The Commission may:
- Enquire on its own initiative or on a petition presented to it by a victim or any other person on his/her behalf into complaint of
- violation of human rights or abetment or;
- negligence in the prevention of such violations by a public servant;
- Intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation or violation of human right pending before a court to the approval of that court;
- Visit any jail or any other institution under the control of the State Government where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of living conditions of the inmates;
- Review the safeguards provided by or under the constitution or any other law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights;
- Review the factors that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights;
- Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights;
- Spread human right literacy and promote awareness of the safeguards available for protection of these rights through publications, medical seminars and other available means;
- Encourage the efforts of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and extension work in the field of human rights; and
- Perform such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of human rights.
It is clarified that though ordinarily the Commission has the power to make enquiry when there is violation of human rights (or abetment thereof) by a public servant; where the human rights are violated by a private citizen, the Commission can intervene if there is failure or negligence on the part of a public servant to prevent such violation.