KGB ball in government court as SC asks Centre to decide fate of human rights commission chief

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday refused to take a call on the removal of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.

The SC left it for the government to initiate the process for his removal by making a reference to the apex court in case it was satisfied that the charges against him needed to be inquired into.

Taking note of the fact that a representation seeking to initiate the process for removal had already been submitted to the President on April 4, 2011, a bench comprising Justices B.S. Chauhan and J.S. Khehar observed that it was satisfied that the petition by NGO Common Cause deserved to be disposed of by requesting the government to take a decision on the communication.

The court, however, did not fix a time frame for the government to take a decision.

Incidentally, Common Cause had filed the petition after the government did not act on the April 4, 2011, representation by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms.

'It is not possible for us to accept the prayer made at the hands of the petitioner, for the simple reason that the first step contemplated under Section 5(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 is the satisfaction of the President of India. It is only upon the satisfaction of the President, that a reference can be made to the Supreme Court for holding an enquiry,' the court said.

The court, which directed the government to take a decision, made it clear that it was free to reject the representation as well.

'If the allegations, in the aforesaid determination, are found to be unworthy of any further action, the petitioner shall be informed accordingly,' the court said.

However, if the government found merit in the complaint, a reference could be made by the President, the SC said. The NGO had listed five charges against the former Chief Justice of India.

 


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