We’ll convince him of the need to accept it: Jayachandra

The issue of appointment of a chairperson to the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) continues to remain unresolved, with protests by Kannada organisations over the selection of the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Darmar Murugesan and the latter, consequently, expressing his reluctance to take up the offer.

Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights T.B. Jayachandra confirmed to The Hindu that Mr. Murugesan had communicated to the government his reluctance in the light of the protests.

The protesting organisations have contended that the chairperson of the KSHRC should be able to communicate in the local language.

‘Impeccable record’

The Minister, however, said that the government was trying to convince Mr. Murugesan to reconsider his decision. “I tried to meet him when I was in Delhi a few days ago. I am going to meet him on January 17 and try to convince him again,” he said. The Minister described Mr. Murugesan as “the most eligible and dynamic” person for the post with “an impeccable record”.

The KSHRC chairperson’s post has been vacant after S.R. Nayak demitted office in July 2012, and the delay in appointment of a person to fill the post has been widely criticised.

Protest

On Human Rights Day (December 10), a group of activists staged a protest and prevented Mr. Jayachandra from speaking until he promised that the post would be filled before the end of the month.

Petition

A petition was also filed before the Karnataka High Court by the Human Rights Defenders’ Forum (Karnataka), seeking a direction to the State to fill the post immediately.

Mr. Murugesan’s nomination was finalised on December 17 in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The former Supreme Court judge R.V. Raveendran’s name was also proposed for the post, but he turned down the offer.

Mr. Murugesan was Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and has served as member of the National Human Rights Commission.

‘Impossible’

Reacting to the controversy, Mr. Nayak said that asking for appointment of a person from Karnataka under the present circumstances amounted to “asking for the impossible”.

He said that anyone who heads the post has to be either a former Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court. He should also be aged below 70.

“Given these conditions, it is hard to think of any local person for the post. Some who are eligible are said to have refused,” he said. “So the government has no option but to find someone from outside Karnataka,” he added.

Mr. Nayak also said that the government should have started the process of looking for someone to fill the post a few months before his retirement in 2012 rather than drag its feet for so long on it.

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