At human rights commission, itís a sad state of affairs

The SHRC, which falls directly under the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), has its chairperson and other members selected on the recommendations made by the CM, state home minister, speaker of the state assembly, and the opposition leader. The recommendations are then sent to the Governor for approval. "As many as 20 proposals have been sent to the CMO. No decision has been taken so far," said a senior official from the CMO.

Sources say the committee is finding it difficult to fill the post of the chairperson, as it has to be a retired chief justice of the High Court. However, for the members' posts, recommendations have already been sent.

On Monday, although a small function celebrating the Human Rights Day was arranged, it painted a dismal picture. "We appeal to the state government to fill in vacancy at the earliest," said the commission's secretary at the function. Since its inception in 2001, the Commission has received 54,703 complaints. While most cases were disposed of at an impressive rate, on a yearly basis, cases have piled on since the commission remained vacant.

This appeal has been made several times in past nine months, say SHRC's staff members. In February, one of the members ó Justice (retired) V G Munshi ó retired. Within a week, chairperson and retired HC Chief Justice Kshitij Vyas, too, resigned. Another member, T S Singaravel retired in October 2011.

"One can understand why no alternative arrangement was made for Justice Vyas' position. But the state knew about the other two posts, then why such laxity," asked an officer in the administration department, who has been documenting complaints every day and stacking it in the office.

Research officer Dr Jaishree Patil is also waiting for the appointments so she can hand over her studies for recommendations. "As many as five research works were taken up by my department. It has been nearly two years' worth of hard work. At the time when I was ready to submit them, Justice Vyas quit," Patil said.

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