NHRC’s remit: Human rights body has an incredibly important job, Praising govt is not part of it

Synopsis: NHRC as an institution, need to keep a check on the government and executive and not shower praises or seem compromised in its job.

Introduction

The government of India enacted the National Human Rights Act in 1993. As a result of which, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Councils were created. Their job was to uphold human rights and protect against abuses of human rights by the government or its agencies or any other body.

This is an important mechanism of check and balances which is vital for the survival of any vibrant democracy

What is the recent issue or controversy?

Recently the Prime minister of India made remarks that human rights are viewed from political ends. Such selective human rights programmes often target and malign India’s image on international platforms.

Recently the chairman of NHRC praised the government for its effort to contain the foreign conspiracy to malign India’s human rights record. He also praised India’s efforts in bringing peace to Jammu and Kashmir.

Why are these considered controversial?

The job of NHRC is to uphold human rights and not praise the government for saving from international conspiracies. That is the job of other ministries. Coming to peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the issues of Articles 370 and Article 35 A, it is to be decided by the stakeholders and not by NHRC.

What are the instances of Human rights violations in the past?

In India, human rights violations see little or no action is taken by the agencies.

A human rights defender is in jail for the last 3 years. She exposed the human rights violation in the Bastar (Chhattisgarh) under Operation Green Hunt (to combat Maoist insurgents).

Various human rights bodies like PUCL (People Union for Civil Liberties) and PUDR (People Union for Democratic Rights) have reported instances of Human Rights violations in the anti-Sikh riot 1984, Gujrat Riots 2002 respectively.

In the recent Lakhimpur Kheri incident, where farmers were killed by an SUV.

For these circumstances that the Supreme Court called NHRC a toothless tiger.

What should be the way forward?

NHRC needs to be strengthened, and it needs to keep a check on the executive and uphold human rights in all spheres of public and private life. This is a crucial element in the realization of the goal of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”

Source: This post is based on the following articles:

  • NHRC’s remit: Human rights body has an incredibly important job, Praising govt is not part of it” published in Times of India on 13th October 2021.
  • “Human rights and basic needs are one and the same thing-PM Modi’s sequencing is fraught” published in Indian Express on 14th October 2021.
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