Before discussing National Human rights Commission let's dive to know the meaning of the word Human rights. Going as per Official UN definition, "Human rights are rights we have simply because we exist as human beings - they are not granted by any state. These universal rights are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. They range from the most fundamental -the right to life -to those that make life worth living, such as the right to food, education, work, health, and liberty".

National Human Rights Commission

  • The NHRC is a statutory body established in 1993 under the 'Protection of Human Rights Act'. Later it got amended in 2006. It is an important non-constitutional body.
  • Human Rights are essential parts of the society and they are been watched by NHRC. NHRC acts as watch dog of human rights in the country.
  • It checks over the rights that are related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual that are defined in section 2(1) of the PHR Act.
  • It was established in accordance with the Paris Principles of Human Rights, 1991 approved by the United Nations at its General Assembly of 1993.

Composition of the Commission:

The commission is a multi-member body and it consists of a chair person and five members.
  • Chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice or a judge of supreme court.
  • Members should be
 serving or retired judge of Supreme Court
 serving or retired chief justice of High court    
  • Three persons having knowledge or practical experience in human rights (at least one should be a woman).
 Besides full-time members, the commission also has seven ex-officio members- the Chairpersons of the,
  •  National Commission for minorities
  •  National Commission for SCs,
  •  National Commission for STs,
  •  National Commission for Women,
  •  National Commission for BCs,
  •  National Commission for the protection of child rights 
  •  Chief Commissioner for persons with disabilities.

  Terms of the chairperson and Members:

  • The Amendment act, 2019 reduces the term from five to three years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier and shall be eligible for re-appointment.

Working and Functions of the commission:

  • It is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure
  • It has all the powers of civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character
  • The commission has its own nucleus of investigating staff for investigation and complaints of violation of human rights.
  • It can look into a matter within one year of its occurrence.
It's directions are only recommendatory in nature. It may recommend,
  • Concerned government or authority to make payment of compensation or damages to the victim
  • Concerned government or authority the Initation of proceedings for prosecution or any other action against the public servant
  •  Concerned government or authority for the grant of immediate interim relief to the victim.
  •  It may approach the Supreme Court or High Court concerned for the necessary directions, orders or writs.
Some of its Important functions are

Appointment and Removal:

  • The President appoints the Chairperson and members based on the recommendations of a six member committee.
The President can remove the chairperson or any member from the office on the grounds of:
  • Bankruptcy(Insolvency), or
  • Unsound mind, or
  • Infirmity of body or mind, or
  • Engages in paid Employment, or
  • Sentenced to imprisonment for an offence.
  • The removal is also done on the charges of proved Misbehaviour or incapacity, if the Supreme Court's enquiry finds so.