The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted to provide for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the Human Rights Courts for protection of human rights.
The recent amendments to the act include:
- NHRC and SHRC will become more compliant with Paris Principals with regard to its autonomy, independence and pluralism.
- More effective promotion of Human Rights.
- Age limit reduced to fill vacancies for appointment to the panel.
- Transparency in appointment of Chairman and members of the Commission.
- Higher incorporation of civil society.
- UTs can appeal in human rights commission of nearby states eliminating the need to come to Delhi.
- Any ex-judge of the Supreme Court can be Chairperson of the NHRC (earlier only ex-Chief Justice could be the judge).
- Three members having knowledge of Human Rights could be appointed out of which at least one has to be a woman (earlier only two members could be appointed).
- Chairpersons of National Commission of Backward Classes, National Commission of Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with disabilities introduced as members of NHRC.
- Any ex-judge of the High Court can be Chairperson of the NHRC (earlier only ex-Chief Justice could be the judge).
- Term of office reduced to 3 years (from 5 earlier) or till the age of 70 whichever earlier.
- Removes the five year limit for reappointment.
- Confers upon State Commissions, the functions relating to human rights being discharged by the Union territories, other than the Union territory of Delhi, which will be dealt with by the NHRC.