The Centre has told the Supreme Court that Delhi cannot have a State Human Rights Commission as it is a Union Territory and not a State. It says, “Delhi has to continue without an SHRC until Parliament amends the law.”
The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 provides for the creation of not only the National Human Rights Commission but also a State Human Rights Commission at the state level.
A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of subjects mentioned in the State List (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. However, if any such case is already being inquired into by the National Human Rights Commission or any other Statutory Commission, then the State Human Rights Commission does not inquire into that case.
- The State Human Rights Commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairperson and two members.
- The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court and members should be a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years of experience as District Judge and a person having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
- The chairperson and members are appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee consisting of the chief minister as its head, the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the state home minister and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
- In the case of a state having Legislative Council, the chairman of the Council and the leader of the opposition in the Council would also be the members of the committee.
- A sitting judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge can be appointed only after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state.
- The chairperson and members hold office for a term of five years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- After their tenure, the chairperson and members are not eligible for further employment under a state government or the Central government.
Appointment and Removal:
- Although the chairperson and members of a State Human Rights Commission are appointed by the governor, they can be removed only by the President (and not by the governor).
- The President can remove them on the same grounds and in the same manner as he can remove the chairperson or a member of the National Human Rights Commission.