SC reserves order on NGO plea for removal of NHRC chief

SC reserves order on NGO plea for removal of NHRC chief

The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition filed by an NGO seeking direction to the Centre to initiate proceedings for removal of NHRC chairperson and former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan from his current post in view of allegations of “misbehaviour” against him.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar decided to pass the order on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by ‘Common Cause’.

Arguing for the NGO, Bhushan listed out the charges against Justice Balakrishnan including influencing the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to allot two plots of land for his cook then posted at the Supreme Court and registration of several sale deeds in the name of his relatives during his tenure as CJI between January 14, 2007 and May 12, 2010.

He contended that his representation to the Centre sent on April 4, 2011 was not responded, prompting him to approach the apex court on January 20. Bhushan expressed his “distress and surprise” over what he called “disappearance” of Attorney General G E Vahanvati from the court.

His arguments were countered by Additional Solicitor General Gaurav Banerjee, who submitted that the top law officer was not in town.

Vahanvati was earlier told by the court headed by Chief Justice on March 12 to inform it about the action taken on the NGO’s representation within 3 weeks. In the last hearing on March 12, he had submitted 2-page note to the court without supplying a copy to the counsel on the progress of a probe undertaken by Income Tax authorities, he said.

“What I could hear then was that he told the bench that Rs 60 lakh was transferred to his son-in-law’s account by a law firm for which no work was assigned to him,” Bhushan said.

He pointed out that the Attorney General had earlier submitted some documents in a sealed cover which the bench said was not available in the file.

“I am surprise that the documents have disappeared from your lordships’ file,” Bhushan said.

The apex court had on February 13 told the Centre to apprise it of the action it had taken or proposed to take on the complaints filed against NHRC chairman for his alleged acts of “misbehaviour” including acquiring disproportionate assets. The former CJI is alleged to have amassed wealth over Rs 40 crores in the name of his relatives during 2004 and 2009.

The court had also given a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to make a reference to the Supreme Court for making an inquiry against him  as mandated under Section 5 (2) of the Human Rights Act, 1993.

PIL on Balakrishnan’s removal quashed

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL filed by an advocate seeking issuance of a ‘writ of mandamus’ to Centre for removal of Justice Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC chairman, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar noted that petitioner-advocate M L Sharma did not approach the Central government before raising the matter in the apex court.

It relied upon Section 5(2) of the Human Rights (NHRC) Act,  1993, which prescribed the procedure for removal of rights body head.

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