The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has rejected a plea of a voluntary organisation seeking a Presidential Reference for removal of National Human Rights Commission Chairperson K.G. Balakrishnan in view of allegations of misconduct during his tenure as Chief Justice and Judge of the Supreme Court.

“His [K.G. Balakrishnan’s] conduct as CJI does not appear to be a relevant ground for making a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court under Section 5(2) of Protection of Human Rights Act in respect of his continuation in his present tenure as the Chairperson of NHRC,” the MHA said in reply to NGO Common Cause.

The NGO had alleged that the former CJI and his relatives amassed wealth far exceeding their legal income during his tenure as an apex court judge.

“The functions of NHRC include inquiring, intervening, reviewing the violations of human rights and studying and spreading human rights literacy among various sections of society. These functions of the Commission cannot be said to be an extension of the judicial functions which Balakrishnan discharged in the Supreme Court as Chief Justice of India,” the letter said.

All the documents pertaining to the former CJI have been sent to the Law Ministry for appropriate action, the letter noted. The MHA has written to the NGO in compliance with the Supreme Court’s direction. The apex court has refused to pass any order directing the government to recommend the Presidential Reference.

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