OHRC Act & Regulations

PROVISIONS OF OHRC (PROCEDURE) REGULATIONS, 2003

Sub-Section (2) of the Section 10 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, provides that "the Commission shall regulate its own procedure". Accordingly, the Commission framed a set of Regulations called "Orissa Human Rights Commission (Procedure) Regulations, 2003" (herein after referred to as the 'Regulations') to regulate the procedure to be followed by the Commission in making enquiries suo-motu or on petitions presented to it and matters incidental thereto.
In formulating the Regulations, the Commission had the benefit of consulting the Regulations framed by the National Human Rights Commission and certain State Commissions. Regulations framed and approved by the Commission were published in an extraordinary issue of the Orissa Gazette dated 25th September, 2003 and came into force with effect from the 15th September, 2003.
The Commission also issued a press-note briefly outlining the procedure for filing complaints before the Commission for information of general public. In accordance with the provisions of the Regulations, the Commission holds its office on all working days of the State Government. Although under the Regulations the Commission is ordinarily required to hold its sittings during the period from 1st to 7th and 14th to 21st of every month, except Saturdays, in view of the increasing workload, the Commission has been holding its sitting on all working days except Saturdays.
A victim of human rights violation or any other person acting on his behalf may file a complaint. The Regulations provides that a complaint shall ordinarily be written in English. Hindi or Oriya but if the complainant does not know any of these languages, he or she may submit the complaint in any other language included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. No fee is required to be paid for filing a complaint. In the Regulations, the procedural requirements for filing complaints have been consciously kept simple. The complainants are, however, required to state particulars, which are essential for a meaningful enquiry such as gist of the grievance, date of occurrence, names and where relevant, designation of persons complained against. The complainants are not required to support their complaint by an affidavit at the stage of filing complaint but may be called upon to do so during the enquiry. Although Regulation 9 (4) (iii) of the Regulations provides that a complainant shall be required to submit a certificate to the effect that the subject matter of the complaint or the grievance is not subjudice before any Court or Tribunal or is not pending before a Commission including the National Human Rights Commission and is not covered by a judicial verdict or decision of any Commission. The Commission has decided not to reject any complaint on account of failure to comply with these requirements in the initial stage although these aspects are looked into during the enquiry. A complaint which does not comply with one or more requirements of Regulation 9 is liable to be rejected but where the Commission is satisfied that the complaint prima facie reveals violation of human rights, taking a liberal view the Commission has been permitting the complainant to rectify the defects and to submit a proper petition afresh within such time as may be allowed.
Following the provisions of the Act, the corresponding provisions in the National Human Rights Commission (Procedure) Regulations, 1994, and Regulations framed by certain other State Commission, the Regulation 10 of the Regulations enumerates the categories of complaints which are not entertainable by the Commission and which are liable to be dismissed in limini.
These include:
i. Complaints which are illegible, anonymous or pseudonymous.
ii. Complaints which are vague, trivial or frivolous.
iii. Complaints which do not prima facie disclose specific violation of human rights.
iv. Complaints which are barred under Section 36 (1) of the Act.
v. Complaints which are barred under Section 36 (2) of the Act.
vi. Complaints relating to civil disputes such as property rights, contractual obligations and the like.
vii. Complaints relating to deficiency in services covered by the provisions of Consumers Protection Act, 1986 (68 of 1986).
viii. Complaints relating to service matters or labour or industrial disputes or to claims and grievances arising out of conditions of service or service rules or labour laws and the like.
ix. Complaints relating to any matter which is sub-judice before a Court or Tribunal or is covered by a judicial verdict.
x. Complaints relating to matters being enquired into by the National Human Rights Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force and matters covered by decision of the National human rights Commission or any such Commission.
xi. Complaints addressed to any other authority, a copy of which is received in the Commission.
xii. Complaints relating to events or incidents which did not occur within the geographical limit of the State of Orissa.
xiii. Complaints relating to matters outside the purview of the Commission on any other ground.
Every complaint received by the Commission whether prima facie entertainable or not is placed before the Commission for orders regarding entertainability of the complaint and a copy of the order passed by the Commission is supplied to the complainant.