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'NHRC Working Without Full Strength For First Time' : Plea In Supreme Court To Fill Up Vacancies

Shruti Kakkar
10 Aug 2021 9:39 AM GMT
NHRC Working Without Full Strength For First Time : Plea In Supreme Court To Fill Up Vacancies
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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a plea seeking Top Court's intervention to ensure that the Apex Human Rights watchdog of the country runs with its full strength to September 9, 2021. The matter was listed before a division bench of Justice L Nageshwar Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose. Claiming that it was for the first time in the history of the National Human Rights...

The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned a plea seeking Top Court's intervention to ensure that the Apex Human Rights watchdog of the country runs with its full strength to September 9, 2021.

The matter was listed before a division bench of Justice L Nageshwar Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose.

Claiming that it was for the first time in the history of the National Human Rights Commission's (NHRC) since its inception, the apex human rights watchdog of the country was running without its full strength, human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy in his writ petition pointed out that the vacancies of 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, were lying vacant.

"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 stated.

 The petitioner had contended that Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019 prescribed the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission with a Chairperson and five other members and Section 11 of the Act prescribed for the appointment of a Director-General of Investigation. Section 7 of the Act prescribed the appointment of an Acting Chairperson in the absence of Chairperson.

"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, also averred that the non-appointment of  two members, and Director General of Investigation in the NHRC has made it handicapped and dysfunctional in the eyes of law.

"It is, therefore, directly connected with the administration of justice and rule of law, increasing pendency of cases and investigation of serious cases. Negligence and inaction of the 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 plea stated.

The matter is now expected to be heard on September 9, 2021.

Case Title: Radhakanta Tripathy v. Union of India


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