SC notice to Centre on plea seeking directions to fill vacant posts in NHRC

 The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking directions to fill three vacancies at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha issued notice to the government returnable within three weeks.

The top court noted the existing seats fell vacant on September 11, 2021, January 4, 2023 and April 4, 2022.

“The petitioner in-person submits that there are three vacancies in the National Human Rights Commission, namely –Judicial Member, who has to be a Judge or a former Judge of the Supreme Court, Judicial Member, who is or was a Chief Justice of the High Court and a seat for a woman member.

“Issue notice, returnable in three weeks. Liberty to serve the Central Agency, in addition,” the bench said.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy seeking directions to fill the vacant posts at the NHRC.

“The failure of the government in appointing three members in the NHRC has been affecting the functioning of the commission, which has a direct bearing on the rule of law and administration of justice.

“The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019, mandates a Chairperson and another five members to be appointed in the Commission. Keeping vacant posts of three members in the NHRC in accordance with the Act (Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993) despite availability of eligible candidates is arbitrary, unreasonable,” the plea said.

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