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U.P. tops list in human rights violation: MHA

Context:

According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Rajya Sabha – around 40% of human rights violation cases lodged annually by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the past three financial years (2019-21) till October 2021 were from Uttar Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance, GS-II: Polity and Constitution

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Human Rights violations in India
  2. Human Right Provisions in India
  3. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  4. Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries
  5. Composition of NHRC

Human Rights violations in India

  • The total number of rights’ violation cases lodged by the NHRC reduced from just below 90 thousand in 2018-19 to just over 75 thousand in 2019-20 and to less than 75 thousand in 2020-21.
  • Of the total number of cases, Uttar Pradesh accounted for in 40 thousand cases in 2018-19 and over 30 thousand cases in 2019-20 and 2020-21, before dropping to less than 25 thousand in 2021-22.

Human Right Provisions in India

  1. Articles 12 to 35 under Fundamental Rights of the Constitution include the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right Against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural & Educational Rights, Saving of Certain Laws and Right to Constitutional Remedies.
  2. Article 36 to 51 in the Directive Principles of State Policy include ‘right to social security, right to work, to free choice of employment, and protection against unemployment, right to equal pay for equal work, right to existence worthy of human dignity, right to free & compulsory education, equal justice & free legal aid and the principles of policy to be followed by the State.’
  3. Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 provides for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission at the Union level, which steers State Human Rights Commission in States and Human Rights Courts for better protection of Human Rights and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

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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