What is the National Human Right Commission?

Do you notice references to the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) in the news collage on the page? these reference reflect the growing awareness of human rights and struggles for human dignity.

Many cases of human right violations in diverse fields, for instance, Gujarat riots, are being brought to the public notice form across India.

Human rights organization and the media often criticise government agencies for not seriously pursing these cases or catching the culprits.


Some had to intervene on behalf of the victims. This is where the National Human Right Commission stepped in. This is an independent commission set up by law in 1993. Like judiciary, the Commission is independent of the government. The Commission is appointed by the President and includes retired judges, officers and eminent citizens.

Yet is does not have the burden of deciding court cases. So it can focus on helping the victims secure their human rights. These include all the rights granted to the citizens by the Constitution. For NHRC human rights also include the rights mentioned in the UN sponsored international treaties that India has signed.

The NHRC cannot by itself punish the guilty. That is the responsibility of courts. The NHRC is there to make independent and credible inquiry into any case of violation of human rights. It also inquires into any case of abetment of such violation or negligence in controlling it by any government officer and takes other general steps to promote human rights in the country.

The Commission presents its findings and recommendations to the government of intervene in the court on behalf of the victims. It has wide ranging powers to carry out its inquiry. Like any court it can summon witnesses, question any government official, demand any official paper, visit any prison for inspection or send its own team for on-the-spot inquiry.

Any citizen of India can write a letter to this address to complain against the violation of human rights: National Human Rights Commission. There is no Fee or any formal procedure to approach the NHRC. Like NHRC, there are state Human Rights commissions in 21 states of the country (as on 1 Sep 2012).