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Powers Relating to Inquiries

Inquiry into Complaints

Functions of the Commission
Language of the Complaint
Information Relating to Fees and Engagement of a Lawyer etc
Kind of Complaints not Entertainable by the Commission
Investigation Wing


Powers Relating to Inquiries:

The State Commission, while enquiring into the complaints under the Protection of Human Rights Act, have all the powers of Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely,

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;

(b) discovery and production of any document;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) requisition any public record or copy thereof from any Court or Office;

(e) issuing Commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;

(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

The Commission has power to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the enquiry and any person so required shall be deemed to be legally bound to furnish such information within the meaning of Sections 176 and 177 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Commission or any other Officer not below the rank of a gazetted Officer, especially authorized in this behalf by the Commission, may enter any building or place where the Commission has reason to believe that document relating to the subject matter of the enquiry may be found an may seize such document or take extracts or copies therefrom subject to the provisions of Section 100 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in so far as it may be applicable.

Every proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of Sections 193 and 228 and for purposes of Section 196 of the Indian Penal Code and the Commission shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of Section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Inquiry into Complaints:

The Commission while inquiring into the complaints of violation of human rights may call for information or report from the State Government or any other authority or organization subordinate thereto. The Commission, should it consider if necessary, may suo motu initiate an enquiry. The Commission may take any of the following steps upon the completion of an inquiry held under the Act, namely,

(i) where the inquiry discloses the commission of violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of violation of human rights, by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned Government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as the Commission may deem fit against the concerned person or persons;

(ii) approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;

(iii) recommend to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary;

(iv) subject to the provisions of Clause (5) provide a copy of the inquiry report to the petitioner or his representative;

(v) the Commission shall send a copy of its inquiry report together with its recommendations to the State Government or authority and the concerned Government or authority shall, within a period of one month, or such further time as the Commission may allow forward its comments on the report, including the action taken or proposed to be taken thereon, to the Commission;

(vi) the Commission shall publish its inquiry report together with the comments of the concerned Government or authority, if any, and the action take or proposed to be taken by the concerned Government or authority on the recommendations of the Commission.

Functions of the Commission:

Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 lays down the scope and the range of the functions assigned to the State Commission. The State Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely,

(a) inquire, suo motu or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf, into complaint of –

     (i) violation of human rights or abetment thereof or

     (ii) negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant;

(b) intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation or human rights pending before a Court with the approval of such Court;

(c) visit, under intimation to the State Government, any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection to study the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations thereon;

(d) review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation;

(e) review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures;

(f) undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;

(g) spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means;

(h) encourage the efforts of non-governmental organizations and institutions working in the field of human rights;

(i) such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.

Language of the Complaint:

They may be in Bengali, English or in any language included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. The complaints are expected to be self contained. No fee is charged on complaints. The Commission may ask for further information and affidavits to be filed in support of allegations whenever considered necessary. The Commission accepts telegraphic complaints and complaints conveyed through FAX.


Information Relating to Fees and Engagement of a Lawyer etc:

(I) A complainant does not have to pay any fees i.e. stamp, court fee or any other charges;

(ii) If complainant desires, he may engage a lawyer to represent his case.

(iii) A complainant may write his complaint on a piece of paper or post card and submit the same to the Commission.


Kind of Complaints not Entertainable by the Commission:

Ordinarily, complaints of the following nature are not entertained by the Commission:

(a) in regard to events which happened more than one year before the making of the complaints;

(b) with regard to matters which are sub-judice or pending before any other Commission,

(c) which are vague, anonymous or pseudonymous;

(d) which are of frivolous nature

(e) which pertain to service matter,

(f) personal disputes e.g.

    1. Matrimonial dispute.
    2. Dispute relating to property.
    3. Dispute between Landlords & Tenants etc.




Investigation Wing :

The Commission has its own investigating staff for investigation into complaints of human rights violations. Under the Act, it is open to the Commission to utilize the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Central Government or State Government.

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