“Section 6 (d) of the NHRC Act provides the NHRC with the power to visit prisons, police cells, and other places of detention to ascertain conditions and make recommendations to appropriate authorities. The Act is silent on whether the NHRC can conduct unannounced visits. The NHRC reports that it conducts unannounced places of deprivation of liberty in practice. 

The SCA is of the view that all NHRIs should be legislatively mandated with specific functions to both promote and protect human rights. In particular, the mandate should authorize unannounced and free access to inspect and examine any public premises, documents, equipment, and assets without prior written notice. 

The SCA recommends that the NHRC advocate for amendments to its enabling law to explicitly provide for the power to conduct unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty without prior written notice. 

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