“The SCA received a third-party submission raising concerns about the failure of the NHRC to exercise its mandate in relation to reviewing laws regarding civil liberties and fundamental rights. This includes on the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 

The third-party submission expressed further concerns that the NHRC has not taken sufficient action in protecting the rights of marginalized groups including religious minorities. The submission also expresses concerns about the high number of complaints apparently dismissed by the NHRC at the very first stage.  

The SCA acknowledges that NHRC reports that it has considered all cases of human rights violations, including cases on HRDs. However, the SCA notes that the NHRC did not provide sufficient information with regards to how it implements its full mandate to monitor, promote, and protect the rights of everyone including religious minorities and HRDs. 

 The SCA recommends that the NHRC addresses all violations of human rights and to ensure effective follow-up so that the State makes the necessary changes to ensure that human rights are clearly protected. The SCA further recommends that the NHRC ensures that its positions on these issues are made publicly available, as this will contribute to the strengthening of the credibility and accessibility of the institution for all people in India.  

An NHRI’s mandate should be interpreted in a broad and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights, which includes all rights set out in international, regional, and domestic instruments. NHRIs are expected to promote and ensure respect for all human rights, democratic principles, and the strengthening of the rule of law in all circumstances, and without exception. Where serious violations of human rights are imminent, NHRIs are expected to conduct themselves with vigilance and independence.  

The SCA refers to Paris Principles A.1, A.2, and A.3, and to its General Observation 1.2 ‘Human rights mandate’.”