All human beings, for the simple reason that they belong to human kind, are entitled to enjoy certain rights from the cradle to the grave. These rights are their birth rights and, therefore, called natural rights. These are the basic entitlements of human beings without which life is not worth living, satisfying, enjoyable and meaningful. The concept of natural rights i.e birth rights is as old as the origin of mankind. But even then these rights could not be enjoyed by all sections of human beings in the primitive age i.e before the rise of the sun of civilization when “survival of the fittest was the order of the day”. It can, therefore, be deduced that in those dark days the concept of Human rights was not born.
But in course of time when men started ascending the ladder of civilization step by step it is found that they tried hard to assert their rights, but even then, the struggle for fulfillment of their rights did not succeed. It is a matter of history that in the medieval age the society was distinctly divided in two classes, namely ‘the Haves’ and the ‘Have-nots’ and when there was autocratic form of Government or absolute monarchy with unlimited power where the monarch used to say, “I am the State” human rights were trampled under foot and reduced to dust. Be that as it may, it is seen that in the long corridor of history, human beings have been struggling hard to achieve their rights and their struggle was more or less successful. Granting of the Magna Carta by King John of England in 1215 followed by the signing of petitions of rights by the Charles-I of England in 1628, the Bill of Rights by William-III and Queen Mary of England in 1689 the Declaration of Independence of America in 1776 and the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen by the General Assembly of France in 1789 are some of the important documents in the declaration and assertion of human rights and can be regarded as significant milestones at the different stages of our struggle for achievement of human rights.
But even after these achievements human rights were in a state of jeopardy and annihilation due to the untold horror and destruction caused by the two World Wars. However, the aspiration for achievements of human rights did not completely die down and as a result of the persistent efforts of the saner section of the leadership of the time, the United Nations Organisation (UNO) came into being for prevention of recurrence of such destructive Wars with a view to preserving the human rights from complete annihilation. It is for the first time that the term “Human rights” finds its place in the Preamble of the Charter of the U.N. which has laid down the measures to be taken for International co-operation for promotion and protection of human rights. Thus, the concept of human rights is of very recent origin. The General Assembly of the United Nations held at Paris adopted the historic document called the “Universal Declaration of Human rights” on the 10th of December, 1948 embodying thirty articles on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The Declaration re-affirms that all persons must be able to enjoy their human rights in all situations and under all circumstances. The Declaration was followed by two other significant international instruments adopted in 1966, namely (i) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and (ii) the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and these Instruments together with Universal Declaration of Human rights formed the International Bill of Rights.
The makers of the Indian Constitution while drafting the Constitution had included in it the rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human rights in two separate Parts, namely Part III and Part IV of the Constitution. The Civil and Political Rights have been included as Fundamental Rights in Part III while Part IV of the Constitution contains the economic, social and cultural rights as “Directive Principles of State Policy”. For better protection of human rights and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto the Government of India by an Ordinance provided for the constitution of the National Human rights Commission, the State Human rights Commission in States and Human rights Courts w.e.f. 28th September, 1993. This Ordinance was replaced by the Parliament of India by Act No.10 of 1994 on 8th January, 1994 by the Protection of Human Rights Act. 1993 which came into force retrospectively on 28th day of September, 1993. Accordingly, the National Human Rights Commission was constituted in the year 1993 and, thereafter, the States Human rights Commission were constituted in several States.
The Assam Human rights Commission was constituted on 19th March, 1996.