[Answered] What are human rights? How far do you think the NHRC has been able to fulfill its mandate in preserving these rights.

Demand of the question

Introduction. What are human rights?

Body. Discuss success and failures of NHRC.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 Human rights are reasonable claims of citizens recognized by the society but may or may not be sanctioned by law. A sanction by law makes them enforceable, otherwise they remain simply as moral claims. UNHRC recognises life, liberty, equality and dignity as human rights. NHRC of India is an independent statutory body established for the protection of these rights. It was established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

Success of NHRC:

  1. Since its formation, the NHRC has widely dealt with issues relating to the application of human rights. NHRC has established its reputation for independence and integrity.
  2. There is an ever-increasing number of complaints addressed to the Commission seeking redressal of grievances. The NHRC has pursued its mandate and priorities with determination and considerable success.
  3. Some of the famous interventions of NHRC include campaigns against discrimination of HIV patients.
  4. It review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
  5. It also played an important role in spreading human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means.
  6. NHRC further encouraged the efforts of non-governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights.
  7. An important intervention of the Commission was related to Nithari Village in Noida, UP, where children were sexually abused and murdered.
  8. In recent times, the rights panel has taken cognisance in the case of killing of 10 people in police firing during anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, and intervened in the case of killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari after an appeal via press, by a network of editors and media practitioners, which had urged the NHRC and the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission to push for a swift probe into the case.
  9. The National Human Rights Commission is expanding in the field of violation of the rights of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Failure of NHRC: NHRC have failed in some aspects and is being labelled as a toothless tiger.

  1. Custodial Torture still exist and NHRC has failed to raise voice against such crime.
  2. Right to Work and Labour Rights are still a far dream towards which NHRC has not been much active.
  3. Extrajudicial Killings like fake encounters, mob lynching etc. has not been debated and by NHRC for justice of the innocents.
  4. Arbitrary Arrest and Detention are still common, in which NHRC and SHRC both have failed due to lack of powers.
  5. Manual Scavenging menace still exist. NHRC raise not much voice against such a violation of rights.
  6. Violence and discrimination against Women, Children like rape, murder, sexual abuse are rampant for which NHRC has failed to put pressure on Judiciary and government to act upon.

Limitations of NHRC:

  1. NHRC does not have any mechanism of investigation. In majority cases, it asks the concerned Central and State Governments to investigate the cases of the violation of Human Rights
  2. NHRC can only make recommendations, without the power to enforce decisions.
  3. Many times NHRC is viewed as post-retirement destinations for judges and bureaucrats with political affiliation moreover, inadequacy of funds also hamper its working.
  4. A large number of grievances go unaddressed because NHRC cannot investigate the complaint registered after one year of incident.
  5. Government often out rightly rejects recommendation of NHRC or there is partial compliance to these recommendations.

Way forward:

  1. There is need for complete revamping of NHRC to make it more effective and truly a watchdog of human rights violations in the country.
  2. NHRC efficacy can be enhanced by government if commission decisions are made enforceable.
  3. There is a need to change in composition of commission by including members from civil society and activists.
  4. NHRC needs to develop an independent cadre of staff with appropriate experience.
  5. Many laws in India are very old and archaic in nature by amending which government can bring more transparency in regulations.
  6. To improve and strengthen the human rights situation in India, state and non state actors need to work in tandem.

In spite of many achievements, the NHRC has been marred with controversies. For instance, the Batla House encounter case in the recent past. The Commission’s report giving clean chit to the Delhi Police came under fire from various quarters. The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are immediately made enforceable by the government. A large number of human rights violations occur in areas where there is insurgency and internal conflict. Not allowing NHRC to independently investigate complaints against the military and security forces only compounds the problems and furthers cultures of impunity. It is essential that commission is able to summons witnesses and documents.

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