Human Rights Bill cleared amid protests

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  1. The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha amid criticism from the Opposition.
  2. The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amends the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
  3. The bill provides that besides a former chief justice of India, as is the current requirement, a former Supreme Court judge can also become the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson.
  4. Similarly, a former high court judge can also become a state human rights commission chairperson besides a high court chief
  5. The bill also provides for 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 National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
  6. Further, the bill provides for a reduction in the tenure of chairpersons of national and state human rights bodies to three years from the current five years.
  7. The bill also provides for increasing the Members of the Commission from two to three of which, one shall be a woman.
  8. The bill has been criticised by Opposition on the grounds that it gives discretionary powers to the government to appoint the chairperson of the NHRC chairperson. Further, it was criticised as it reduced the tenure of chairpersons of national and state human rights bodies from five years to three years

The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted to provide for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the Human Rights Courts for protection of human rights.