Human Rights Commission has only recommendation powers, cannot grant compensation

Chhattisgarh High Court: In a recent order given by the Bench of Sanjay K. Agrawal J., it was held that the Human Rights Commission can only make a recommendation, and that it has no jurisdiction to pass an order directing payment of compensation.

The Commission in an earlier order had directed the petitioner to pay an amount of Rs 6,22,000 to the respondent as compensation towards illegal installation of six electricity polls and electricity line in an agricultural field. Even though Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 talks about the entitled compensation, Section 19(a) of the Act explicitly mentions that the Commission has no authority to grant compensation and can only recommend the same.

It was also observed by the Supreme Court in the matter of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. v. Century Textiles and Industries Ltd.(2017) 5 SCC 143 that the power to award compensation is with the District Magistrate, which furthermore elucidated on the jurisdiction of HRC. Much reliance was given to recent Supreme Court judgments like Indian Handcrafts Emporium v. Union of India, (2003) 7 SCC 589; N.C. Dhoundial v. Union of India, (2004) 2 SCC 579 and Rajesh Das v. Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission, 2010 SCC OnLine Mad 4543:   2010 (5) CTC 589 which ultimately concluded that HRC is a recommendatory body and it has no jurisdiction to pass an order directing payment of compensation and hence the previous order was just a recommendation and not an order. [Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board v. Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission, 2017 SCC OnLine Chh 1415, decided 7.11.2017]

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