Don't bring a bureaucrat in NHRC, BJP tells govt

Don't bring a bureaucrat in NHRC, BJP tells govt

Despite opposition, govt to appoint a civil servant

The BJP is opposed to the government’s attempt to install a civil servant, most probably NIA Director-General S C Sinha, as member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the grounds that promise of lucrative post retirement benefits end up compromising key agencies.

A member from the BJP has conveyed the party’s objections to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde during an interaction on Friday evening.

The six-member panel which is headed by the prime minister and includes as members the Union home minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajya Sabha Chairperson and leaders of opposition in both Houses, met at Singh’s residence on Friday evening.  It is learnt that despite the BJP leaders’ opposition, the government has decided to appoint a civil servant.

The commission is headed by former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan and has two judicial members Justice G P Mathur and Justice B C Patel. Former IFS officer Satyabrata Pal is the other member drawn from non-judicial background while another slot is lying vacant.

Earlier, too, the BJP members in the panel, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely, had shot down the government’s move to rehabilitate former CBI director A P Singh as one of the two non-judicial members of the Commission. This post is lying vacant for some time now post retirement of P C Sharma who was also a former CBI chief.

Due to the objection of the opposition party, the government ended up parking Singh at the Union Public Service Commission as a member.

 Party sources said the leaders questioned the appointment over the fundamental conflict which is how can violators, which especially police officers are, can be protectors of human rights. In case of Sinha, they were of the view that since NIA investigates terror cases, there might be occasion where innocent person can be framed and NHRC would have to intervene to protect their rights.

Also, the party is of the view that the government is “bias” in considering NIA DG over the fact that the agency under him is investigating “saffron terror” cases in which former and present RSS functionaries are under the scanner for allegedly triggering bombs at places of worship of minorities.

Interestingly, in the initial list of 23 applicants, Sinha’s name had not figured. Of them, more than 50 per cent which is 13 were either retired or serving IPS and IAS officers. The UPA government had also appointed former CBI director Ashwani Kumar as Nagaland governor which was also criticised for politicising the bureaucracy.