Supreme Court (File photo)
Supreme Court (File photo)

SC adjourns hearing in PIL seeking its intervention in filling vacancies in NHRC

ANI | Updated: Apr 19, 2021 21:31 IST


New Delhi [India], April 19 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing in Public interest litigation (PIL) seeking its intervention to direct the authorities to ensure that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) fill up vacancies in the Commission.
A two-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and also comprising Justices Vineet Saran, adjourned the hearing in the PIL filed by top Court lawyer and human rights activist, Radhakanta Tripathy after he could not be available during the virtual hearing due to his ill health today.
For the first time in the history of NHRC's inception, the Apex human rights watchdog of the Country, is at present, is running without its full strength, as there is no Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members, and the Director-General (DG) of Investigation, Tripathy claimed in his PIL (Public Interest Litigation).
Tripathy has filed the petition before the Top Court seeking the intervention of it to ensure the human rights watchdog run with its full strength.
The petition filed by Tripathy, pointed out the vacancies of Chairperson, two members, and Director General of Investigation of National Human Rights Commission as required under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019.
"The Commission cannot function without its Chairperson, member, and Director General of Investigation," the petition filed by Tripathy claimed.
"The NHRC has become handicapped due to the inaction of the government. The negligence, failure, and inaction of the Respondents in filling up the vacancies in the NHRC violate Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India," the petition filed by Tripathy claimed.

This typical situation has arisen for the first time in the history of the NHRC, since its inception, when there is no Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members, and the Director-General of Investigation, read the plea.
The petition of Tripathy claimed that Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019 prescribes the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission with a Chairperson and five other members.
Similarly, Section 11 of the Act prescribes the appointment of a Director-General of Investigation. Section 7 of the Act Prescribes of appointment of an Acting Chairperson in the absence of Chairperson, the petition stated.
The vacancies in the NHRC have been continuing as Justice H L Dattu retired on December 02, 2020, as the Chairperson of the NHRC and Justice D Murugesan retired from the Commission in September 2018, as a member.
A new post for membership has been created by the Amendment of the Protection of Human Rights Act in 2019. The post of Director-general of Investigation has been lying vacant since May 2020, after the retirement of Prabhat Singh, IPS, who retired as Director General (Investigation) in the NHRC, the petition said.
Tripathy, in his plea, alleged that the non-appointment of Chairperson, two members, and Director General of Investigation in the NHRC has made it handicapped and dysfunctional in the eyes of law.
Negligence and inaction of government in not appointing the Chairperson, members, and Director General of Investigation of NHRC, in the circumstances is arbitrary, unreasonable and therefore violates Article 14 and 21 of the constitution of India, the petition filed by Tripathy said. (ANI)

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