SC asks Centre to give reasons for delay in NHRC appointments

NEW DELHI, Dec 2: The Supreme Court today expressed its displeasure over inordinate delay in filling up vacant positions in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) including that of the director general of investigation and a member while directing the Centre to enumerate reasons for the delay.

While terming the status report filed by the Government as “wholly unsatisfactory”, Chief Justice T S Thakur directed Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand to expedite the process of appointments.

“You (the Centre) must make these appointments as soon as possible. How long do you want to drag on? Right from March 2014, there has been vacancy in the commission. What committee is looking into it,” the bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, said while hearing a PIL seeking filling up of vacant positions in NHRC.

At the outset, the ASG filed a status report which said that the chairperson of NHRC has already been appointed, while two other posts are still lying vacant.

She told the bench that the appointment to the post of member, NHRC is to be made after obtaining the recommendations of a committee, appointed for the purpose, and the authority concerned has been requested to take “appropriate” action for making appointment to the post.

“The petitioner who appears in person points out that the vacancy of member, NHRC had occurred as early as on March 3, 2014 while the post of director general (investigation) fell vacant on October 31, 2014. The status report does not, however, explain the reasons for delay in filling up of both the vacancies for the past over two years.

“The explanation is wholly unsatisfactory to say the least. Ms Anand, in the circumstance, prays for a short adjournment to file a detailed report,” the bench noted its order while posting the matter for next hearing to December 8.

The bench also asked the ASG to file a detailed report stating “when was the reference to the Statutory Committee under the Act seeking filling up of the vacancies made and by whom.

“Has the committee met for doing the needful and, if so, the date on which such meetings were held and the result of the meetings be indicated? Relevant file concerning the selection process shall also be secured for perusal of the court.

“As regards appointment of the director general (investigation) when was the recommendation for appointment of a suitable officer made and by whom was it approved. The cause for delay in making of the selection/recommendation may also be explained,” the bench said.

The apex court’s order came on the plea filed by advocate Radhakanta Tripathy who had said that the “commission cannot function without its chairperson, member and director general of investigation. It has become handicapped due to inaction of the Government.”

He had contended that due to vacant posts in NHRC for a long time, the pendency of cases has been increasing.

Tripathy had said that under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, NHRC is supposed to comprise a chairperson, who has been a chief justice of india, one member who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, one member who is, or has been, the chief justice of a high court and two members from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in matters relating to human rights. (PTI)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here