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Human Rights Bill lacks autonomy and is ‘toothless tiger’, says Congress
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Human Rights Bill lacks autonomy and is ‘toothless tiger’, says Congress

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 19: Congress on Friday said the Protection of Human Rights Bill was 'piecemeal and cosmetic', lacks autonomy and is 'toothless tiger'.

Initiating the debate on the Bill, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the proposed law lacks autonomy and is 'toothless tiger'.

He described the legislation as a 'damp squib'.

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai moved the The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing.

Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced the Bill which amends the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, on July 8.

The Act provides for a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC), as well as Human Rights Courts.

Mr Tharoor said authorities did not report to the NHRC and the SHRCs and the Bill ignores their recommendations.

He also said the Bill reduces the tenure of chairpersons to three years from five years, which will lead to inconsistency in the functioning and long-time investigations of the Commissions.

The Thiruvananthapuram lawmaker said politicians should be explicitly barred from holding positions in the Commission.

He also maintained that the Bill should provide time-bound appointments which it did not.

He alleged that 57 people committed suicide in Assam after the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise was carried out in the state and majority were Hindus, adding that this was 'flagrant violation of Human Rights'.

The Bill provides that a person who has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or a Judge of the Supreme Court will be the chairperson of the NHRC.

Under the Act, the chairperson of a SHRC is a person who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court. The Bill amends this to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court will be chairperson of a SHRC.

The Act states that the chairperson and members of the NHRC and SHRC will hold office for five years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier. The Bill reduces the term of office to three years or till the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier. (UNI)