Haryana Human Rights Commission, which has 2,205 pending cases, has turned almost dysfunctional for the past five months after retirement of both its members. The post of its chairman has also been lying vacant for the past 19 months.
An RTI activist, P P Kapoor, had sought information regarding its chairman and members, apart from pending cases. In reply to his queries on February 16, 2018, the State Public Information Officer of the panel stated, “At present, there is no chairperson, member appointed by the Haryana government in the Commission… the post of chairperson is vacant since August 2016 and members since 20th/21th September 2017.”
After receiving the information, Kapoor, who is also a member of an organisation, Jan Abhiyan Manch, has urged the President and National Human Rights Commission to intervene to ensure smooth functioning of the Commission.
“Because of these vacancies, no decision is being taken on 2,205 pending cases. Not only this, 34 out of total 83 sanctioned posts of officials are also lying vacant. In these circumstances, the annual budget of Rs 6.5 crore meant for the panel is proving a wastage,” said Kapoor.
The commission was set up by previous Hooda government in 2012 and former Chief Justice of Punjab and High Court Vijender Jain was appointed its first Chairman who retired in August 2016. Two members of the panel, Justice HS Bhalla and Justice JS Ahlawat, also retired in September 2017.
“After their retirement, the government neither appointed new chairman nor its members. The BJP government is ignoring an important institution like Human Rights Commission. At the same time, appointment of 16 members, including chairman to Haryana Gau Sewa Aayog, shows that the government is more concerned about animals than human beings,” Kapoor said.
Haryana Chief Secretary DS Dhesi did not respond despite phone calls and a text message, though, Haryana BJP spokesperson Raman Malik said the process for appointment of the chairman and two members of the commission was already underway. “The human being can cry but the animals are speechless. The protection of cows was supposed to be seen by the BJP government as it was lacking such attention earlier,” he said.
When asked about the vacant posts of the Chairman and Members of the commission, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (home) SS Prasad said that many applications for the posts have been found “incomplete”.