The Lok Sabha has passed a Amendment bill that amends the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 changing many provisions for the constitution of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
- The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has many provisions on the way the NHRC is constituted.
- The Bill provides:
1. A former Supreme Court Judge is now eligible to be appointed as Chairperson of the Commission. Earlier, only a former Chief Justice of India is appointed as the chairperson.
2. The total number of members have been increased to three from two, of which one shall be a woman. These members should have a knowledge on human rights.
3. The chairpersons of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, National Commission for Backward Classes and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities are now deemed as members of the Commission
4. The term of the members of the Commission, both in state and at centre, has been reduced to three years from five years and are eligible for re-appointment.
5. For the state Commissions, a person who has served as a High Court Judge is also now eligible for appointment as the Chairperson.
Opposition To The Bill
- The members of the opposition claimed that the Bill in its current form does not address many human rights that the country is facing.
- They have claimed that reduction in the tenure of the Commissioner will lead to inconsistency in the working of the commission.
- Also, the Bill is not in adherence with the Paris Principles that sets international standards in setting up of human rights institutions.
Human rights is an important issue world over ever since the atrocities committed in the World War II. The declaration of human rights by the United Nations has laid the foundation for a moral living by the humans. These rights are universal in nature.
Members of the UN adopted these rights into their legal framework. It provides a dignity of life to every human being.
As the opposition claims, there are many gaps in the Bill. The reappointment clause is such an example. It might lead to members and Chairperson toeing the line of the government. It affects the autonomy of the Commission. Proper consultation with the opposition could have brought a better Bill strengthening the Commission.