May 13, 2021 10:57:05 pm
WITHOUT ANY chairperson and members, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is witnessing a pile-up of cases, but the Maharashtra government does not seem to be in a hurry to fill up the posts.
There are only two senior officers in the commission — secretary Tukaram Mundhe and superintendent of police for investigations Sandeep Banda and a handful of staffers.
M A Sayeed, the acting chairperson, retired on April 27. He has applied for an extension, but the government is yet to decide on it. The commission should have a chairperson, who is a retired chief justice of a high court, a retired judiciary member and a retired civil servant or a person from a social background. The appointment is for a five-year term.
The last chairperson, Justice G K Bannurmath, retired in January 2018 and a member, Bhagwant More, retired in July 2018. Thereafter, there were no reinforcements sent and Sayeed took over as chairperson and disposed of several cases.
Sayeed said close to 18,000 cases had piled up and he tried disposing of many; there were just 40 cases pending in his court.
The post of inspector general of police, who heads the investigation cell, is also vacant after IPS officer Abdur Rahman decided to leave. Banda is the only officer heading the investigation cell.
Mundhe was removed from the post of municipal commissioner of Nagpur in the midst of the first wave of Covid-19 and then kept waiting for a posting. Five months ago, he was appointed secretary to the commission. He has sent most orders from the commission to the government for action.
But without any member in the commission, he has barely any work left, said an official.
A senior officer of the state home department said, “These appointments are done in consultation with the High Court. We sent a list when the BJP government was in power and they did not decide. When the Maha Vikas Aghadi government came to power, we sent a list again about three months ago and there is no decision yet. We will fill up the posts when political bosses sign the file.”
Bannurmath, who is now chairperson of Karnataka Law Commission, told The Indian Express, “In this pandemic, it is necessary to fill up the post of SHRC as the health sector is deteriorating and people are not getting justice and are being deprived of basic facilities. Besides, there are many pending cases.
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