Topic– Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
2) The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment Bill), 2018 falls short of bringing out substantial changes to the NHRC. Critically analyze. (250 words)
Why this question
NHRC of India has been facing severe criticism from many corners including the SC which has termed the organisation as a toothless tiger. In this connection it is vital to discuss the PHR bill, 2018 and analyze its reform potential as well as its shortcomings.
Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question
The question wants us to probe deeper into the PHR bill and bring out its positive points as well as shortcomings and them form a substantial opinion on the overall issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the NHRC, its constitutional status and mandate.
- Discuss the positive reforms anticipated in the PHR bill, 2018. E.g The Bill reduces the term of office to three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier. The Bill also allows for the reappointment of chairpersons of the NHRC and SHRC; 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; The Bill provides for including the chairpersons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as members of the NHRC among others.
- Discuss its shortcomings. E.g The selection committee tasked with appointing the chairperson and the members to the Commission is dominated by the ruling party. It consists of the prime minister, home minister, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. There is thus a need to diversify the selection committee; the bill does not seek to address NHRC’s selection process which is very obscure. Very often, the government does not publicise vacancies in the Commission. The criteria to assess candidates is also not specified. As a result, appointments to the NHRC have been fraught with disputes; long pendency of the Commission’s requests for additional funds; Police officials investigating for the NHRC are sent on deputation by their forces. Their allegiance lies with their home cadre to which they return after their tenure at the Commission is over. This conflict of interest restricts the scope of their work, as they often are charged with investigating abuse of power by law enforcement personnel. Adding officials of the Intelligence Bureau to the mix only muddies the water. The bill fails to address such issues among others.
Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.