The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-
- Inquire on a petition presented to it by a victim or any person on his behalf or on a direction or order of any court into complaint of:
- Violation of human rights.
- Negligence in the prevention of such violation, by a public servant.
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court with the approval of such court.
- Visit any jail or other institution under the control of a State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates there and make recommendations to the Government.
- Review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
- Review the factors that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation.
- Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights.
- Spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means.
- Encourage the efforts of non-governmental organisations and institutions working in the field of human rights.
- Any other functions as it may consider necessary for the protection of human rights.
Working of the Commission
The Central Government shall make available to the Commission an officer of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India who shall be the Secretary-General of the Commission; and police and investigative staff under an officer not below the rank of a Director General of Police; and other officers and staff as may be necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the Commission.
The Commission may appoint other administrative, technical and scientific staff as it may consider necessary. The salaries, allowances and conditions of service of the officers and other staff appointed shall be such as may be prescribed.
No act or proceedings of the Commission shall be questioned or shall be invalidated merely on the ground of existence of any vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Commission.
The Commission shall meet whenever the Chairperson may think fit, and the rules made by the Commission shall have the power to lay down by regulations its own procedure.
All orders and decisions of the Commission shall be authenticated by the Secretary-General or any other officer of the Commission duly authorised by the Chairperson in this behalf.
Powers relating to inquiries
The Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them.
- Discovery and production of any document.
- Receiving evidence on affidavits.
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.
- Any other matter which may be prescribed.
The Commission shall have power to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the inquiry and any person so required shall be deemed.
Every complaint transferred shall be dealt with and disposed of by the State Commission as if it were a complaint initially filed before it.