Petion to President of India to stop appointment of Partisan appointments in NHRC

Urging the President's intervention, Mukherjee to direct the appointment committee to ensure that due process of appointment to NHRC(National Human Rights commission) is followed.NGOs and human rights organisations have petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee against the possible appointment of a BJP leader, Avinash Rai Khanna, as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Expressing “serious concerns”, the All India Network of NGOs and Individuals, working with National and State Human Rights Institutions (AINNI), said any candidate who is part of a political party should not be appointed a member of the NHRC, as it is responsible for examining complaints of rights violation by functionaries of the government.

“Appointing a member of the ruling political party to the NHRC would also affect the very integrity, credibility and authority of the institution meant to protect human rights of citizens,” it said in a memorandum to Mukherjee.

Urging the President’s intervention, it wanted Mukherjee to direct the appointment committee to ensure that due process of appointment to NHRC is followed.

The memorandum came against the backdrop of reports that Khanna has been cleared by a selection committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition leaders in Parliament among others. The memorandum also noted that never in the past 23 years has there been a civil society representative appointed in this position and the last woman member in the NHRC had completed her term in 2004. This goes against the principles of plurality and diversity in composition as mentioned in the UN Paris Principles, it said.

“The appointment of Mr Khanna, an office-bearer in the current ruling political party and a former member of the Upper House of Parliament, sends a wrong message to the people of India and challenges the independence of the NHRC,” they said.

“This appointment is contrary to the universally accepted human rights standards evolved under the aegis of the United Nations. It is also detrimental to the functioning and reputation of the NHRC and such measures lead to the formation of a serious trust deficit in the institution itself. It will erode the public faith in the institution, which has been declining steadily over the past 10 years,” it added.

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