Context:

The National Human Rights Commission said NHRC member Justice (retired) Prafulla Chandra Pant had been appointed as the acting chairperson of the Commission.

The post of chairperson has been vacant since Justice H.L. Dattu, a former Chief Justice of India, completed his tenure on December 2, 2020.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Statutory Bodies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  2. Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries
  3. Composition of NHRC
  4. How are the Chairperson and Members of NHRC appointed?

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • The National Human Rights Commission is an Independent Statutory Body constituted on 12 October 1993, by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • The NHRC is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.
  • NHRC deals with the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • On an international level, the NHRC is established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991). It was also endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993.

Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries

While inquiring into complaints under the Act, the Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular the following, namely;

  1. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
  2. discovery and production of any document;
  3. receiving evidence on affidavits;
  4. requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
  5. issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
  6. any other matter which may be prescribed.

Composition of NHRC

  • A Chairperson, who has been a Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court
  • 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
  • Three Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
  • In addition, the Chairpersons of National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities, Backward Classes, Protection of Child Rights) and Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities serve as ex officio members.
  • The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.

How are the Chairperson and Members of NHRC appointed?

The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:

  1. The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
  2. The Home Minister
  3. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
  4. The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
  5. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
  6. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)

-Source: The Hindu

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