Lok Sabha passed Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill 2019
Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 introduced in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah has been passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill amends Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 that provides for National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) and Human Rights Courts.
Key Features of Amendment
Composition of NHRC: Under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, chairperson of NHRC is a person who has been Chief Justice of Supreme Court but Bill amends this provision to person who has been Chief Justice of Supreme Court, or Judge of Supreme Court will be chairperson of NHRC. This means Supreme Court judge besides CJI can also be appointed Chairperson of NHRC.
Number of members of NHRC increased from two to three
Act provides for 2 persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of NHRC but Bill amends this provision to allow 3 members to be appointed as members of NHRC. Also, At least one of 3 members of NHRC should be a woman
Members of NHRC: Under the Act, chairpersons of commissions like National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), and National Commission for Women (NCW) are members of NHRC. The Ammendement Bill provides for including chairpersons of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) as well as Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) as NHRC members.
Chairperson of SHRC: At present SHRC chairperson is a person who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court but Bill amends this to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice/Judge of High Court will be chairperson of SHRC.
Term of office: As per the Act chairperson and members of NHRC and SHRC will hold office for 5 years or till 70 years of age or whichever is earlier. Bill reduces term of office to 3 years or till 70 years of age, whichever is earlier. Moreover the bill removes the 5 year limit for reappointment unlike the present act that allows for reappointment of members of NHRC and SHRCs for a period of 5 years.
Powers of Secretary-General: Bill seeks to amend the current provision of Secretary-General of NHRC and a Secretary of SHRC, who exercise powers as may be delegated to them, to allowing the Secretary-General and Secretary to exercise all administrative and financial powers (except judicial functions), subject to respective chairperson’s control.
Union Territories: Bill provides that central government may confer on SHRC human rights functions being discharged by UTs and the functions relating to human rights in case of Delhi will be dealt with by NHRC.
Month: Current Affairs - July, 2019