Justice H.L. Dattu completed his tenure as the seventh Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India on 2-12-2020. He had joined the Commission on the 29-02-2016 after retiring as the Chief Justice of India on the 2-12-2015.
During his tenure, the Commission intervened in a number of cases of human rights violations, which brought succour to the victims of human rights violations. The Commission also brought down the number of cases, which were taking long to dispose of. Total 3,91,937 complaints of human rights violations were registered during his tenure; 4,20,913 cases, including some old and new cases, were disposed of. Rs 84,31,94,593/- were paid in 268 cases as monetary relief by the public authorities as per the recommendations of the Commission.
The Commission, in his leadership, retained its “A” Status of Accreditation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, GANHRI. The Asia Pacific Forum, APF in acknowledgement of the wide range of experience and expertise of the NHRC, India, has signed an AMU to share it with several NHRCs and like entities in the world. He also represented the NHRC as a member in the GANHRI Bureau and the Governance Committee of the APF.
The dialogue with the State Human Rights Commissions and other National Commissions gained strength for mutual cooperation on the matters of human rights. The State Governments responded to the NHRC’s requests by designating human rights courts at district levels.
The Commission expanded its outreach by linking its online complaints filing system with over 3 lakh Common Service Centres spread across the country. Justice Dattu also launched HRCNet portal to facilitate quick online communication between the NHRC and SHRCs to cut short the possibility of duplication of complaints and promote timely processing of complaints received online.
During his tenure, the Commission also launched its Twitter Handle in 2020, which is a short span, saw a number of followers. He also launched the NHRC’s much popular annual short film competition on human rights in 2015. He also promoted building awareness about human rights through street theater and launched the initiative as a mark of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the NHRC in 2018. The first ever documentary on the journey of the Commission was also made during his tenure.
Justice Dattu paid a lot of attention to the media reports on the issues of human rights violations and took prompt action by taking suo-motu cognizance of such incidents. The number of open hearings and camp sittings of the Commission to hear on spot the complaints of rights violations of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people and pending cases in various states were increased.
During Covid-19 lock down, in addition to taking suo-motu cognizance of media reports on the plight of people including the migrant labourers, the NHRC also intervened in the suo motu writ of the Supreme Court in the matter of migrant labourers. He constituted and expert group to come out with the NHRC Covid-19 Advisories. He also strengthened the mechanism of the Commission to hear the human rights violations of the Human Rights Defenders. During his tenure, the Core Group mechanism of the Commission gained further impetus along with the appointments of Special Monitors and Special Rapporteurs to act as the eyes and ears of the Commission.
National Human Rights Commission
[Press Release dt. 02-12-2020]