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Law

Human Rights

Of all the rights, to which every human being is entitled, the human right is more precious and inherent. The rights to life, right to liberty, right to equality and right to dignity are the basic ingredients to constitute human rights. Due to the humiliating treatment meted out to Chanakya, he was instrumental in overthrowing the Nanda dynasty and the result was that the Mauryan dynasty was enthroned. The humiliating and undignified treatment meted out to Chanakya was so profound as to overthrow a dynasty and it was the rout cause for a political change in ancient India. The history of human rights can be traced to the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791). However the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 has opened a new chapter in the history of human rights. The genocide committed by the Nazis against the Jews and other ethnic groups was strongly condemned by the world community. The Nuremberg trial conducted against the military official of Nazi troops was the first universal verdict against the violations of human rights. Therefore necessity was felt to evolve a concept of protection of human rights by the world body and as such the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Causing inhuman, undignified, unequal treatment and torture and harassment to the weaker sections by the stronger are the classical examples for the violation of human rights. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Article 3 says: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 7 says: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.>

Article 9 says: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

The member states of the United Nations have undertaken to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their relationship with the citizens. In India the constitution has its own provisions to protect the violation of human rights in Articles 14,19,20,21,22(5) and 32. However it cannot be said these Articles have come to rescue of a common man when he is subjected to inhuman and undignified treatment. The Supreme Court of India by its powers of Interpretation, have laid down many guidelines and interpreted in such way to favour and to protect the human rights from being violated by the instrumentalities of the government. The Menaka Gandhi case of 1978 was the first step towards protection of human rights after a long gap from A.K. Gopalan case ((1950) SCR88) for which credit must go to the great judge of the Supreme Court, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. So also the judgments rendered by this wise Judge in Hussainara Khartoon case, Katri case, and Sunil Batra case are the best examples to quote. It is not an exaggeration to say that during the period of this wise judge, a new era was commenced in the history of human rights. This wise judge adopted a humanizing approach towards the interpretation the law of human rights.

Apart from Constitutional safeguards, The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted with view to protect the rights and the Act provides Human Rights Commission at the national level and state level. However, it cannot be said that these bodies are given the fullest power in protecting the human rights since these bodies have no powers to punish the guilty but enjoys the powers to recommend to authorities concern to initiate necessary action against the guilty. 

What are the violations of Human Rights?

  •  Degrading an individual(s)
  •  Discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed, religion, color, birthplace and nationality.
  •  Torture and harassment.
  •  Custodial violence or death.
  • Legal action would lie against the instrumentalities of the government if any of the above violations were committed. Since separate legal provisions are available for punishments against the violations of human rights by the individuals, no action would lie against the individuals before the National Human Rights Commission or the State Human Rights Commission. However if it is found that the individuals are instrumental behind the authorities concerned in the commission of violation of human rights, they can also be proceeded with. 
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