Cabinet to amend Ex-SC judges could soon be appointed NHRC chiefs

Highlights:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.