The Modi government may soon appoint an active politician as the member of the National Human Rights Commission. According to a media report, the BJP-led NDA government is the ‘final stages of appointing a politician from its own ranks as a member of the commission’.
Sources in the NHRC said this is the first time an active politician is being appointed to the post, which has remained vacant for over two years now, the Indian Express report said.
“BJP vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna is likely to be appointed as NHRC member in the next few days,” the report quoted sources in the commission.
Khanna, the party leader in charge of Jammu & Kashmir, was a member of the Rajya Sabha till April this year.
The chairperson and members of the NHRC are selected by a high-level committee headed by the Prime Minister, and comprising the Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Home Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The report added that the panel met last month to discuss names for the vacant post. “Some other names were also discussed, but his (Khanna’s) name was cleared. There was no dissent,” said a member of the panel.
Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which deals with the issue of “Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission”, says that only a former Chief Justice of India can be appointed NHRC chairperson.
The four full-time members, as per the Act, should include a former judge of the Supreme Court, a former chief justice of a high court and two others “from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights”.