State Human Rights Commission
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State Human Rights Commission – Indian Polity Notes

Following the common theme in India’s federal polity wherein there is agencies provided at two levels, the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 provides for State Human Rights Commission, which shall act as watchdog of Human Rights at state level. Under this act, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is empowered to take up cases of human rights violation based on subjects mentioned in State List and Concurrent List of Schedule-VII of the constitution.


State Human Rights Commission is a multi-member body. It shall have chairperson and two other members.


For Chairperson: He/She shall be retired Chief Justice of High Court or High Court Judge.

For Members: 

  • Serving or retired judge of High Court or District Judge with minimum experience of 7 years.
  • A person having special knowledge or experience in field of human rights


Members of State Human Rights Commission are appointed by the Governor on recommendation of committee comprising:

  • Chief Minister
  • Home Minister 
  • Speaker of Legislative Assembly.
  • Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly
  • If state has legislative council then Chairman of Legislative Council & Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council are included.


Members & Chairperson can hold office for 3 years or till age of 70 years whichever is earlier.

They are eligible for reappointment but duration of reappointment will be specified by the Government.


Though members and chairpersons of state human rights commission are appointed by the Governor they can only be removed from the office by the President.

The President can remove chairperson or members, if he/she is:

  • Adjudged insolvent
  • Accepted paid employment outside duties of office.
  • Unfit to continue.
  • Has unsound mind.
  • Convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.

The President can remove them on grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. Such grounds needs to be proved before supreme court. If the supreme court upholds the grounds, the members stand removed.

The office can be vacated when resignation letter is addressed to the President or upon death of members.

Powers & Functions:

  • To inquirer into violation of human rights or negligence in prevention of such acts by a public servant either suo-moto or based on complaint by victim.
  • Intervene into court proceedings in matters relating to human rights with permission of court
  • Visit any jail or any institution where persons are detained to study their living conditions and make recommendations but such facilities shall be under state government control.
  • Review constitutional or legal provisions available for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
  • Undertake and promote research in domain of human rights.
  • Encourage efforts by multiple stake holders in the field of human rights.


  • Selection Committee: Committee constituted for selection is dominated by Ruling Party.
  • Selection process is 
  • Police officers are sent by State Police Department to the commission on deputation, the commission doesn’t have autonomy in selecting officials. 
  • Conflict of interest of such officers on deputation impedes the work by commission.
  • State Human Rights Commission has only recommendary powers. There were several instances wherein it’s recommendations were not implemented or partially implemented. 

Way Forward:

There need of complete revamp of the SHRC, as per changing times. Its recommendations shall be made enforceable. Further there need to expand the membership of commission to give place to members of civil society, NGOs and civil servants.

To reduce the commissions dependence of police officer sent on deputation, there is need to provide for dedicated cadre of officers of its own who will have required expertise in the matters of human rights.

Other thing is, there is need to holistically review all existing laws in India, and wherever needed changes shall be made either on recommendations based on NCRWC, Law Commission or SHRC/NHRC to make sure these legislations are in tandem with realities of present era with adequate provisions for protection of human rights.

To complete UPSC Polity Notes, Click Here

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