The constitution of India 1950 was inspired by the aspiration goals set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
The preamble to the Constitution of India 1950 underlines the need to secure to all citizens justice,
liberty, equality and also dignity of the individual as important values. A number of civil and political rights including the right
to equality, freedom of speech, right to life and personal liberty, prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour, freedom
of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion have been enshrined in the provisions of the Constitution of
India dealing with fundamental rights. In case of infringement of any fundamental right, the right to move the Supreme Court for issuing
appropriate directions or orders or writs is also a fundamental right.
Number of economic, social and cultural rights like the right to education, health and work have been provided under the provisions
of the constitution of India that relate to the Directive Principles of State Policy. The principles laid down in the Directive
Principles of State Policy are fundamental in the governance of the country. The legislature is expected to keep in view these
principles while making laws because the objective of the directive principles is to embody the concept of a welfare state.
The Parliament has enacted various legislations which seek to protect and promote the rights of the vulnerable sections of
the society like the disabled, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, women and children. In so far as women are concerned,
the legislations cover issues such as dowry harassment, immoral traffic, prevention of sati and misuse of prenatal diagnostics to
cause female foeticide. The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, provides for the constitution of
i) National Human Rights Commission
(ii) State Human Rights Commissions
(iii) Human Rights Courts.
In pursuance of Section 21 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (10 of 1994) (here-in-after referred to as the 'Act') Government of Orissa in Home Department Notification No. 5144 dated 27.8.2000 constituted the Orissa Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon and to perform the functions assigned to a State Commission under chapter - V of the Act. The Notification also specified that the Headquarters of the Orissa Human Rights Commission shall be at Bhubaneswar. In Government of Orissa, Law Department notification No. 8438 dated 24.6.2003 Sri Justice D.P. Mohapatra, former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and retired Judge of the Supreme Count of India was appointed as the Chairperson of the Commission. In Law Department notification No.8441 dated 24.6.2003, Sri S.M. Patnaik, LA.S. (Retd.), former Chief Secretary to Government of Orissa was appointed as Member of the Commission. Sri Justice Mohapatra and Sri Patnaik assumed office as the Hon'ble Chairperson and Hon'ble Member of the Commission respectively on the 11th July, 2003 and with effect from that date the Orissa Human Rights Commission became functional.