The National Human Rights Commission is a one-of-a-kind expert organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 to examine and investigate allegations of human rights breaches, as well as any public servant’s carelessness in preventing such violations.
It adheres to the Paris Principles, which were agreed in October 1991 at the First International Workshop on National Institutions for Human Rights Promotion and Protection.
In India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) plays a significant role in safeguarding and promoting human rights in the following ways.
- It investigates violations of human rights, or a public servant’s complicity in such violations, or negligence in the prevention of such violations, either sua sponte or in response to a petition by a victim or any person acting on his behalf, or in response to a court’s direction or order.
- It examines the conditions of prison inmates by visiting state prisons or any other state institution where persons are detained or lodged for the purposes of treatment, reformation, or reintegration;
- It examines the constitutional and legal safeguards for human rights protection and makes recommendations for their effective implementation, including steps to combat terrorism.
- It researches human rights treaties and other international instruments and makes recommendations for their effective implementation.
- It promotes human rights literacy among all segments of society and raises awareness of the safeguards available to protect these rights through publications, the media, seminars, and other available means.
However, the NHRC is frequently chastised for its incapacity to enact change for the following reasons:
- Due to its inability to provide any practical assistance to the aggrieved party, the NHRC has been dubbed “India’s taunting illusion” by Soli Sorabjee (former Attorney-General of India).
- There is no designated investigation procedure at the NHRC. In the vast majority of cases, it requests that the central government and concerned state governments investigate cases of human rights violations.
- The NHRC can only offer recommendations and has no authority to impose decisions.
A high percentage of complaints go unresolved since the NHRC is unable to evaluate complaints filed after one year has passed after the incident.
- The government frequently rejects or only partially implements the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission.
The NHRC can be strengthened by implementing specific initiatives, like as
- The government can improve the effectiveness of the NHRC by making its decisions enforceable.
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) needs to build an independent cadre of professionals with the necessary experience and expertise.
- It may also be granted contempt powers in order to force authorities to follow its recommendations.
As a result, the National Human Rights Commission can play a critical role in influencing policymaking and policy implementation, as well as ensuring the suitable environment for human rights protection.