26 Aug 2009( PT) The Delhi High Court today sought an explanation from the Centre as to why it was not appointing chairman of National Human Rights Commission, a post lying vacant since June. A Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan asked the government to file its response by September 9 when a PIL seeking its direction to appoint chairman of the Commission would be heard. The petition filed by NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, claimed that there are two retired Chief Justices of India eligible for the post but the government is reluctant to appoint them.
“Non-appointment of chairperson in accordance with the Act (Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993) in such a situation despite the presence of two eligible candidates is arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of principles enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution,” advocate Prashant Bhushan said.
The post of chairman is lying vacant since June after former Chief Justice of India S Rajendra Babu demitted the office after being superannuated.The Commission is now headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court who is functioning as acting chairman of the Commission.
According to rules, the Commission is to be headed by retired Chief Justice of India.