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Decision on NHRC top post after SC order
Published on 27 Mar. 2010 12:29 AM IST
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A decision to amend the law on appointment of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson will be taken after considering the Supreme Court’s order on a similar petition pending before it, the central government informed Delhi High Court Friday.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta asked the government to file an affidavit by April 7 stating the present status.
Conveying the government’s stand on the issue, Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok said: “A similar petition is pending before the Supreme Court. A decision would be taken after perusing the orders passed in that petition.”
According to the existing law, only retired Chief Justices of India can head the NHRC.
Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO, said “changing the law to enable others except retired Chief Justices of India to become the chairperson is not a difficult task”. “The central government, which had assured the court that it would amend the law, has taken seven adjournments in the case. Moreover, it has so far not filed its reply,” he said.
The petition claimed there are two retired chief justices of India eligible for the post, but the government is reluctant to appoint them.
“Non-appointment of chairperson in accordance with the Act (Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993) in such a situation despite the presence of two eligible candidates is arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of principles enshrined in Article 14 of the constitution,” Bhushan said.
Earlier, the central government had told the court that it is considering amending the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to allow a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a chief justice of high court to head the panel.

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