Former SC judges soon can be appointed NHRC Chairperson

National Human Rights Commission

The Home Ministry has moved the Cabinet to amend the recruitment process of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

A key change being contemplated is that a retired Supreme Court judge could also be considered for the Chairperson’s position, currently reserved for former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.

Similarly an amendment for appointment of members is also being considered. The members could be picked from a pool of retired Chief Justices of High Courts. Currently, a serving or retired SC judge is considered. The NHRC was constituted under the Protection of Human Rights Act in 1993. The Act was last amended in 2006.

“The amendments are being done on the request of the NHRC itself. Complying with international norms, some changes are being made in the Act that will open the floor for recruitment from a wider pool,” said a senior government official.

The Commission consists of a chairperson, 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 to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

The chairperson and members are appointed by the President on recommendations from a six-member committee chaired by the Prime Minister.

“Since the number of former CJIs of SC is limited, the panel would invariably have one or two names for consideration. By including the SC judges, the committee will have more options to choose from,” said the official.

Once the Cabinet approves them, an amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act would have to be ratified by Parliament.

The State Human Rights Commissions are also expected to see a change in the appointment procedure. “Retired High Court judges could also be considered for the post of State Human Rights Commission chairperson, which is currently held by retired Chief Justices of High Courts,” said the official.

Source: The Hindu

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