In what might be perceived as a first step towards Union Territories obtaining better reach to justice, the Supreme Court (SC),in the ongoing week, has asked the Union Government why the people from these centrally governed regions were to come to Delhi to file their complaints regarding Human Rights violation.
The court’s question came as a response on a contempt-petition filed against the Central Government for failing to form a State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in Delhi. In fact, in a last year verdict, the Supreme Court had directed Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura to establish SHRCs in their respective states within six months. The recent petition was filed for the alleged Human Rights violation of this verdict.
It is important to mention here that Delhi accounts for the second largest human rights violation cases, after Uttar Pradesh, with the National Human Rights Commission.
The centre has informed the Supreme Court that Delhi, as it is a Union Territory, cannot have a State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The Centre has said, “Delhi has to continue without an SHRC until Parliament amends the law.”
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Composition of State Human Rights Commission
The protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 mandates for the formation of not only the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) but also a State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) at the State Level.
SHRC is a multi-member body comprising of a Chairperson and two members. Only a retired Chief Justice of a High Court can be appointed as the Chairperson and between the other two members one must be a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the State with a minimum of seven years experience of District Judge and a person having knowledge or practical experience with respect to Human Rights.
Appointment and Removal
The chairperson and other two members of the SHRC are appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee comprising of the Chief Minister as its head, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the State Home Minister and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
If a State has a Legislative Council, the chairman of the Council and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council world also be included in the Committee as members.
A sitting judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State.
The Chairperson and the members or a State Human Rights Commission fact that they are appointed by the Governors, can be removed only by the President of India.
The Chairperson and the other two members can hold the office for five years from the date of their appointment or until they reach the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. They do not remain, after their appointment, eligible for further employment under State or Central Government.
Jurisdiction of SHRC
A State Human Rights Commission can hold the inquiry into the violation of human rights only in respect of subjects provided in the State List (List II) and Concurrent List (List III) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.