The National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) is an autonomous body created in 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance. It was converted into a statutory body through the Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993. The NHRC has the responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. Human rights have been defined by the act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants.” The Chairperson and members of the commission are appointed by the President only. A committee chaired by the Prime Minister recommends the names to the president. The International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions has accorded the NHRC an ‘A status’. This shows that it is in compliance with the Paris Principles indorsed by the UN General Assembly.
The chairperson of the NHRC should be a retired Chief Justice of the country. It has to include one member who is/has been a Supreme Court judge; another member who is/has been a High Court Chief Justice; 2 persons with knowledge and experience in human rights; and the chairpersons of 4 national commissions (for women, minorities, SC and ST). States can also have human rights commissions. They are also covered under the Protection of Human Rights Act.