//Justice S. Rajendra Babu likely to head NHRC

Justice S. Rajendra Babu likely to head NHRC

Akshaya Mukul, 4 Mar, 2007 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: After remaining headless for four months, the National Human Rights Commission will get a new chairperson with former chief justice of India S Rajendra Babu, who had a stint of less than a month, likely to be named the rights body's fifth chief.

Highly placed sources said Babu's name has been approved and an announcement would be made shortly. It is believed that former chief justice of India Y K Sabharwal was also considered but his candidature met with strong opposition from prominent Congress politicians of Delhi. They argued that after Sabharwal's tough stand on sealing in Delhi, his nomination to the plum post would send a wrong political message. However, Sabharwal's candidature was strongly supported by law minister H R Bhardwaj.

Sources also pointed to the fact that several retired CJIs — like V N Khare and R C Lahoti — had refused to take up the job of NHRC chief. In fact, the government had cited the refusal by retired CJIs as an excuse to amend Protection of Human Rights Act so that instead of CJIs, retired judges of Supreme Court could be made chairperson of NHRC. But in the face of strong opposition from Left and BJP, the amendment was dropped.

Babu, born in 1939, will remain in office till May 31, 2009.

NHRC chairperson is appointed by a committee headed by the PM and including the Lok Sabha Speaker, home minister, leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha.