Himachal Human Rights Commission goes defunct

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HIM VANI

Shimla: Shattering even the bleakest of hopes of it getting revived, the Himachal Pradesh Human Rights Commission (HRC), which did not have a chairman since July 2005, is now a completely defunct body. In a surprise move yesterday, one of its present two members I.D. Bali, a senior advocate resigned from the Commission.

After submitting his resignation to Governor V.S. Kokje, Bali said, “the state government’s apathy towards the Commission has made its existence irrelevant for the state. Since its re-constitution in the year 2003, the body has not had a permanent chairman whose existence as per the law is necessary for its functioning.” Neither has there been any appointment of supporting staff, except for the two members, the second one being Bhuddhi Singh Thakur, a retired Sessions judge. Also, the space allotted for the Commission’s functioning has now been given to the state Lokayukta. “So where do we work and with what infrastructure?” he questioned.

Since the HRC’s re-constitution in August 2003, the post of chairman has seen two appointments but both ceased to act here for more than eight months. The appointment of first chairman Justice A.L. Vaidya, a retired judge of Himachal Pradesh High Court (HC) remained a controversial one. It was turned down by the HC in February 2004 as according to the rules, no one below the category of a retired Chief Justice of a state HC could be appointed on the post.

The second appointment was made eight months after this when Justice N.K. Jain, retired Chief Justice of Karnataka HC came in. But he too moved to Rajasthan in July 2005. And since then the HRC was waiting to start functioning again, meaning thereby to a “chairman”.

It is worth mentioning that the state HRC first came into being in the year 1994 and was dissolved in the year 2003. In its second innings the HRC had seen maximum disposal of human rights cases during the tenure of Justice A.L. Vaidya.