctrines, which tried to justify inequality. Such doctrines were used to defend slavery and discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or religious belief, or on the basis of class or caste systems, throughout history and even in, unfortunately, the modern times.

Definition: Human right is defined as those minimum rights which every individual must have against the state or the public authority by virtue of his being a human. These are the rights without which human beings cannot live with dignity, liberty and justice in any corner of the world.

These rights are an indispensable part of ourselves as these rights create a human being distinct from any other living beings.

PRINCIPLE- The basic principle behind human right is that human rights constitute a set of norms governing the treatment of individuals and groups by states and non- states actors on the basis of ethical principles for a decent life.

These rights can be classified under 3 heads namely:

-Enumerated Fundamental rights- PART III of Indian Constitution

-Other fundamental rights- Rights provided under ICCPR and enforceable by the court

-Not enumerated fundamental rights- present in ICCPR but not in Part III of India Constitution

National human rights commission (NHRC) is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights in India. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 states that the commission is the protector of “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.

It derives its authority from The Protection of Human Rights Act (TPHRA). Its composition enjoys a robust legal fortitude, with a panel that features former judges of the Supreme Court, High Court, and people experienced in human rights policy and execution. It is presided by a retired Chief Justice of India, and Chairpersons of national commissions of key human rights concerns – Minorities, India’s Scheduled Classes and Tribes, and Women.

Some of the functions of Human rights commissions of India are: –

-It has the power to interfere in any judicial proceedings involving any allegation of violation of human rights.

-It can visit any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations thereon.

-It can review the safeguards provided under the constitution or any law for the protection of human rights and can recommend appropriate remedial measures.

-NHRC undertakes and promotes research in the field of human rights.

-NHRC works to spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promotes awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, media, seminars and other means.

-The Commission takes an independent stand while providing opinions for the protection of human rights within the parlance of the Constitution or in law for the time being enforced.

-It has the powers of a civil court and can grant interim relief.

-It also has the authority to recommend payment of compensation or damages.

-NHRC credibility is duly reflected in a large number of complaints received every year and the trust reposed in it by the citizens.

-It can recommend to both the central and state governments to take suitable steps to prevent the violation of Human Rights. It submits its annual report to the President of India who causes it to be laid before each House of Parliament.

-Investigates grievances suo moto.

These are a few achievements of NHRC: –

-A fast track system for complaints has been introduced, and computerization and other procedural changes adopted, to deal with the heavy load of casework.

-Commission has also recommended systemic reforms in police functioning, and in prison administration. It has also laid down stringent reporting requirements in cases of deaths/rapes in custody.

-Played an important role in monitoring the misuse of the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 (TADA).

-Since the inception, the commission has been strongly recommending that steps be taken to ensure the realization of the Right to education of all children up to the age of 14years, as provided in Article 15 of the constitution.

-The commission has been actively involved, in collaboration with other organizations, in providing human rights sensitization and training to civil servants, personnel of army and paramilitary forces, judicial forces and prison officials.

In the case,

NHRC vs State of Arunachal Pradesh, the commission was successful in providing all the human facilities to the Chakma refugees.


The formulation and due implementation of binding general rules of international law for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms by adequate machinery for their enforcement have remained more a promise than an achievement. NHRC is a weak body, as its recommendations are not enforceable. It has played a pivotal role in ensuring human rights in India. Being a body created by the central government it has a very wide area of work. With more work comes more responsibilities. But it is quite apparent from the fact that India is at 140th rank in Human right Index that the objective for creating this institution is compromised.

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