How to file a complaint at a State Human Rights Commission?


Human Rights: Protecting Equality, Liberty, and Dignity

Human rights are intrinsic to the Constitution of India and are safeguarded by the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993. Derived from the principles of “Natural Law Jurisprudence,” which encompasses the law of conscience or divine law, human rights have been recognized through various historical declarations such as the Magna Carta 1215, the American and French Bill of Rights, and the UN Charter, as well as the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.

Understanding Human Rights

As per section 2(1)(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, “Human Rights” refer to the rights concerning life, liberty, equality, and the individual’s dignity, as guaranteed by the Constitution or enshrined in international covenants, which are enforceable by Indian courts. If any of these rights are violated, individuals have the option to file complaints with either the State or National Human Rights Commission.

Instances of Human Rights Violations

Most cases of human rights violations occur when individuals are directly involved. Three departments commonly associated with human rights complaints are:

  1. Police Department
  2. Medical Department
  3. Revenue Department

Complaints primarily involve police personnel, with the number of complaints decreasing as we move up the ranks. Issues raised include wrongful detention, custodial deaths, failure to file FIRs, and inadequate provision of medical facilities for prisoners, among others.

Powers and Functions of the Commission

The Human Rights Commission possesses the following powers and functions:

  1. Autonomous Investigation: The commission can independently initiate an investigation into any issue involving human rights violations.
  2. Intervention in Legal Proceedings: It has the authority to intervene in ongoing legal matters related to human rights.
  3. Support for NGOs: The commission actively encourages the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to human rights.
  4. Review of Constitutional Safeguards: It can review and recommend appropriate remedies to reinforce the safeguards provided by the constitution.
  5. Promotion of Research: The commission promotes research in the field of human rights, fostering a better understanding of the subject.

Filing Complaints at the Human Rights Commission

When filing a complaint regarding human rights violations, the commission does not require any fees, unlike the courts. Additionally, the commission ensures speedy trial of cases, in contrast to the considerable time wasted in courts due to pending cases.

Commission Limitations

There are certain limitations to the commission’s authority:

  1. Time Limit for Complaints: The commission does not accept complaints on matters that occurred more than one year ago.
  2. Recommending, not Directing: While the commission can provide recommendations to the government, it does not possess the power to issue direct orders.

Filing an Online Complaint at the Human Rights Commission

To file an online complaint with a state human rights commission, follow these steps:

  • Visit the website of the respective state commission.
  • Locate the online complaint form, which requires simple details to be filled in with respect to:
    • Applicant’s name and contact number
    • Gender
    • District
    • Applicant’s address
    • Subject and description of the case
  • Optional: Upload relevant documents through the website.

HRCNet Complaint Submission Procedure Explained

HRCNet offers an efficient and user-friendly platform for lodging complaints. Follow these steps to initiate the process:

  • Visit the HRCNet Complaint Submission page (link).
  • Provide accurate personal information, contact details, and a comprehensive description of the complaint.
  • Include specific information to facilitate a prompt resolution.
  • Attach any relevant supporting documents or evidence.
  • Review the information provided and submit the complaint.

Filing a Complaint via Postal Mail

An alternative method to file a complaint with a human rights commission is through postal mail. The victim or a representative can address the complaint to the Chairperson, members, or relevant officers, providing all necessary details and signature. The application should include the complainant’s postal address for effective communication.

The Investigation Process

After filing a complaint, the commission initiates an investigation to verify the facts. It seeks a report from the concerned government department or organization within a specified timeframe. If the report is not received within the stipulated time, the commission begins an independent investigation to gather necessary information.


Filing a complaint at a State Human Rights Commission is an essential step towards seeking justice and upholding the fundamental rights of individuals. By understanding the process and utilizing the available channels, individuals can actively contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights in society.

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