About State Human Rights Commission (SHRC)
A State Government may constitute a body known as the Human Rights Commission of that State to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, a State Commission.
A State Commission is to be composed of a chairman and some members appointed by the Governor in consultation with the
(i) Chief Minister,
(ii) Home Minister,
(iii) Speaker and
(iv) Leader of the Opposition in State Assembly.
- The chairman is to be a retired judge (or Chief Justice) of the High Court;
- One of the members should be a serving or a retired District Judge in that state;
- One member is to be a serving judge or a retired judge of the High Court,
- Two members are to be activists in the field of Human Rights.
- Besides the above members, the Commission has its own secretary as well.
Term of office: Three years or till the age of seventy years (eligible for reappointment).
The chairman or any other member is removable by the President on the charge of proved misbehavior or incapacity after a regular inquiry by a judge of the Supreme Court. They are removable on the grounds as provided for such removals of the members of NHRC as well.
These functions of the SHRCs are to:
- Inquire suo motu or on a petition presented to it, by a victim, or any person on his be into complaint of:
(i) Violation of human rights or abetment thereof;
(ii) Negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant.
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights, per before a Court with the approval of such Court.
- Visit under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations thereon.
- Review the safeguards provided by or under the constitution of any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
- Review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
- Spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the n seminars and other available means.
- Encourage the efforts of Non-Governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights.
- Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.
About the Human Rights Courts
- One of the objectives of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as stated in the preamble of the Act, is the establishment of human rights courts at district level. The creation of Human Rights Courts at the district level has a great potential to protect and realize human rights at the grassroots.
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (section 30) provides for establishment of Human Rights Courts for the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights. It provides that the state Government may, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification, specify for each district a Court of Sessions to be a Human Rights Court to try the said offences. The object of establishment of such Courts at district level is to ensure speedy disposal of cases relating to offences arising out of violation of human rights. Section 31 of the Act provides the State government to specify and appoint a special public prosecutor in that court.
- The Act however does not define or explain the meaning of “offences arising out of violations of human rights”. It is vague. The Act also is silent about taking cognizance of the offence.
- Violations of human rights which constitute penal offences are already being tried and punished in the Criminal Courts. Only such violations which are not covered as offences in any criminal law need to be taken cognizance of, inquired into and redressed by human rights court.
Protection of Human Right (Amendment) Bill, 2019
- To make the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) more inclusive and efficient, Lok Sabha passes the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which amends the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993.
- A person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court is also made eligible to be appointed as Chairperson of the Commission in addition to the person who has been the Chief Justice of India.
- Increasing the members of the commission who have knowledge of human rights issues, from two to three, out of which one must be a woman;
- Include Chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes, Chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as deemed Members of the Commission;
- Reduces the term of the Chairperson and Members of the Commission and the State Commissions from five to three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment;
- A person who has been a Judge of the High Court is also made eligible to be appointed as Chairperson of the State Commission in addition to the person who has been the Chief Justice of the High Court; and,
- Confer upon State Commissions, the functions relating to human rights being discharged by the Union territories, other than the Union territory of Delhi, which will be dealt with by the Commission.
Protection of Human Right Act, 1993
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 came into force with retrospective effect from September 28, 1993.
- It applies to the whole of India and in case of J&K, it applies to matters pertaining to Union List and the Concurrent List only.
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted to provide for the constitution of:
(i) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),
(ii) State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and
(iii) Human Rights Courts for the protection of human rights.
- According to Section 2 of the act -“Human Rights” means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International covenants and enforceable by courts in India.