The concept of Human Rights is not new to India. It is inherent part of socio,
economic and cultural life of Indian society. After independence, the framers of
constitution, have developed Human Rights concept to suit according to the needs
of Indian society.The Indian Constitution. Every individual should acknowledge
and respect the human rights guaranteed to each other as each person has dignity
and value. Human rights are a set of principles concerned with equality and
fairness. They recognize our freedom to make choices about our lives and to
develop our potential as human beings.
They are about living a life free from
fear, harassment or discrimination. These include the right to life, the right
to a fair trial, freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment,
freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights to health, education and
an adequate standard of living.
Human Rights In India
India being a democratic country one of the main objectives is the protection of
the basic rights of the people. The Constitution of India recognizes these
rights of the people and shows deep concern towards them.
On January 24, 1947, Constituent Assembly voted to form an advisory committee on
Fundamental Rights with Sardar Patel as the Chairman. Drafted list of rights
were prepared by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, B. N. Rau, K. T. Shah, Harman Singh, K. M.
Musnshi and the Congress expert committee.
Although there were few amendments
proposed, there was almost no disagreement on the principles incorporated. The
rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were almost completely
covered in the Indian Constitution either in Fundamental Rights or Directive
Principles of State Policy. Nineteen fundamental rights were covered in Motilal
Nehru Committee Report, 1928 out of which ten appear in the Fundamental Rights
whereas three of them appear as Fundamental Duties.
The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
The need for the protection of human rights issues both at national and
international level led to the enactment of an Act which specifically deals with the
protection of Human rights called 'The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993'.
The objective of the Act is to provide organizational structure for protecting
human rights. The Act provides for Human Rights Commission at national level as well
as at State level in each state and further for setup of Human Rights Courts at district
level for better protection of human rights and matters connected therewith.
Role Of Judiciary In Protecting Human Rights
The right to adequate food, housing, water and sanitation
People's Union for Civil Liberties V Union of India
|Equality and equal protection before law
|Remedies for violation of Fundamental Rights
|Right to Life and personal liberty
|Protection in respect for conviction of offences
|Right to property
|Right to freedom of conscience and to practice,
profess and propagate any religion
|Freedom of speech
|Equality in opportunity of public service
|Protection of minorities
|Right to education
In this case, court sought to ensure compliance with the policy of supplying
mid-day meals in government run primary schools
The right to health
Indian Medical Association V V.P.Shantha
It was ruled that the medical practitioner could be held liable under the Act
for deficiency in service in the case of negligence.
Article 26(1) Right to education
Miss. Mohini Jain V State of Karnatka
For the first time in independent India, "Right to education" of Indian citizens
and the state obligation to secure the right came under scrutiny at the premises
of the apex court. The court said that
"although right to education has not been granted as the fundamental right under
Part III of eth Constitution, the Articles 21, 38, 39(a),(f), 41 and 45 together
makes it clear that the framers of the constitution made it obligatory for the
State to provide education for its citizen."
Article 21 protection of life and personal liberty
Supreme Court in case of State of Maharashtra v. Madhukar
Narayan Mandlikar28 held that even a woman of easy virtue is entitled to privacy and no
one can evade her privacy.
Article 39 of the Constitution
guarantees the principle of equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
In State of Madhya Pradesh v. Pramod Bhartiya Supreme Court held that
under Article 39 the State shall direct its policy towards securing equal pay for equal
work for both men and women.
Case 1: Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action V Union of India
Supreme court recognized the "polluter pays" principle as a fundamental
objective of governmental policy to prevent and control pollution.
Case 2: M.C.Mehta V Union of India
Popularly known as Taz Trapwzium case concept of sustainable development
Case 3: M.C.Mehta V Kamal Nath
Court held that the state, as a trustee of all natural resources was under a
legal duty to protect them, and that the resources were meant for public use and
could not be transferred to private ownership.
National Commission For Minorities:
Articles 25-30 of the Constitution are interpreted for the various rights of
minorities. The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 was establish to
protect the rights of these communities It has the powers of a civil court to
conduct inquires based on complaints received Monitories in their respective
states. The State of Maharashtra enacted a State Minorities Commission Act in
National Human Rights Commission
National Human Rights Commission was established under the Protection of Human
Rights Act of 1993 to fulfill the responsibility of protecting human rights on
national level few functions of the commission were to:
- Inquire into the cases of violation of human rights.
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights
- Pending before a court with the approval of such court.
- Visit into any jail or other institution where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for making recommendations thereon to the Government;
- Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
State Commission For Protection Of Human Rights:
To conduct investigations on its own. The State Human Rights Commission has the
authority to interfere in court proceedings involving any human rights violation
claim; however, such involvement must be approved by the court beforehand. It
goes to prisons and other places where people are held. .Encourage
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that operate in human rights. It possesses
all the civil court's power and judicial power It has the authority to review
and safeguard human rights protection. It could ask the state government or
authority to pay the victim's compensation or damages.
It could advise the state government or authority to initiate criminal
It could be suggested to the state government or authority for immediate interim
It can ask the Supreme Court or a state high court for guidance, orders, or
In Gujarat Communal Riot's Case, the national commission took suo motu action on
Communal riots, took place in Gujarat in early 2002; based on media reports The
Commission observed that the State has failed to discharge its primary and
inescapable responsibility to protect the rights to life, liberty, equality and
dignity of all of those who constitute it.
Human Rights Court
Human Rights Courts State government set up these courts specifying for each
district a Court of Session to be a Human Rights Court under Section 30. State
Government appoints Special Public Prosecutor to conduct cases in human rights
court under Section 31 of the Act.
Advocating Human Rights- Legal Approach
Advocacy groups plays a vital role to prevent their abuse and to help victims of
human rights to seek justice within guaranteed political and legal structure at
Media plays a crucial role in advocacy of human rights, there are many incidents
which have given consideration through the help of media's exposure, we can take
the example of recent incident which went viral across the social media, where
two women belonging to backward class were stripped naked, publicly paraded and
allegedly gang raped in Manipur, footage of the assault prompted across the
India and was condemned by the PM Narendra Modi , and the Supreme Court. Till 70
days until the video went viral and pressure was put upon the authorities to act
no action was taken against the culprit.
Media being a powerful medium could give publicity to violations of human
rights. Even the constitution adopts the freedom of speech and expression as
fundamental rights, media plays an enormous role in a number of issues in
guiding the state and as well as public in the realization of human rights. A
free and fair media is not only the watchdog to prevent human rights violation
but also the ideal for the promotion of human rights.
Role of advocates:
Legal protection plays a vital role in the promotion and protection of human
rights, as due to the close connection with law, advocates or legal profession
develops the principles and application in the preservation of human rights.
Number of advocates through PIL brought suits which became responsible for the
expansion of the concept of life and liberty under Article 21 of The Indian
Constitution. The litigation by lawyer for the development of rights of women,
recently even the bill is been passed in the parliament for the reservation of
seats for women. Equal pay for equal work, child welfare, speedy justice,
preventation of domestic violence, torture in prison etc.
Legal Aid is another important flatform to realise and promote human rights.
The government of India enacted the Act of legal services authorities act with
an aim uniformly to implement the justice dispensation system under sec 39(A)
which impose an obligation on the state that the operation of the legal system
promotes justice on basis of equal opportunity, providing free legal aid for
ensuring justice is not denied to any citizen due to economic or other
disabilities. The same is protected under Art 14 and 22(1) of the Fundamental
Rights that say justice to be served equally to all.
Role of Corporate sector:
There are certain principles followed by the corporate sector ensuring the
protection of human rights they are:
- In the promotion and dissemination of human rights, education is being the potential tool to metamorphose any society, individual or institution
- In tune with the ideology of the constitution, the government has taken a number of steps to introduce value based human rights education
- The impartation of human rights education certainly empowers people to evolve solutions to a number of issues that are plaguing the society across the world.
- The UN considering the role of human rights advocacy has imparted compulsory human rights education in at different levels.
- Human rights education is the lifelong process it needs to be imparted continuously.
- The effective abolition of child labor
- Make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
- Paid holidays for pregnant women
- The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor
- Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
- Should promote and respect human rights.
- A redressal forum should be set up for men and women.
Business is an integral part of society needs to observe all the human rights
without deviations. it should impart the principles of human rights for the
health promotion of business to prevent any kind of abuse of rights in corporate
sector and in society
Role Of NGO:
There are several instances where NGOs were the first to report the violation of
human rights to the concerned authorities. The National Human Rights Commission
has taken action on several complaints, mainly reports by local NGOs from
different parts of the country. NGOs are also having effective role in enforcing
the policies of the Government.
The exceptional role of NGOs in furthering human rights is given recognition in the
Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 not only this Act alone but also Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action 1993 also recognized the role of NGOs in
Promotion of human rights. This declaration insisted upon the cooperation of nations
With the NGOs in creating favorable conditions for enjoyment of human rights
The role of advocacy in human rights promotes the human rights, they work not
only as advocacy groups but also cautions agents to suggest remedial mechanism
to state and international organizations for the betterment of future policies
of human rights.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Vaishnavi Shekhar Pawar
Authentication No: SP363541734874-26-0923