State Human Rights Commission: SHRC Functions, Powers, Members, Role

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

State Human Rights Commission was established for the promotion and safeguarding of human rights in the country. As the name suggests, it is a state-specific body that came into existence through an Act of Parliament. The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 was the driving force behind the establishment of the State Human Rights Commission.

The State Human Rights Commission is meant for a specific state and therefore looks after the human rights protection of the people belonging to that particular state and also looks at certain violations if made in the same direction. Get the complete details of the State Human Rights Commission and gain an in-depth knowledge about its functions and powers.

State Human Rights Commission

The State Human Rights Commission was created at the state level under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, which also brought the National Human Rights Commission into existence. Apart from protecting human rights, the SHRC is also supposed to probe the violation of human rights, but it can only deal with those subjects that are mentioned in the List II of the State List and List III of the Concurrent List.

State Human Rights Commission PDF

The subjects of the SHRC must conform to are mentioned in the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Consitution. The respective State Governments are given the power to create a Human Rights Commission for their particular state if needed.

State Human Rights Commission Members

The State Human Rights Commission, or SHRC, comprises two members and one chairperson who heads the commission. Here are other details about SHRC Composition.

  • Appointment of SHRC Members: The State Human Rights Commission members are appointed by the Governor. They can only be removed by the President, though.
  • Tenure of SHRC Members: The Chairperson and the members of the State Human Rights Commission are appointed for a term of three years or till they reach the age of 70 years.
  • Salary of SHRC Members: As per the recent change in the salary & allowances of the SHRC Chairperson & members, the Tamil Nadu govt. has increased the salary by approx. 177%. The Chairperson now will receive a salary of Rs 2.5 lakh instead of Rs 90,000 & the members will receive around Rs 2.25 lakh as compared to Rs 80,000 a month.

Qualification of SHRC Members

There are certain conditions under which a State Human Rights Chairman & the members need to be appointed.

  • The SHRC chairman will be eligible if he/she is a retired judge of the High Court or a retired Chief Justice.
  • The members will also be eligible only if they have been serving or are retired as a Judge of the High Court or a District Judge with at least seven years of experience as a District Judge.
  • The candidates should also possess prior experience or knowledge of human rights.
  • The office to be held by the SHRC chairman & members has a term of three years or until they reach 70, whichever is first.
  • The Chairman and members of the State Human Rights Commission are only appointed by the Governor based on recommendations made by a specific Committee of Chief Ministers (head of the committee) & the Legislative Assembly speaker.
  • Irrespective of the appointment of the Chairman & State Human Rights Commission members, made by the Governor, their tenure can only be terminated by the President of India.

Functions of State Human Rights Commission

Having the protection of human rights as the major goal, the State Human Rights Commission has to perform various other functions and responsibilities in order to fulfill its main aim.

  • To look into the violation of human rights in the given state and especially prevent it from happening in the case of a public servant.
  • To arbitrate in case of pending legal proceedings, including the claim of human rights violations at any given time in the state.
  • To assess the living conditions of prisoners & people who have been spending time in other detention centers.
  • To advocate more research and development on the subject of human rights.
  • To evaluate the conditions that hamper people’s lives & rob them of their basic human rights and recommend solutions for the same.
  • To raise general awareness of people with respect to human rights and make them aware of the various ways in which they can protect their rights from getting violated.

Powers of SHRC

As discussed above, the State Human Rights Commission protects human rights and prevents violations by adopting various measures. It has been given certain powers to accomplish the given task easily.

  • The State Human Rights Commission is given complete power to manage the whole process independently.
  • It possesses a complete set of powers similar to a civil court and conducts judicial proceedings in the same way as a court.
  • The SHRC has been vested with the power to demand information from the Governor of the State or any other authority with respect to the case & can also ask for compensation to be paid to the victim.
  • It can also reach out to the Supreme Court or the State High Court if a direction or order is required.

Despite all the powers given to the State Human Rights Commission, it is required to take any action with respect to a case only within the year of its occurrence, or else it stays no more in its purview.

To this day, 26 states have formed the State Human Rights Commission in their respective states and are successfully working towards protecting human rights.

Achievements of State Human Rights Commission

State Human Rights Commissions (SHRCs) were established in India to protect and promote human rights in different states. Here are some of the achievements of State Human Rights Commissions in India:

  • The Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission has ordered the state government to pay a compensation of Rs. 75 lakhs to 15 Irula tribal members who were subjected to harassment by the Villupuram police.
  • SHRCs have conducted several awareness campaigns to educate people about their rights and the importance of respecting the rights of others.
  • SHRCs have provided legal aid to victims of human rights violations who cannot afford legal representation.
  • The SHRC in Assam took a suo moto case regarding the fake encounters that occurred in the city.

Limitations of SHRC

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is a statutory body established in 1993 in India. While the SHRC is important in promoting and protecting human rights in India, its functioning has several limitations. Some of these limitations include:

  • The SHRC has limited jurisdiction and can only investigate cases related to human rights violations in India.
  • The SHRC has no enforcement powers and relies on the government to implement its recommendations.
  • The SHRC does not have the authority to take action against violations of human rights committed by private parties.
  • The State Human Rights Commission has little jurisdiction over cases that concern the armed forces.

How Can SHRC Be Made More Effective?

While the SHRC has effectively raised awareness about human rights issues in the country, there is always room for improvement. For starters, the SHRC should be given more powers to investigate and punish human rights violations. This is because the Commission currently can only recommend action, but it does not have the power to enforce its recommendations.

Furthermore, the State Human Rights Commission must create more awareness about human rights in the country by organizing seminars, workshops, and training sessions.

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