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National Human Rights Commission | POLITY

Establishment of the commission | National Human Rights Commission | POLITY 

  • The National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established in 1993 under the legislation the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • The Act was amended in 2006.
  • The commission is the watchdog of human rights in the country i.e. the rights relating to life, equality, liberty and dignity of an individual guaranteed by the constitution and enforced by the courts in India.
  • The Commission‘s headquarters is at Delhi, but it can establish offices at other places in India.


  • The commission consists of:
    • Chairman ( retired Chief Justice of India)
    • 4 members (serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or High Court)
    • 2 persons ( having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights)
    • 4 ex-officio members
    • Chairman of the National Commission for SCs
    • Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities
    • Chairman of the National Commission for Women
    • Chairman of the National Commission for STs
  • The chairman and the members of the commission are appointed by the President on the recommendations of:
    • Prime Minister
    • Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • The Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha
    • Leaders of opposition of both the houses
    • Sitting judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High court (after the consultation of Chief Justice of India)
  • The term of the chairman and members of the commission is for 5 years or until the age of 70 years.
  • After their tenure, the chairman and the members are not eligible for further employment under the centre or state government office.

Functions | National Human Rights Commission | POLITY 

  • The functions of the commission are mainly recommendatory in nature and they are not binding on government or any authority.
  • Though the recommendations of the commission is advisory and not binding, Government considers the cases presented by it and have to report back within one month on any progress made on such recommendation.
  • Some of the functions includes:
    • To enquire into any violation or negligence in prevention of human rights by any person or public servant etc., either suo motu or by a petition or by court’s order.
    • To visit jails and detention places to study the living conditions of inmates and make recommendations accordingly.
    • To promote and undertake research in the field of human rights
    • To get involved in any proceeding concerning the allegations of the violation of human rights pending before the court.
    • To study the international instruments and treaties on human rights and make recommendations for their effective execution.
    • To review the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the protection of human rights and recommendations for their successful execution.
    • To spread human rights literacy among the people and promote awareness of the safeguards offered for the protection of the rights.


  • It can regulate its own procedures.
  • It consists of all the powers of civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character.
  • It can ask for a report from the central or state government or any authority on Human Rights Protection.
  • The commission has its own investigating staff for investigating into grievances of human rights violations.
  • The commission cannot inquire into any matter after the expiry of a year from the date on which the act of human violation is assumed to have been committed.

State Human Rights Commission

  • State Human Rights Commission works at the state level and inquires into any violation of human rights but only in respect of subjects mentioned in the state list (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III) of the 7th schedule of Indian Constitution.
  • State Human Rights Commission does not inquire into any case which has been already inquired by the National Human Rights Commission.
  • The Protection of Human Rights Act (1993) provides for the establishment of human rights court in every district for speedy trials of human rights.



Indian Polity

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