April,18,2015: Centre has already obtained his consent without considering the other eligible former CJIs, says petition.
The Supreme Court will look into a petition alleging that the Centre is illegally considering the former Chief Justice of India and Kerala Governor, P. Sathasivam, as the sole candidate for chairperson of the National Human Right Commission.
The post is due to fall vacant in May, with the exit of the incumbent, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan. The statute requires a former Chief Justice of India to hold it.
The petition, filed by the Bar Association of India, was mentioned before a Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu. “Let us see,” he responded to the request to take up the petition made by senior advocates S.P. Singh and Adish C. Aggarwala on Friday.
The petition said the Centre had ignored “proper procedure” while considering Justice Sathasivam to lead the top human rights body. It said the Centre had already obtained the consent of Justice Sathasivam without considering the other eligible former Chief Justices of India, including Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.H. Kapadia.
It alleged that undue preference was being shown to one candidate, who, if selected, would bring to the fore a sense of conflict of interest as Justice Sathasivam is now part of the executive arm. “He is no longer eligible to be appointed NHRC Chairperson. It is submitted that one cannot associate with politics/politicians and still possess the purity of a judge…On the shift from the position of Governor to chairperson of the Commission, he will continue to be seen as a representative of the ruling political party. He will always owe a debt of gratitude to the government for having appointed him Governor,” the petition said.Hindu