Skip to main content

PUCL to challenge appointment of BJP politician as NHRC member in Supreme Court, calls move "sinister"

By Our Representative
People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), India’s premier human rights organization, has threatened to approach the Supreme Court against the appointment of BJP vice president Avinash Rai Khanna as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), for a post that was “kept vacant” for the last two years.
In a statement signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, national president, and Dr V Suresh, national general Secretary, PUCL has recalls that, previously, during the UPA regime (in 2005), when a retired police officer was appointed as a member of the NHRC, it was questioned by PUCL before the Supreme Court.
“If the present decision to nominate Khanna is not withdrawn, the PUCL will be “constrained to take it up in the Apex Court”, PUCL says, adding, it is “shocked and surprised how the opposition members on the selection panel agreed to the appointment of Khanna, defeating the principle of checks and balances provided in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.”
Calling it a “sinister attempt” by the present BJP-led NDA government to fill “crucial posts in institutions tasked with the responsibility to critically review, oversee, monitor or examine complaints regarding the functioning of the government , with persons who are unsuitable for the post”, PUCL says, the decision will “harm the credibility, impartiality and effectiveness of NHRC”.
Pointing out that NHRC has in the past “taken up issues of human rights abuses by governmental functionaries, suo-moto or on the basis of complaints”, PUCL says, “The appointment of a politician of the ruling party compromises its independence, objectivity and credibility.”
Saying that the decision “creates a conflict of interest”, PUCL notes, “Section 3 (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 under which the NHRC is formed and constituted, states that apart from former Judges of the Supreme or High Courts, two other members will be ‘appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights’.”
“It is clear that Khanna does not have the relevant experience in the field of human rights”, PUCL says, adding, he has been “associated with the BJP for the last several decades and was an active member of ABVP, RSS during student life, as per his biographical sketch on the Lok Sabha website.”
Further, it adds, Khanna was “previously made a member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission but resigned when he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Thus, PUCL believes that the present decision is also a move to adjust and reward a senior member of the ruling party with a government post by treating crucial posts as largesse.”
“The principle of neutrality of NHRC members is particularly crucial and important for many times the NHRC is called upon to investigate mass human rights abuses by security forces with allegations of complicity of the political executive”, says PUCL.
In the face of latest development, PUCL says, citizens should “continuously remain vigilant and oppose all anti-democratic and anti-human rights actions and decisions of the government so that institutions such as NHRC retain their independence, credibility, effectiveness and keep holding the government of the day accountable for any human rights abuses.”

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says: