Discuss the achievements and failures of National Human Rights Commission.

The national human rights commission is a statutory body established under the provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. It is responsible for looking into cases of excesses which are violating human rights and to strengthen the efforts to uphold the human rights in the country.
But it is often criticized as toothless body because:

  • Its recommendations are not binding.
  • It doesn’t have powers to punish the violators or award relief to the victims.
  • Very limited role in cases dealing with violation of human rights by armed forces.
  • It cannot take cognizance of the violations after the period of 1 year.

Even then the NHRC has carved out a niche for itself. Some of its notable moments include:

  • Bringing into forefront the various draconian provisions of TADA.
  • Waging fight in the court of law against Arunachal Pradesh government for its apathy towards Chakma refugees.
  • Its suo moto cognizance in the case of Gujarat riots and filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court.
  • Taking up suo moto cognizance of instances of fake encounters.
  • Active interventions in cases of atrocities against dalits.
  • Active interventions in cases of plight of manual scavengers.

Though there are various lacunas in the functioning of NHRC it cannot be termed as toothless. The cognizance of matters by NHRC has an immense potential to address the human rights violations in the days of vibrant media and through the route of courts.


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