Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2018
The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha.
What are the key features?
- The Bill amends the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
- The Act provides for a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC), as well as Human Rights Courts.
- Composition – Now, the chairperson of NHRC is to be a person who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- The Bill provides for the chairperson to be a person who has been Chief Justice of India, or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- Similarly, for SHRC, a person who has been Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court can be the chairperson.
- The Act provides for two persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of the NHRC.
- The Bill amends this to allow three members to be appointed, of which at least one will be a woman.
- Also, the chairpersons of various commissions such as the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes, for Scheduled Tribes, and for Women are members of the NHRC.
- The Bill widens this to National Commissions for Backward Classes, for Protection of Child Rights, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.
- Term of office – Now, the chairperson and members of the NHRC and SHRC are to hold office for 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- The Bill reduces this to 3 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- The Bill also allows for the reappointment of chairpersons of the NHRC and SHRCs.
- Powers – Now, the Secretary-General of the NHRC and a Secretary of a SHRC exercise powers as may be delegated to them.
- The Bill amends this and allows the Secretary-General and Secretary to exercise all administrative and financial powers.
- This is, however, except the judicial functions, and also subject to the respective chairperson’s control.
- Union Territories – The Bill provides for the central government to confer on a SHRC the human rights functions being discharged by Union Territories.
- Functions relating to human rights in the case of Delhi will be dealt by the NHRC.