New Delhi: The controversial former Supreme Court judge, Arun Kumar Mishra, will take charge as the new chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today.
In February last year, he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi an “internationally acclaimed visionary who could think globally and act locally” at an international conference, a remark which became controversial.
This is the first time in its 27-year history that the government will have formally appointed to the chairmanship of NHRC someone other than a former chief justice of India.
The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA) was amended in 2019 by the Modi government on the plea that limiting the chairpersonship of the NHRC to a former CJI would make it hard to fill the position easily. But human rights activists and NGOs said that giving the government greater discretionary power to choose any judge it liked was an even greater danger, The Wire reported.
Mishra’s controversial appointment as an unlikely candidate to head the national human rights body is also due to some of his judgments during his time as a Supreme Court judge such as the Haren Pandya matter, The Wire reported.
The last NHRC chairperson former CJI H.L. Dattu, retired in December 2020, and the position has been vacant ever since.