SC extends Govt’s deadline to appoint NHRC members

SansadTV Bureau
File photo of Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court has given more time to the government to fill up two vacant posts of members in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The government now has time till April 30 to fill up the two posts.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and S K Kaul extended its initial deadline after the Centre said there was difficulty in appointing NHRC members due to the ongoing elections in some states. Earlier, on January 23, the bench had given four weeks to the government.

Acceding to the plea of Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, representing the Centre, the bench said the process of appointment should be completed by April 30.

Lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, who had filed the PIL on the issue, pointed to the bench that the first vacancy of NHRC member has been continuing since March 31, 2014 and in the meantime, another vacancy had arisen due to the retirement of Justice Cyriac Joseph in January this year.

To this, the bench said, “Please keep patience. You (Tripathy) helped everybody by filing the PIL. We are grateful to you” and disposed of the plea.

Earlier, the apex court had asked the government to appoint the Director General (Investigation) of NHRC within a week and granted four weeks for filling up the posts of its members.

“You (Centre) will be in trouble if we start hearing this matter and pass some order. We are granting you four weeks to appoint the members. We hope and expect that the process of appointment of members can be concluded in four weeks,” the bench had said.

The apex court had on December 2 last year expressed displeasure over the inordinate delay in filling up vacant positions in the NHRC including that of the DG (Investigation) and a member while directing the Centre to enumerate reasons for the delay.

It had asked the Centre to make these appointments as soon as possible, saying, “How long do you want to drag on? Right from March 2014, there has been vacancy in the commission.”

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Tripathy who had said that the NHRC “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.

(With inputs from PTI)