Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dhananjay Mahapatra| TNN | Updated: Dec 3, 2016, 

NEW DELHI: Be it appointment of judges to high courts, posts in armed forces tribunals or members in national commissions, the delay in filling up posts continues to be the sore point in judiciary-executive relations.

In the last two months, delay in appointments to HCs had sparked an unusual open war of words between the CJI-headed judiciary and the NDA government. The Centre claimed to have appointed a record number of judges to HCs this year and stressed the need for finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges. Both sides even reminded each other about the constitutional 'laxman rekha'.

On a PIL by advocate Radhakanta Tripathy, the Supreme Court had recently asked the Centre why the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis had not been made functional. On another PIL filed by Tripathy seeking filling of vacancies in National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a bench of CJI Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud accused the Centre on Friday of not taking steps to fill the posts of member and director general (investigation) in the apex human rights body.

The CJI told additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, "This cannot go on. You are making the institutions redundant. From March 2014, you have not been able to find an eminent person to be appointed as a member of NHRC. From October 2014, NHRC does not have director general (investigation). You must make these appointments. You have dragged it for months. For how long do you want to keep dragging it?"

Tripathy said, "Non-appointment of a member having experience and knowledge of human rights and the non-appointment of a woman member for the past 19 years go against the principles of plurality and diversity in NHRC's composition as stressed in the Paris Principles. Only one woman member, Justice Fathima Beevi, held office in NHRC from 1993 to 1997."

Anand said the process to appoint a member and director general (investigation) was continuing and the competent authority in the home ministry was "actively' working on it. The bench refused to accept this explanation and called it "wholly unsatisfactory".

It asked Anand to provide details about the date from when the vacancies arose in NHRC, the dates on which the selection committee met to decide the name for appointment as member in NHRC and identify the authority responsible for the delay. It posted the matter for hearing on December 8.


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