• Bare Act: Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

  • Chapter I: PRELIMINARY

    1. Short title, extent and commencement.- (1 ) This Act may be called the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

    (2) It extends to the whole of India.

    Provided that it shall apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir only in so far as it pertains to the matters relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List I or List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to that State.

    (3) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 28th day of September, 1993.

    2. Definitions.- (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

    (a) "armed forces" means the naval, military and air forces and includes any other armed forces of the Union;

    (b) "Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Commission or of the State Commission, as the case may be;

    (c) "Commission" means the National Human Rights Commission under section 3;

    (d) "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.

    (e) "Human Rights Court" means the Human Rights Court specified under section 30;

    (f) "International Covenants" means the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 16th December, 1966;

    (g) "Member" means a Member of the Commission or of the State Commission, as the case may be, and includes the Chairperson;

    (h) "National Commission for Minorities" means the National Commission for Minorities constituted under section 3 of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992;

    (i) "National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes" means the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes referred to in article 338 of the Constitution;

    (j) "National Commission for Women" means the National Commission for Women constituted under section 3 of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990;

    (k) "Notification" means a notification published in the official Gazette

    (I) "Prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

    (m) "Public servant" shall have the meaning assigned to it in section 21 of the Indian Penal Code;

    (n) "State Commission" means a State Human Rights Commission constituted under section 21.

    (2) Any reference in this Act to a law, which is not in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, shall, in relation to that State, be construed as a reference to a corresponding law, if any, in force in that State.

    Chapter II: THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

    3. Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission.- (1) The Central Government shall constitute a body to be known as the National Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to it, under this Act.

    (2) The Commission shall consist of:

    (a) a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;

    (b) one Member who is or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court;

    (c) one Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court;

    (d) two Members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

    (3) The Chairpersons of the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the National Commission for Women shall be deemed to be Members of the Commission for the discharge of functions specified in clauses (b) to (j) of section 12.

    (4) There shall be a Secretary-General who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions of the Commission as it may delegate to him.

    (5) The headquarters of the Commission shall be at Delhi and the Commission may, with the previous approval of the Central Government, establish offices at other places in India.

    4. Appointment of Chairperson and other Members.- (1) The Chairperson and other Members shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

    Provided that every appointment under this sub-section shall be made after obtaining the recommendations of a Committee consisting of

    (a) The Prime Minister —Chairperson

    (b) Speaker of the House of the People — Member

    (c) Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India — Member

    (d) Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People — Member

    (e) Leader of the Opposition in the Council of States — Member

    (f) Deputy Chairman of the Council of States — Member

    Provided further that no sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of a High Court shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

    (2) No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in the Committee.

    10. Procedure to be regulated by the Commission.- (1) The Commission shall meet at such time and place as the Chairperson may think fit.

    (2) The Commission shall regulate its own procedure.

    (3) All orders and decisions of the Commission shall be audited by the Secretary-General or any other officer of the Commission duly authorised by the Chairperson in this behalf.

    Chapter III: FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION

    12. Functions of the Commission.- The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely :

    (a) inquire, suo motu or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf, into complaint of

    (i) violation of human rights or abetment thereof or

    (ii) negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant;

    (b) intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court;

    (c) visit, under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations thereon;

    (d) review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation;

    (e) review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures;

    (f) study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation;

    (g) undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;

    (h) spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means;

    (i) encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights;

    (j) such other functions as it may consider necessary for the protection of human rights.

    14. Investigation.- (1) The Commission may, for the purpose of conducting any investigation pertaining to the inquiry, utilise the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Central Government or any State Government with the concurrence of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be.

    (2) For the purpose of investigating into any matter pertaining to the inquiry, any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1 ) may, subject to the direction and control of the Commission.

    (a) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him;

    (b) require the discovery and production of any document; and

    (c) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any office.

    (3) The provisions of section 15 shall apply in relation to any statement made by a person before any officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1 ) as they apply in relation to any statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence before the Commission.

    (4) The officer or agency whose services are utilised under sub-section (1 ) shall investigate into any matter pertaining to the inquiry and submit a report thereon to the Commission within such period as may be specified by the Commission in this behalf.

    (5) The Commission shall satisfy itself about the correctness of the facts stated and the conclusion, if any, arrived at in the report subbed to it under sub-section (4) and for this purpose the Commission may make such inquiry (including the examination of the person or persons who conducted or assisted in the investigation) as it thinks fit.

    15. Statement made by persons to the Commission.- No statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence before the Commission shall subject him to, or be used against him in, any civil or criminal proceeding except a prosecution for giving false evidence by such statement:

    Provided that the statement —

    (a) is made in reply to the question which he is required by the Commission to answer; or

    (b) is relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry.

    16. Persons likely to be prejudicially affected to be heard.- If, at any stage of the inquiry, the Commission-

    (a) considers it necessary to inquire into the conduct of any person; or

    (b) is of the opinion that the reputation of any person is likely to be prejudicially affected by the inquiry; it shall give to that person a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the inquiry and to produce evidence in his defence:

    Provided that nothing in this section shall apply where the credit of a witness is being impeached.

    Chapter IV : PROCEDURE

    17. Inquiry into complaints.- The Commission while inquiring into the complaints of violations of human rights may-

    (i) call for information or report from the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority or organisation subordinate thereto within such time as may be specified by it;

    Provided that-
    (a) if the information or report is not received within the time stipulated by the Commission, it may proceed to inquire into the complaint on its own;

    (b) if, on receipt of information or report, the Commission is satisfied either that no further inquiry is required or that the required action has been initiated or taken by the concerned Government or authority, it may not proceed with the complaint and inform the complainant accordingly;

    (ii) without prejudice to anything contained in clause (i), if it considers necessary, having regard to the nature of the complaint, initiate an inquiry.

    Chapter V : STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS

    21. Constitution of State Human Rights Commissions.- (1) A State Government may constitute a body to be known as the ....... (name of the State) Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, a State Commission under this chapter.

    (2) The State Commission shall consist of

    (a) a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court;

    (b) one Member who is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court;

    (c) one Member who is, or has been, a district judge in that State;

    (d) two Members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

    (3) There shall be a Secretary who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the State Commission and shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions of the State Commission as it may delegate to him.

    (4) The headquarters of the State Commission shall be at such place as the State Government may, by notification, specify.

    (5) A State Commission may inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of matters relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List II and List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution:

    Provided that if any such matter is already being inquired into by the Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force, the State Commission shall not inquire into the said matter:

    Provided further that in relation to the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission, this sub-section shall have effect as if for the words and figures "List ll and List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution", the words and figures "List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and in respect of matters in relation to which the Legislature of that State has power to make laws" had been substituted.

    22. Appointment of Chairperson and other Members of State Commission.- (1) The Chairperson and other Members shall be appointed by the Governor by warrant under his hand and seal:

    Provided that every appointment under this sub-section shall be made after obtaining the recommendation of a Committee consisting of

    (a) the Chief Minister — Chairperson

    (b) Speaker of the Legislative Assembly — Member

    (c) Minister in-charge of the Department of Home, in that State — Member

    (d) Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly — Member

    Provided further that where there is a Legislative Council in a State, the Chairman of that Council and the Leader of the Opposition in that Council shall also be members of the Committee.

    Provided also that no sitting Judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State.

    (2) No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member of the State Commission shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in the Committee.

    29. Application of certain provisions relating to National Human Rights Commission to State Commissions.- The provisions of sections 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 shall apply to a State Commission and shall have effect, subject to the following modifications, namely :-

    (a) references to "Commission" shall be construed as refer ences to "State Commission";

    (b) in section 10, in sub-section (3), for the word "Secretary General", the word "Secretary" shall be substituted;

    (c) in section 12, clause (f) shall be omitted;

    (d) in section 17, in clause (i), the words "Central Government or any" shall be omitted;

    Chapter VI : HUMAN RIGHTS COURTS

    30. For the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights, the State.- Government may, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification, specify for each district a Court of Session to be a Human Rights Court to try the said offences.

    Provided that nothing in this section shall apply if

    (a) a Court of Session is already specified as a special court; or

    (b) a special court is already constituted, for such offences under any other law for the time being in force.

    31. Special Public Prosecutor.- For every Human Rights Court, the State Government shall, by notification, specify a Public Prosecutor or appoint an advocate who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years, as a Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases in that Court.

    Chapter VII : FINANCE, ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT

    32. Grants by the Central Government.- (1) The Central Government shall after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, pay to the Commission by way of grants such sums of money as the Central Government may think fit for being utilised for the purposes of this Act.

    (2) The Commission may spend such sums as it thinks fit for performing the functions under this Act, and such sums shall be treated as expenditure payable out of the grants referred to in sub-section (1).

    33. Grants by the State Government.- (1) The State Government shall, after due appropriation made by Legislature by law in this behalf, pay to the State Commission by way of grants such sums of money as the State Government may think fit for being utilised for the purposes of this Act.

    (2) The State Commission may spend such sums as it thinks fit for performing the functions under Chapter V, and such sums shall be treated as expenditure payable out of the grants referred to in sub-section (1).

    Chapter VIII : MISCELLANEOUS

    36. Matters not subject to jurisdiction of the Commission.- (1) The Commission shall not inquire into any matter which is pending before a State Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force.

    (2) The Commission or the State Commission shall not inquire into any matter after the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed.

    37. Constitution of special investigation teams.- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, where the Government considers it necessary so to do, it may constitute one or more special investigation teams, consisting of such police officers as it thinks necessary for purposes of investigation and prosecution of offences arising out of violations of human rights.

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