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“If the present decision to nominate Khanna is not withdrawn, the PUCL will be “constrained to take it up in the Apex Court”, PUCL says, adding, it is “shocked and surprised how the opposition members on the selection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

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”