Department of Law, Saurashtra University, Rajkot 364 002, INDIA.
The National Human Rights Commission is a premier Authority dedicated towards protection of human rights in a country, which has a varied culture, stratified society and numerous problems overlooking them. The National Commission has dined note worthy service in protecting human rights which lacks human rights culture. The majority of our people especially those who are staying in rural areas are still not aware of their rights even after independence of more than Sixty-three years. A country which has shown great tolerance towards administrative irregularities not knowing whether for their inherent nature, high rate of illiteracy, poverty or any other cause or combination of it, needs such as an institution as National and State Human Rights Commissions which are dedicated completely towards protection of human rights. The independent and autonomous nature of the Human Rights Commission is the most important aspect to build confidence in the people towards impartial working.
There was wide spread importance as well as misgivings about the usefulness of the National Human Rights Commission established by the Government of India in 1993. Several intellectuals, Non Governmental Organisations and the print media and among others were sceptical that a Government appointed National Commission would be able to uphold human rights in the face of violation of the rights by the state agencies. It was thought that human rights and establishment were mutually hostile. At the root of the apprehension was the mindset that human rights violations in India were only at the hands of the state agencies. In other words the societal dimension was overlooked. In an article published in a daily in March 2003, Munthanga incident in Kerala clearly narrates societal violation of human rights and the cause of the Dalits especially Adivasis, Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe and women which the human right activists believe that it should be at the top of agenda of the National Human Rights Commission. 'The National Commission seems to have been given a vast area to work with insufficient force to do justice to their assigned job. The large number of pending cases before the National Human rights Commission is the evidence towards it. The slowly up of the State Human Rights Commissions, Human Rights Cells, Human Rights Courts and district level Commissions throughout the country will certainly help the National Human Rights Commission.
The State Human Rights Commission as per the statute does not have direct power to award compensation. But this does not render the State Commission look like entire like a demon without teeth, due to the compensatory jurisprudence adopted by the Commission. The State Human Rights Commission orders for awarding compensation to the State Governments, which is to be recovered from the officer or personnel who has caused the violation. This Jurisprudence has been applied in many of the custodial death cases. The State Human Rights Commission's opposition for laws which largely affect the rights of people, has a two faced aspect; the POTA Act, which against terrorism and for the security of the nation and the on other hand probability of abusing the discretions power granted to administrative organ. Both the Government and the National Human Rights Commission seem to in a fix. This is evident from the words of former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission who says ”undoubtedly national security is paramount importance, without protection the safety and security of the nation, individual rights cannot be protected”. However, the worth of the nation is the worth of the individuals constituting it. Art 21 is nonderogable. Both national security and individual rights are core values in the Constitution.
We must recognize that the worst forms of human rights violations and infringement of liberties are caused by the inception of Varnavyasta or the caste system directly or indirectly, and by communal riots. Present day India wants to rectify these grave errors, the National Human Rights Commission calls them ancient wrongs. In this condition it is important that men and women of goodwill are brought together to give active thought to the errors with a view to rectifying them. 'This coming together overcomes sense of isolation and indulgence in speculation on private perceptions it generates. Public discussion is the most important method to promote this coming together. Moreover it is the task of National and State Human Rights Commission to act in co-operation with enlightened social activists and Non-Governmental Organisations as philosopher guide in helping the people to help themselves with a view to creating a new man and women and a new society where the values of human rights and freedoms and human dignity are respected.
State and National Human Rights Commission has a special and inescapable responsibility to protect those who are the most vulnerable, Dalits and scheduled castes, tribes; women and children especially girl child; the disabled; those victimized for reasons of religion or language; and those weighed down by economic and social tradition or ironically marginalized by growth and change. The State Human Rights Commission in its annual report mentions that the scales of justice and equity may be evenly balanced for them so that some may cease to be less equal than others. The State Commission has made another significant observation with regard to child labour; almost the entire child labour force belongs to the marginalized sections like SC/Sts and the minority. The State Commission has constantly argued that the most potent way of dealing with the question of child labour would be through the provision of free and compulsory education as required by Article 45 of the Constitution. The right to education if fulfilled would be itself be the strongest weapon in the battle to end child labour. The greatest tragedy and the entire mole greater because a wholly avoidable one that has befallen on the country is the non-implementation of the programme of universal basic education and not putting this social welfare programme first on the list of priorities. Moreover when we talk about illiteracy, it is understood that the entire illiterate section of our population belongs to SC/STs and Muslims and Women. If we want to stand them up the first thing is to give them basic education and it is the fundamental duty of the state to provide basic education to all children.
The condition of girl child, relating to human right violations has been determined by our religions and their approach to women in, general. Social injustice in our society is a product of the given social structure of our country including the age-old taboos. According to religious traditions women are required to find their fulfillment in motherhood and domestically. Their duty is to render their service to the husband, his family and to the children. Our intellectuals both ancient and modern have fabricated many fables about the exalted position of women in our society portraying them as goddesses. The depressing position of the girl child is to be viewed in the light of the place a woman occupies in our society. It is hoped that the National Human Rights Commission will pursue with greater vigor than hither to the societal aspects of protection and promotion of human rights.