Balakrishnan to head apex human rights panel

New Delhi, June 3 (Calcutta Tube) Former chief justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, who retired May 12, has been appointed chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), home ministry sources said Thursday. He will assume office Monday.

President Pratibha Patil gave a go-ahead to the central government’s proposal to appoint the former chief justice of India (CJI) as the NHRC chief Thursday, sources said.

Ex-CJI Balakrishnan will be the sixth chairperson of the country’s statutory human rights watchdog, which was headless for the last one year.

According to an NHRC official, Balakrishnan will assume office at 10.30 a.m. Monday and address a press conference at 11.30 a.m.

‘The press conference will be a kind of familiarisation process as the new chairperson of NHRC,’ the official said.

Justice S. Ranjendra Babu was the last NHRC chaiperson, who retired May 2009.

As per the statutory provisions, the post of NHRC chairperson can be occupied only by a former CJI.

After Justice Babu’s retirement, the government had approached two former chief justices, Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice A.S. Anand, both of whom declined the proposal to head the NHRC.

Born May 12, 1945, in Kerala, Justice Balakrishnan was appointed the CJI in January 2007 and he retired in May 2010.

He was the first Dalit who made it to the top judicial post. He began his legal career in 1968 as an advocate at Kerala.

He was later appointed as a judicial magistrate, a post which he quit after a few years. He was subsequently appointed a judge in the Kerala High Court.

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