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Recommendations Of State Human Right Commission Are Legally Enforceable, Binding On Govt/Authorities: Madras High Court

A Full Bench of Madras High Court has held that the recommendation of State Human Rights Commission under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 are binding on the Government or Authority.

By: Mahima Jain, School of Law, DAVV, Indore.

The Bench has ruled that decisions taken by the Human Rights Commission under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 are binding on the government and that the State does not have any discretion to avoid its implementation in the case of Abdul Sathar versus The Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department and others.

A Bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan, V Parthiban, and M Sundar rendered the decision following a reference made by a Division Bench in 2017 upon noticing divergent views in the matter.

“The recommendation of the Human Rights Commission under Section 18 is an adjudicatory order which is legally and immediately enforceable. If the concerned Government or authority fails to implement the recommendation of the Commission within the time stipulated under Section 18(e) of the Act, the Commission can approach the Constitutional Court under Section 18(b) of the Act for enforcement by seeking issuance of appropriate Writ/order/direction,” the Court ruled.

Pertinently, Section 18 of the Human Rights Act deals with the steps a Human Rights Commission may take upon the completion of an inquiry into an alleged violation of human rights.

If the Commission finds that there has been a violation of human rights by a public servant, it can recommend that the concerned government authority carry out any of the following measures:

  • to pay compensation or damages to the complainant or victim or the family of the complainant or victim;
  • to initiate proceedings for prosecution or such other suitable action against the concerned person or persons;
  • to take such further action as the commission may think fit.

Section 18 (b) adds that the Commission may approach the Supreme Court or the High Court for such directions, orders, or writs as that Court may deem necessary.

The High Court also held that since the recommendation of the H.R.Commission is held to be binding, an officer/employee concerned can resort to appropriate legal remedy at any stage qua complaint or inquiry by the Commission but only on substantial legal grounds.

The Madras High Court observed that the “recommendation of the Human Rights Commission under Section 18 is an adjudicatory order which is legally and immediately enforceable,” 

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