With NHRC supported by 7 National Commissions,India has an unparalleled institutional mechanism to address the issues of human rights violations: NHRC Chairperson
New Delhi:Mr. Justice Arun Mishra, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India today said that India has an unparalleled institutional mechanism to address the issues of human rights violations with the NHRC having overarching jurisdiction in addition to seven other National Commissions and its Deemed Members to look into the right-based grievances of specific vulnerable sections of the society. He said that while participating in and addressing various international human rights forums, he realized this and the fact that India cannot be ignored for its overall progress, and advancement along with its democratic values, which are the best in the world. No doubt certain improvements may be required but the Freedom of Speech and the kind of debates, which happen in India are not heard of anywhere.
Justice Mishra was chairing the Statutory Full Commission meeting of the Chairpersons and representatives of the seven National Commissions, who are its ex-officio Members. The objective was to enhance synergy and mutual cooperation among the Commission towards the promotion and protection of human rights and share best practices in that direction.
Justice Mishra said that each National Commission has been working tirelessly in its respective jurisdiction to promote and protect of human rights. All that is required is to create more synergy between the work of all the Commissions, and the National Human Rights Commission to create an atmosphere of right-based culture in the country with the consistent support of centre and state governments irrespective of political dispensation.
He said that the interventions of the NHRC and all its Deemed Member National Commissions help the governments in good governance for which they are committed, and hence, these should not be considered adversarial to their functioning. He said that all the Commissions must ensure that the last person in the queue should get the distributive justice that he deserved.
He said that there is a need to standardize education for children. Vernacular languages are being forgotten. If substandard education for children in Madarsas continues, the Muslims will never come up. He said that a policy of reservation to benefit the neediest among the reserve categories needs to be considered.
Justice Mishra said that the Deemed Members of the Statutory Commission may bring to the notice of the NHRC any such case where they require further investigation and feel the need to recommend monetary relief to the victim of the violation of the rights.
Mrs. Rekha Sharma, Chairperson, National Commission for Women expressed serious concern over human trafficking. She said that the trafficking of women from West Bengal to Srinagar has increased. Forceful conversion in the name of marriage is a serious issue of rights violation, which needs to be addressed.
Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Chairperson, National Commission for Backward Classes said that some states do not implement the national welfare schemes, which are necessary to end inequality and discrimination in society. He also said that a dangerous trend is being noticed of giving benefits of reservation to those who have intruded into Indian borders thereby usurping the benefits of welfare schemes meant for the citizens of the country. This needs to be checked.
Mr. Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities expressed concern over the non-payment of compensation to several victims of the 1984 riots even after so many years. He said that the National Commission for Minorities is working on a book having basic information about the religious practices of different faiths. Mr. Lalpura also said that they would like to collaborate with the NHRC on the research projects.
Mr. Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that running orphanages has become a kind of racket to siphon off funds received through massive donations. He urged the NHRC to impress upon the government to include a provision on grooming in the Anti-Trafficking Draft Bill. Mr. Priyank also said that India has very progressive laws including the provisions of POCSO for the protection of human rights of children, and as such it is much ahead of UNCRC.
Mr. Subhash Ramnath Pardhi, Member, National Commission for Scheduled Castes expressed concern that many times High Courts reject the recommendations and directions merely on technicalities and not on merits. He said that it needs to be impressed upon the judiciary to give a hearing also to the NCST on merits before rejecting its recommendations.
Mr. Praveen Prakash Ambashta, Deputy Chief Commissioner, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities said that accessibility in public places continues to remain a concern for Persons with Disabilities. He said that ramps on roads are being used by the two-wheelers, and hence these have been blocked at several places. He said that over the years, there has been a change in the perception about disabilities but more requires to be done.
Mr. Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay suggested that a museum of human rights in the country needs to be built to showcase human rights in Indian Art and Culture from the Ancient era to till date. He also suggested jointly organising a festival to showcase the Indian Heritage of Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Dr. Mulay asked the Statutory Members to actively contribute to the NHRC Core Group Meetings and Advisories on various thematic issues common to their area of work.
Mr. Rajiv Jain said that the Statutory Commission Members may consider boarding the human rights net portal to avoid duplication of complaints and forum shopping. He said that the Commission may enrich international discourse with the joint efforts of all the National Commissions.
Earlier, welcoming the participants, Mr. D.K. Singh, Secretary General, NHRC gave a brief insight into the activities of the Commission towards the fulfillment of its mandate. These included, among others, disposal of 1,09,982 cases during 2022-23 and recommendations for payment of Rs.13.69 crore as relief in 279 cases to the victims or their Next of Kin, 81 suo motu cases, 48 spot inquiries besides 9 Core Group meetings and 4 open house discussions, and the Advisories.
Ms. Miranda Ingundam, Director, represented the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. The NHRC, Director General (Investigation), Mr. Manoj Yadava, Registrar (Law), Mr. Surajit Dey, Joint Secretaries, Mrs. Anita Sinha and Mr. Devendra Kumar Nim, and other senior officers also participated.