February,24,2016: The Government on Tuesday chose former Chief Justice of India H L Dattu for appointment as the next chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The Indian Express had first reported that the NDA government was likely to offer the post to Dattu, who retired as CJI on December 2, 2015. The post of NHRC chairperson had been lying vacant since May 2015 after Justice K G Balakrishnan completed his nearly five-year-long tenure.
A panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi selected Dattu for the post. The meeting was also attended by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P J Kurien. Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the meeting.
Under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the President appoints the chairperson and members of the NHRC on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Home Minister, leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
The committee’s recommendation of Dattu for the post has been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval. On appointment, Justice Dattu will have a tenure of five years at the post.
Among the former CJIs who were eligible for consideration were justices S H Kapadia, Altamas Kabir, P Sathasivam and R M Lodha. Of these, three had told the government that they were not interested in the job.
Early in 2015, the government had sought Justice Sathasivam’s consent for the post but had to pull back in the face of a strong backlash, including a petition in Supreme Court to stall the proposed appointment.
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