CURTAIN RAISER: NHRC observes its 24th Foundation Day tomorrow on the 12th October, 2017 (11.10.2017)

New Delhi, 11th October, 2017
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India, is observing its 24th Foundation Day tomorrow on the 12th October, 2017. It was established on the 12th of October, 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights (PHR) Act, 1993. In this connection, a function is being organised in New Delhi to mark the occasion in order to emphasise upon the importance of protection and promotion of human rights and the related challenges.

Mr. Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India, will be the Chief Guest on the occasion and address the gathering. Awards to the winners of the Children's Painting Competition and Hindi Essay Writing Competition on human rights issues will also be presented on the occasion.

The PHR Act embodies the spirit of the Constitution of India and is also in conformity with the 'Paris Principles'. Human Rights are rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individual, guaranteed by the Constitution, or embodied in the international covenants, and enforceable by Courts in India and are defined in the Section 2 (d) of the PHR Act.

The Commission has a wide mandate to take cognizance of the violation of human rights by the commission/omission or inaction of public authorities entrusted with the authority to protect and promote rights of the people, including civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights and group rights.

As regards the composition, the Commission has a Chairperson and four Members, who are appointed under a Presidential Warrant. Presently, Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu is the Chairperson and Mr. Justice P.C. Ghose, Mr. Justice D. Murugesan, Mr. S.C. Sinha and Mrs. Jyotika Kalra, are the other Members of the Commission. Mr. Ambuj Sharma, IAS is the Secretary General of the Commission.

The NHRC has registered 16,99,206 cases since its inception till 30th September, 2017. During the last year, from October, 2016 to September, 2017, the Commission has registered 84,527 complaints, which included 77 cases registered suo motu, mainly on the basis of media reports, and 1899 on the basis of intimation from police and prison authorities about the deaths in custody and encounters. The Commission disposed 93,728, which include, cases registered during the previous years also.

During the last year, the top ten States from where maximum number of cases were registered, included Uttar Pradesh (39087), Odisha (7923), Delhi (5836), Bihar (3452), Haryana (3056), Tamil Nadu (2982), Rajasthan (2960), Madhya Pradesh (2652), Maharashtra (2312) and West Bengal (1666).

Maximum number of complaints, totaling 25944, was against police. Most of these cases related to complaints against police inaction in protection of human rights, abuse of power by police, false implication by police, inaction by State authorities and indignity of women etc.
During this year, the Commission intervened in various important cases and also recommended total Rs.11,95,97,500/- as monetary relief in 583 cases. It has also received compliance reports from the different State authorities towards the payment of Rs. 2,56,35000/- in 96 cases, as per its recommendations.

179 cases were registered on encounter by police, out of which 149 were based on the intimation received from the police as per the standing guidelines of the Commission. Chhattisgarh with 60 cases, topped the list, followed by Assam (20), Uttar Pradesh (18), Odisha (10), Meghalaya (09), Jharkhand(06), Maharashtra (07), Andhra Pradesh (03), Kerala (01), Madhya Pradesh (02).

Total 191 cases were registered on the deaths in police custody, out of which, 145 were based on intimation from the police authorities. 1606 cases were registered deaths on judicial custody (prisons), out of which, 1529 were based on the intimation from the prison authorities. Uttar Pradesh with 380 cases of deaths in judicial custody top the list, followed by Maharashtra (129), Punjab (125), West Bengal (125), Madhya Pradesh (115), Bihar (112), Rajasthan (79), Tamil Nadu (65), Odisha (60) and Jharkhand (58).

Apart from processing the cases, the NHRC has been organising 'Camp Sittings' to clear pending cases and 'Open Hearings' to hear the complaints of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in different parts of the country. During the year, it organised 04 Camp Sittings in Odisha, Assam, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and 05 Open Hearings in Puducherry, Odisha, Adman & Nicobar, Nagaland and Uttar Pradesh.

The NHRC has also been organising sensitization and awareness programmes for the masses on the issues such as Child and Bonded Labour, Silicosis and Mental Health. The Commission has also been organising Regional Workshops on Bonded Labour as well as workshops and seminars on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights in different parts of the country.

The Commission also has Special Rapporteurs, who are like eyes and ears of the Commission. They are given subjects, such as Bonded Labour, Child Labour, Custodial Justice, Dalit Issues, Health, Disability, Juvenile Justice, Human Rights Education, Rights of Women, Rights of Elderly etc. in the national perspective, or in their territorial jurisdictions, to study and report to the Commission. Besides, it has Core/Expert Groups to advise the Commission on specific issues of human rights like Health, Emergency Medical Care, Mental Health, Disability, Bonded Labour, Right to Food, Elderly Persons, Lawyers and NGOs.

The number of complaints is increasing every year. This not only reflects the credibility of the NHRC, India but also trust reposed in it by the citizens.