Unfilled vacancies in the NHRC and SHRCs a matter of concern, says Mr Justice P.C. Pant, Member, NHRC
New Delhi, 19th March, 2021
Mr. Justice P.C. Pant, Member, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India today said that it is a matter of concern that there are unfilled vacancies in the NHRC and SHRCs. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram states are yet to establish State Human Rights Commission.
He was inaugurating the Annual meeting of the National Human Rights Commission with the State Human Rights Commissions online in New Delhi today. NHRC Member, Mrs. Jyotika Kalra, Secretary General, Mr Bimbadhar Pradhan, Chairpersons and Members of SHRCs and senior officers were present.
Justice Pant also said that the definition and punishment for offence of violation of human rights needs to be incorporated in Protection of Human Rights Act, PHRA and the procedure of trial of such offence is also to be clarified. This has created problems for Human Right Courts, established in various States under the Act. Justice Pant said that he had raised this issue last year also, but, unfortunately, PHR Act still remains un amended till date on this aspect.
Justice Pant said that the National and State Human Rights Commissions have a vital role in promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards thereby enabling Governments to fulfil their constitutional and international obligation.
Prior to this, Mr. Bimbadhar Pradhan, Secretary General, NHRC said that the Commission has taken several initiatives to collaborate with SHRCs including linking them with its HRCnet portal for complaint management. 20 SHRCs are already on-board the HRCnet portal to help create a synergy among the human rights institutions for better promotion and protection of human rights. He urged the SHRCs of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand also to join the HRCnet portal.
The well attended meeting of the NHRC – SHRCs concluded with several important suggestions to ameliorate the cause of human rights. The most common issues which were raised included, among others, the need for strengthening the functioning of State Human Rights Commission by providing them appropriate manpower, financial and infrastructure resources.
Several important suggestions emerged in the meeting, which was divided into three thematic sessions focusing on COVID-19 management and related activities by the NHRC and SHRCs, best practices, disaster management -climate change & future strategies , management of complaints especial emphasis on police atrocities. Some of the important suggestions emerged during the open discussions are as follows:
• Every SHRC should have atleast one woman Member;
• Uniformity of compensation was emphasized;
• The contact details of the SHRCs to be made public and also available in each police station;
• SHRCs should hold video conferences with the District Collectors for the implementation of the 12 COVID-19 related NHRC advisories;
• Make Protection of Human Rights Act more powerful and effective
• Appoint nodal officers to act as focal point
• The SHRCs should upload the complaints and the cases on the HRCnet portal to check the duplication of cases;
• Justice Mathur report needs to be implemented to strengthen human rights mechanism at State level; and
• Best practices of NHRC and SHRCs need to be exchanged for strengthening human rights protection mechanism