//Human Rights Act (1993) violation cloud on Justice Gupta

Human Rights Act (1993) violation cloud on Justice Gupta

Manish Dixit, Hindustan Times , Bhopal, February 24, 2007
THE APPOINTMENT of Justice Gulab Gupta as chairman of the judge’s committee on fee fixation in private professional institutes has hit a hurdle. The Human Rights Protection Act 1993 provides that no person, once a member or chairperson of Central or State Human Rights Commission, would be eligible to accept any employment from the Central or state government thereafter.

Section 24 (3) of the Act says, “On ceasing to hold office, a chairperson or member shall be ineligible for further employment under the Government of India or the government of any state”.

Justice Gupta has been the chairperson of State Human Rights Commission during the Congress regime and was posted as chairman of the Fee Fixation Committee in September last on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

As the issue of validity of Gupta’s posting surfaced, the State Government recently sought opinion of the law department. After getting the department’s opinion, the government has also approached the High Court for its opinion on the appointment.

Sources in the law department are also not certain about the fate of recommendations made by Justice Gupta’s committee.  Principal Secretary (Law) P P Tiwari said, “I have given my opinion to the State Government and said that Gupta’s appointment is in violation of Section 24 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.”

The government had committed a mistake by appointing a former Chairperson of MPHRC in contravention of Section 24 (3) of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, said a legal luminary requesting anonymity. He also termed Gupta’s appointment as employment under the State Government because it had issued formal orders for his posting.

The development has created an interesting situation for the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh, who had recommended the name of Justice Gulab Gupta. As far as the government is concerned, it had played no role in the posting and issued orders at the behest of the court.