India is a party to the International covenant on civil and political rights and the International
covenant on economic, social and cultural rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nation on 16.12.1966. Though the Human Rights embodied in the covenants were substantially protected by the Constitution there was growing concern in the country and abroad about issues relating to human rights.
Therefore, the Government reviewed the existing laws, procedures, system of administration etc., and enacted the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as an act to provide for the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission, State Human Rights Commissions in States and Human Rights Courts for better protection of Human Rights and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. Under Section 30 of the Act, the Human Rights Courts are established for providing speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights. Section 2(d) defines “Human Rights” to mean the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by Court in India.
The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the universal declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations to promote the rights and freedoms and by progressive measures.
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:-
The following Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would be relevant:-
(a) Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are
entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any
incitement to such discrimination.
(b) Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
(c) Article 11
1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty
according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not
constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor
shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was
INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS:-
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, agreed upon certain Articles and the
following would be relevant for the present day topic:-
1 Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
2 Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
3 Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment.
4 Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall been entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.
5 Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to
1 1.All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the
inherent dignity of the human person.
a. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from
convicted persons and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their
status as unconvicted persons;
b. Accused juvenile persons shall be separated from adults and brought as speedily as
possible for adjudication.
3 The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall
be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from
adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.
1. All persons shall be equal before the Courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal
charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit of law, everyone shall be entitled to a
fair and public hearing of a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The
Press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order
(ordre public) or national security in a democratic society, or where the interest of the private lives
of the parties so requires, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the Court in special
circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; but, any judgment rendered
in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile
persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until
proved guilty according to law.
3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:
(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature
and cause of the charge against him.
(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparatin of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;
(c) To be tried without undue delay;
(d) To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance
of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and
to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so
require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means
to pay for it;
(e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the
language used in Court;