Q.1. How are human rights defined in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993?

ANS : In terms of Section 2(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (hereafter referred to as 'The Act'), "human rights" means rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed under the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. "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.

Q.2. When did the Jharkhand state human right commission is been formed?

ANS : In the state of Jharkhand, the state human rights Commission was constituted vide Notification No. 11/HRC-20/2009-7105 dated 29.06.2010 of Department of Home, Government of Jharkhand, and Ranchi. It came into existence on 19.01.2011 vide notification no.195 on 15.01.2011. When Shri Justice Narayan Roy a former Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Courts was appointed as Chairperson and Shri Justice Lakshman Uraon, a former Judge of the Jharkhand High Court was appointed as Member with effect from the date they assume charge of the office i.e. 19.01.2011.

Q.3. Is the Commission Autonomous?

ANS : Yes, the autonomy of the Commission derives, the method of appointment of its Chairperson and Members, their fixity of tenure, and statutory guarantees thereto, the status they have been accorded and the manner in which the staff responsible to the Commission - including its investigative agency - are appointed and conduct themselves. The financial autonomy of the Commission is spelt out in Section 33 of the Act. The Chairperson and Members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor on the basis of recommendations of a Committee comprising the Chief Minister as the Chairperson, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Chairman of the Legislative Council, Home Minister and Leaders of the opposition in two Houses.

Q.4. Does the Commission have its own investigation team?

ANS : Yes, the Commission has its own investigating staff headed by an Inspector General of Police for investigation into complaints of human rights violations. Under the Act, it is open to the Commission to utilize the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Central Govt. or any State Government. The Commission may associate Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the investigation work.

Q.5. What procedure is prescribed under the Act with respect to armed forces?

ANS : The State Commission cannot entertain any complaint with respect to armed forces. The National Human Right Commission (N.H.R.C.) alone can entertain them under Section 19 of the Act.

Q.6. What functions have been assigned to the Commission under the Act? 
ANS : The Commission shall, perform all or any of the following functions, namely :
  • Inquire, on its own initiative or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf, into complaint of violation of human rights or abetment or negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant;
  • Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court;
  • 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 condition of the inmates and make recommendations thereon;
  • Review the safeguards 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;
  • Review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
  • Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation;
  • Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;
  • 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;
  • Encourage the efforts of Non-Governmental Organizations and institutions working in the field of human rights;
  • Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.
Q.7. What powers have been vested with the Commission relating to inquiries?
ANS : While inquiring into complaints under the Act, the Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular the following, namely :
  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
  • Discovery and production of any document;
  • Receiving evidence on affidavits;
  • Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
  • Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
  • Any other matter which may be prescribed.
Q. 8.How does the Commission inquire into complaints?

ANS : The Commission while inquiring into complaints of violations of human rights may call for information or report from the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority or organization subordinate thereto within such time as may be specified by it; provided that 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; on the other hand, 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.

Q.9. Can the complaint be in any language?

ANS : They may ordinarily be filled in Hindi or in English.The complaints are expected to be self-contained. No fee is charged on complaints. The Commission may ask for further information and affidavits to be filed in support of allegations whenever considered necessary. The Commission may also accept telephonic complaints and Online complaints conveyed through FAX or by e-mail also.

Q.10. What kind of complaints are not entertained by the Commission?
ANS : Ordinarily, complaints of the following nature are not entertained by the Commission :
  • Events which happened more than one year before the making of the complaints;
  • With regard to matters which are sub-judice;
  • Which are vague, anonymous or pseudonymous;
  • Which are of frivolous nature;
  • Which pertain to service matters;
  • Which pertain to property dispute;
Q.11. What steps are open to the Commission after inquiry?
ANS : The followings steps are given as below :
  • The Commission may take any of the following steps upon the completion of an inquiry:
  • Where the inquiry discloses the commission of violation of human right or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned govt. or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons;
  • Approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
  • Recommend to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary.
Q.12. What is the responsibility of the Authority/State/Central Govt. to which reports / recommendation have been sending by the Commission?

ANS : The authority/State Government/Central Government has to indicate its comments/action taken on the report/recommendations of the Commission within a period of one month in respect of general complaints and within three months in respect of complaints relating to armed forces.

Q.13. What are the kinds of issues on which complaints have been received?
ANS : Since its inception, the Commission has handled a variety of types of complaints. The major types of complaints are :
  • In respect of Police Administration - failure in taking action, unlawful detention, false implication, custodial violence, illegal arrest and other police excesses.
  • Custodial deaths.
  • Harassment of prisoners; jail conditions.
  • Atrocities on SCs and STs.
  • Child labor and trafficking.
  • Dowry death or its attempt; dowry demand.
  • Abduction, rape and murder.
  • Sexual harassment and indignity to women, exploitation of women.
  • Harassment for taking recourse to Right to Information Act.
Many other complaints which cannot be categorized have also been taken up.
Q.14. What has been focus of the Commission's Working?

ANS : Inquiring into complaints is one of the major activities of the Commission. In several instances individual complaints have led the Commission to the generic issues involved in violation of rights, and enabled it to move the concerned authorities for systemic improvements. However, the Commission also actively seeks out issues in human rights which are of significance, either suo-motu, or when brought to its notice by the civil society, the media, concerned citizens, or expert advisers. Its focus is to strengthen the extension of human rights to all sections of society, in particular, the vulnerable groups. The Commission's purview covers the entire range of civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Areas facing terrorism and insurgency, custodial death, rape and torture, reform of the police, prisons, and other institutions such as juvenile homes, mental hospitals and shelters for women have been given special attention. The Commission has urged the provision of primary health facilities to ensure maternal and child welfare essential to a life with dignity, basic needs such as potable drinking water, food and nutrition, and highlighted fundamental questions of equity and justice to the less privileged, namely the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the prevention of atrocities perpetrated against them. Rights of the disabled, access to public services, displacement of populations and especially of tribals by mega projects, food scarcity and allegation of death by starvation, rights of the child, rights of women subjected to violence, sexual harassment and discrimination, and rights of minorities, have been the focus of the Commission's action on numerous occasions. The Commission has taken up the issue harassment meted out for filing application under the RTI Act.

Q.15. What are its major initiatives?
  • Civil Liberties.
  • Guidelines to check misuse of the power of arrest by the police.
  • Setting up of Human Rights Cells in the State/City Police Headquarters.
  • Steps to check custodial deaths, rape and torture.
  • Visit to Jails, mental hospitals and similar other institutions.
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • Elimination of bonded labor and child labor.
  • Issues concerning Right to Food.
  • Human Rights of persons affected by HIV/AIDS.
  • Public Health as a human rights issue.
  • Rights of the vulnerable groups.
  • Rights of women and children, minorities, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • Promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled.
  • Elimination of manual scavenging.
  • Consultation with NGOs and experts/specialists on Human Rights Issues.
Q.16. What is the composition of the Commission?
  • Hon'ble Shri Justice Narayan Roy (Chairperson)
  • Hon'ble Justice Laxman Uraon(Member)
  • Dr. Rabindra Singh, J.A.S. (Secretary-cum-Chief Executive Officer)
Q.17. Where is the Commission located and what are its contact numbers?
Jharkhand State Human Rights Commission
State Pollution Bhawan
T.A. Division, Golchakkar, Dhurwa
Phone: 0651-2401181
E-mail: chairperson@jshrc.in
Website: www.jshrc.in