CUTTACK: The inordinate delay in appointment of Chairman and Member of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has landed in Orissa High Court which on Thursday issued notices to the State Government on the matter.
Acting on a writ petition filed by Shiv Shankar Mohanty, an advocate of the HC, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Sarangi issued notices to Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Law Secretary, Secretary to the Governor and Registrar of OHRC.
Petitioner Mohanty stated that the very purpose of setting up a State Human Rights Commission is defeated if vacancies arising from time to time are not promptly filled up and there is hardly any explanation, much less a cogent one, by the Government for not filling up the vacancies.
There is criticism that inordinate delay in filling up the vacancies of Chairman and Member is making the rights panel non-functional while complaints of human rights violation in the State have increased manifold in the recent times, the petitioner said.
While piling up of the cases has led to delayed disposal of the cases, the Government is not showing any urgency in appointing a full-time Chairperson or increasing the number of Members, Mohanty said and added that failure of the Government in making the appointments has affected the functioning of the Commission which has a direct impact on rule of law and administration of justice.
The petitioner also pointed out that suo motu cognizance of cases by the rights panel, issue of summons and notices to the State authorities for appearance and production of records is arbitrary and violation of Regulation 14 of Regulation 2003.
The HC has listed the matter for the last week of March. The post of Chairperson of OHRC has been lying vacant since 2012. Currently, Justice BK Mishra, Member of the panel, is the Acting Chairperson. Another Member's post is lying vacant too.