Rights activists object to choice of NHRC chief A.K. Mishra

Justice Arun Kumar Mishra. File.

Justice Arun Kumar Mishra. File.

A group of human rights activists on Wednesday raised concerns over the appointment of former Supreme Court judge, Justice Arun Kumar Mishra , as the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The Centre’s decision “smacks of brazen arrogance and indifference to public opinion and once again highlights the cynical disdain of the government for democratic norms and constitutional proprieties”.

The activists pointed out that the selection of Justice Mishra by a committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was despite the objection of another committee member, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. The Congress leader had suggested appointing someone from Dalit, Adivasi or minority communities, “considering that the bulk of victims of state abuse comes from these communities”.

“Very clearly, the decision shows open contempt for the mandate of the NHRC which stipulates first preference to a former Chief Justice of India; what exposes the deliberateness of choosing someone close to the government is exposed by the fact that reportedly within the zone of consideration for the post of Chairperson, NHRC, were three former CJIs,” the activists said.

It was “very clear”, according to them, that Justice Mishra seemed to have been “rewarded for having declared his fealty to Prime Minister Modi in a judicial conference involving judges from 24 countries on 20th January, 2020”.

The activists called for appointment of people from the Dalit, Adivasi and minorities communities in the NHRC. “It will greatly help assuage the feeling of alienation and frustration that many such communities feel today and make them feel confident about constitutional democracy in India,” the activists said.

Among the signatories were People's Union for Civil Liberties president Ravikiran Jain, Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover, writer and activist Harsh Mander and former member of the Planning Commission Syeda Hameed.

Meanwhile, Justice Mishra and two new members of the NHRC — former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court M.M. Kumar and former Intelligence Bureau Director General Rajiv Jain — took office on Wednesday.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 12:39:39 am |