Senior advocate and president of the All India Bar Association Adish C Aggarwala has moved the Supreme Court to stall the proposed appointment of Kerala Governor and former Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam as the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The petition was mentioned Friday before a bench led by CJI H L Dattu for an urgent hearing, preferably Monday.
The bench, however, said it would look into the request and pass appropriate orders.
Aggarwala’s petition has claimed that the process reportedly being resorted to by the NDA government in appointing Justice Sathasivam was violative of right to equality under Article 14 since three other former CJIs — Justices R M Lodha, Altamas Kabir and S H Kapadia — were overlooked.
“Failure to obtain consent of these former chief justices for consideration for appointment as NHRC chairperson and obtaining consent of only Justice Sathasivam, despite tainted background, would render the selection process faulty and amenable to challenge,” stated his petition.
Aggarwala added that appointment of Justice Sathasivam as NHRC chairperson would bring conflict of interest too since he was now a part of the executive arm. “On the shift from the position of Governor to NHRC chairperson, he will continue to be seen as a representative of the ruling political party,” said the petition while seeking a directive to the government not to consider the sole candidature. The lawyer also sought guidelines on the issue of such appointments so as to remove alleged arbitrariness, opaqueness and bias in the procedure of appointments.
Former CJI K G Balakrishnan, who is currently the chairperson, is due to retire soon. Only a former CJI can be appointed as the NHRC chairperson.