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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » National Actors » National Human Rights Commission


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is an autonomous statutory body established in 1993 according to the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act. The Commission is composed of a chairperson and six members. The chairperson has to have been a chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The purpose of the NHRC is, suo moto or through the petition of a person, to investigate the violation of human rights or the failures of the state or other to prevent a human rights violation. The Commission can visit state institutions where people are detained such as jails to examine the conditions of the institutions and make sure they are in compliance with human rights provisions. They can also examine any law or constitutional provisions to ensure that the safeguards of the law protect human rights. They are to advise the state on measures to prevent terrorism and related violations as well as on how to effectively implement provisions of human rights treaties. The commissions may also take on research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.

Petitions can be made directly to the commission in the case of any human rights violation. However in 2002 there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the commission's rejection of the petition made by R. K. Sharma's family in the Shivani Batnagar Murder case. R.K. Sharma was the main person accused in the case and had absconded. The Commission denied the plea on the basis that the family petition also included the protection of the accused. The criticism is that the commission granting of protection would have been only to promote the human rights of the family and accused which are the same an every human being, not to protect him against the law or prosecution. It is also to be noted that Commission often takes years to respond to a single case by which time the case is irrelevant or has been dropped and often poor people who petition the commission have to spend large amounts on lawyers to get they case heard. National Human Rights Commissio

Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi-110001,India
Phone: 91-11-23385368/ +919810298900 (mobile)