National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC)

National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), an autonomous body was established by "Protection of Human Rights Ordinance" on 12 October 1993. The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, getting statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).

National Human Rights Commission is a quasi-judicial and statutory body but not a constitutional body. A Quasi-judicial body is a organisation which have powers similar to that of the law imposing bodies but they are not courts. These bodies help in reducing the burden of the courts and their action may be appealed to a court of law.

NHRC is tasked with protection and promotion of human rights as "rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual" guaranteed by the Constitution, protection of provisions defined in Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA) and to protect and promote human rights embodied in the International Covenants.

A State Government may constitute a "State Human Rights Commission" to perform the functions assigned to it and to exercise the powers conferred upon it. So far 25 states of India have constituted "State Human Rights Commission".

Functions of NHRC

According to "Protection of Human Rights Act" NHRC is mandated to perform following functions:

1) To inquire into negligence or violation of human rights by a public servent or the government of India.
2) To intervene in court proceeding to safeguards human rights provisions provided by constitution or any other law and to recommend measures for their effective implementation.
3) To provide recommendations for effective implementation of international treaties and instruments related to human rights.
4) Promote human rights awareness through publications, media, seminars and other means to educate various sections of society about the available safeguards against violation.
5) Promote research in the field of Human Rights and to encourage the efforts of NGOs and institutions working in the field.
6) To perform such other function as may be required to protect human rights including requisitioning any public record or copy from any court or office.

Composition of NHRC

NHRC consists of a "Chairperson", who should be a retired Chief Justice of India, a person who has been a judge of the Supreme Court of India, a person who has been the Chief Justice of a High Court, two members having knowledge or experience in matters relating to human rights, for persons to serve as ex officio members of the commission consisting of the chairpersons of four National Commissions 1) Scheduled Castes, 2) Scheduled Tribes, 3)Women and 4) Minorities.

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