Table of Contents
- Global agency affiliated to UN rights body defers NHRC accreditation
Facts for Prelims
- Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
- Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
- Sagar Parikrama Yatra
Global agency affiliated to UN rights body defers NHRC accreditation
For the second time in a row, an organization affiliated to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and representing more than a hundred national human rights institutions, has deferred re-accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India for a year.
The current Situation
- The Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) to the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) had granted ‘A’ status of accreditation to NHRC in 2017, after deferring it the year before — the first such instance since NHRC was established in 1993.
- The subcommittee has recommended advocating with the government and parliamentarians for certain legislative amendments to improve compliance with the Paris Principles.
- Without the accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council.
- In 2016, the GANHRI had cited the following issues:
- Appointment of political representatives
- Failure in ensuring gender balance and pluralism in NHRC staff among the reasons for the deferment.
- The GANHRI is responsible for reviewing and accrediting National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles every five years.
- Adopted in 1991, the Paris Principles are a crucial step in developing standards for national human rights institutions worldwide.
- The six principles require a country‘s human rights agency to be independent from the government in its structure, composition, decision-making and method of operation.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India
- Headed by Justice Arun Mishra, former judge of the Supreme Court.
- NHRC was established in 1993.
- It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions to protect human rights in Paris in 1991.
- Status: It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993
- Headquarters: New Delhi.
- To investigate the violation of human rights/ the failures of the states/other to prevent a human rights violation
- Research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.
- Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.
- A Chairperson should be retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- Appointment: The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
- The Home Minister
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
- Tenure: They hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- Removal: The President can remove them from the office under specific circumstances.
The success of NHRC:
- NHRC issued guidelines where death in police custody has to be reported to NHRC within 48 hrs.
- Vocal in the opinion of laws such as TADA (Terrorist and disruptive activities prevention act) and POTA (prevention of terrorism act)
- Suo Moto took cognizance of the deportation of Rohingya refugees –the commission was of the opinion that Rohingya have a fear of persecution. Back in 1994 had taken about the issue of the safety of the Chakma community in Arunachal Pradesh
- Had taken up the issue of death of kids due to malnutrition in Odisha-The recommendations were accepted by the state government
- Had worked for improving the conditions of denotified tribes.
- Strengthening of women’s and children rights and improving their condition
Issues with respect to NHRC:
- Recommendations of NHRC are not binding: NHRC has had very little success in getting the victims financial compensation
- Has limited power over armed forces: Can only ask for a report from concerned department –This has handicapped NHRC with respect to involvement of violation of human rights by armed forces
- Non-compliance by the states with the directions for compensation issued by the commission
- Shortage of adequate number of trained staff to handle the growing number of complaints.
- Large expenditure on office expenses, leaving small amounts for research and rights awareness programmes.
- Private bodies are out of ambit of NHRC
- The NHRC does not have fair and equal means of representation in terms of gender, religious minority groups and disabled populations.
Recommendations, which can make NHRC more effective
- The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if the government immediately makes its decisions enforceable.
- Can include civil society human rights activist’s members for better understanding of the situation at hand.
- Staff should be recruited independently rather than deputation from the government.
- Should remove the barrier of not taking complaints older than a year.
- Bring armed forces and private parties under the ambit of commission -> with certain limitations where unity and integrity of the nation is of utmost importance
- Increase in budget allocation will lead to ample space for the commission to expand
- Culture of human rights be inculcated in students through an updated curriculum
- Remove ambiguity in language for member’s qualifications. Non-judiciary members must not be filled at centre discretion but on the recommendation of a body comprising the PM, CJI, and former members.
- According to Section 2 of the act -“Human Rights” means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
SC refuses to entertain PIL seeking direction to Lok Sabha Secretariat for inauguration of new Parliament building by President.
- PIL has not been defined in any Indian statute. However, Courts have interpreted and defined PIL.
- The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has, in the case of Janata Dal v. H.S.Chaudhary, [(AIR 1993 SC 892) held that lexically, the expression ‘PIL’ means a legal action started in a court of law for the enforcement of public/general interest where the public or a particular class of the public some interest (including pecuniary interest) that affects their legal rights or liabilities.
- Any individual or organisation can file a PIL either in his/her/their own standing i.e. to protect or enforce a right owed to him/her/them by the government or on behalf of a section of society who is disadvantaged or oppressed and is not able to enforce their own rights.
- The concept of “Locus Standi” has been relaxed in the case of PILs so as to enable the Hon’ble Court to look into grievances that are filed on behalf of those who are poor, illiterate, deprived or disabled and are unable to approach the courts themselves.
- Suo moto cognizance may also be taken by the Court.
PILs are extensions of Writ Jurisdiction. Therefore, PILs may be filed either before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution or any High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
PM Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker & various ministers pay floral tribute to Savarkar on his 140th birth anniversary.
- Born on this day in 1883 near Nasik in Maharashtra, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was popularly called Veer Savarkar.
- Veer Savarkar was a freedom fighter . He called 1857 revolt as the first war of independence.
- He founded the following Organizations: Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India Society.
- He was also a member of India House. He was not the founder of Hindu Mahasabha, but he did served as its president.
- He opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a “Quit India but keep your army” movement.
- Savarkar endorsed the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra and is credited with developing the Hindu nationalist political ideology Hindutva.
- He wrote the book ”Joseph Mazzini- Biography and Politics”.
- He published “The Indian War of Independence” about the Indian rebellion of 1857.
- The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar’s capital has been named Veer Savarkar International Airport.
Sagar Parikrama Yatra
Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying launches VI Phase of Sagar Parikarma Yatra in Anadaman on May 29, 2023.
- Sagar Parikrama is an initiative taken by Gxovernment of India.
- The aim is to resolve the issues of the fishers, other stakeholders and facilitate their economic upliftment through various fisheries schemes and programs being implemented by the Government of India such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) and Kisan Credit Card (KCC).
- Sagar Parikrama is a program reflecting the far-reaching policy strategy of the government leading to the direct interaction with fishers and fish farmers to understand the issues of coastal areas and problems related to fishermen.
Phases I, II & III, IV have brought massive changes in the development strategy for fishermen.