Lok Sabha clears Bill on NHRC constitution

Piecemeal and cosmetic, says Shashi Tharoor

July 19, 2019 10:21 pm | Updated 10:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI, 16/07/2019: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor at Parliament during Budget Session, in New Delhi on July 16, 2019. 
Photo: Sandeep Saxena

NEW DELHI, 16/07/2019: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor at Parliament during Budget Session, in New Delhi on July 16, 2019. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill 2019 by voice vote.

The Bill expedites the process of appointment of chairperson and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and provides for, among others, including the chairpersons of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities as members of the NHRC.

In his reply in the House, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the government was sensitive to the rights of humanity and was committed to strengthening the Human Rights Commission.

Promises transparency

“With this Bill every section of society has now received representation. We are a government that stands for the human rights of victims not of terrorists and perpetrators of sexual crime. The amendment will ensure transparency in the appointment of chairman and members of the commission and will help fill all the vacancies,” he said.

The debate witnessed sharp exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury benches.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, initiating the debate, pointed out several gaps in the Bill and asked the government to bring a fresh one. He claimed that the Bill was “piecemeal and cosmetic”.

Mr. Tharoor alleged that human rights were being violated in the detention tribunals in Assam over the National Register of Citizens and claimed that as many as 57 people committed suicide after failing to produce citizenship documents.

He said it was ironic that the government had brought the Bill at a time when human rights activists like Indira Jaising and Anand Grover were being “stifled,” activist Sudha Bharadwaj was being targeted and environment activists were being deplaned while wilful defaulters were allowed to flee the country.

BJP MP and former Mumbai Police commissioner Satya Pal Singh alleged that rights activists often targeted the police and government institutions and take foreign funding. “They never speak against terrorists, they will never speak against Naxals,” he said.

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