Human Rights Commission continues to be headless
Selection Panel Yet To Meet; SHRC Work Suffers
Srinagar, Nov 17: Notwithstanding its oft-repeated assertions about strengthening the institutions meant for safeguarding human rights in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Government is yet to convene a meeting of selection panel for appointing the new chairperson of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
Almost three weeks after the SHRC chairperson Justice Syed Bashiruddin retired from his office, the prestigious institution is headless as government is yet to initiate the process of nominating its new head.
Insiders told Greater Kashmir that absence of chairperson is creating hindrances in the normal functioning of the Commission. “Since October 24, when the former chairperson retired, more than 50-60 fresh complaints have been lodged, but these cases have not been distributed among Benches as it is only the prerogative of the chairperson as per the rules governing the functioning of the rights body,” they said, adding that matters are likely to be further complicated with retirement of one of the four members of the commission shortly.
“Not only this, administrative matters regarding the employees and communiqués with the government have also been hit for the past 23 days here,” they disclosed and added that absence of the panel head was also sending negative signals vis-à-vis claims of government on protecting human rights.
“We are coping up with work in absence of the chairperson, but there is technical difficulty vis-a-vis constitution of Benches. Otherwise normal work is going on i.e., hearing of listed cases,” Secretary SHRC, Tariq Banday said.
The chairperson of SHRC is appointed for a period of three years by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee headed by Chief Minister.
Its other members are: Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Chairman of Legislative Council, Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Home in the state, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
Officials in the administration disclosed that nomination of the new head of the panel shouldn’t have taken much time, as there are only few options available with the government on it.
“This should have been done within short span of time as there are only few retired High Court judges who are eligible for the post,” they said.
They said government is also empowered to appoint an acting chairperson among the members of the SHRC in certain circumstances.
“But the government has not taken recourse to this option,” they added.
“In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the chairperson by reason of his death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor may, by notification, authorize one of the members to act as chairperson until the appointment of a new chairperson to fill such vacancy. When the chairperson is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence on leave or otherwise, such one of the members as the Governor may, by notification, authorize in this behalf shall discharge the functions of the chairperson until the date the chairperson resumes his duties,” section 7 (1) (2) of JK Human Rights Protection Act-1997, reads.
When contacted, State Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray told Greater Kashmir that meeting of the panel for nominating SHRC chairperson would be held shortly.
“We have set the process in motion and will finalize the date within few days,” he said.
After being constituted in 1997, SHRC has registered more than 6000 cases out of which more than 4700 have been disposed off till date.
It recently passed decisions over unmarked graves and Kunanposhpora mass rape.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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