Srinagar: The second innings of the PDP-BJP coalition is entering the third week but there is no headway to revive the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), which has been defunct for nearly two years now. Six months back, the high court had given four week deadline to the government to revive the commission.
The ruling alliance failed to revive the commission in its first 10-month stint under Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. During this stint, the high court had set the four-week deadline on October 14.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that there is absolutely no headway in reviving the commission so far.
“Process (to reconstitute the SHRC) will naturally start now as the popular government has resumed. The assembly was is suspended animation and the selection committee was absent,” law secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir told Kashmir Reader.
The selection panel comprises of the chief minister, the speaker of legislative assembly, the chairman of legislative council, leaders of the opposition in the assembly and the legislative council.
The SHRC is defunct for more than 22 months now despite the direction to the PDP-BJP government by a division bench headed by Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar that the “time limit (till November 10, 2015)” has to be “strictly adhered to” in appointing the chairperson and for members of the commission.
The court’s order had followed an assurance by the government that revitalizing the commission was under its “active consideration”.
More than 2000 cases, mainly related to human right violations, are pending disposal since June 28, 2014 when two of its last members—Rafiq Fida, who was also serving as its acting chairperson, and Amlok Singh completed their term in office.
The SHRC is actually headless since October 2011 when Justice (Retd) Bashir-ud-Din retired as chairman. Month later, Abdul Rashid Khan, former Inspector General of Police, completed his term as the member while Javaid Ahmad Kawoos attained superannuation on October 24, 2013.
Soon after the chairman and the two members (Khan and Kawoos) retired, the law, justice and parliamentary ministry had announced on its official website that filling up the vacancies was under “active consideration of the government and the process has already been initiated.”
On September 15 last year, then Advocate General informed the court that immediately after the meeting to appoint the chairman and members of the State Accountability Commission, the meeting for selection of the chairperson and the member of SHRC shall also be convened. The meeting to appoint members of the SAC was held on September 17 last year.
As per the SHRC Act, the chairperson must be a sitting or retired judge of the high court and one member must be a sitting or retired district judges while three members must be persons having practical knowledge and experience in matters relating to the human rights. As per the amended act, a person appointed as chairperson or a member shall hold office for a term of five years from the date of which he assumes his office or until he attains the age of 75 years, whichever is earlier.