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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blatant goof up by CM-headed SHRC selection panel

Recommendation for Justice Imtiyaz stopped before going to Governor

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Jun 20: In an embarrassing development for Mehbooba Mufti Government, the selection panel headed by Chief Minister has selected retired judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain as Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) despite his ineligibility on account of his having served as Member of Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission (SAC).

On June 17th, the selection panel comprising Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Speaker Legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta, Chairman Legislative Council Haji Inayat Ali, Leader of largest opposition party in the Assembly Omar Abdullah, Leader of the largest opposition party in the Legislative Council Ali Muhammad Dar and Law Minister Abdul Haq Khan met here and finalized the name of Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain for position of Chairman SHRC.

According to the law that governs appointment of the Chairman and Members of SAC, which Mr Hussain has served for full term of three years, neither Chairman nor any member can be appointed as Chairman or Member of any Commission after his retirement. Section 6, sub section 2 of Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act 2002 reads: “ (2) On ceasing to hold office, the Chairperson and every other member shall be ineligible for (i) reappointment in the Accountability Commission; (ii) any other assignment which is required by law to be made by the Governor by warrant under his hand and seal; and (iii) further  employment to any other office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of a State.

Justice Hakim, who retired as a judge of J&K High Court in 2011, has served as member of SAC and thus become eligible for any further appointment in the government. He is presently heading a committee set-up by the Government to regulate fee structure of private schools in the State.

Former judge of J&K High Court Nisar Ahmad Kakru, who has also served as Chairman of Human Rights Commission in Andhra Pradesh and another retired judge of J&K High Court and some other High Courts Bilal Nazki, besides Imtiyaz Hussain had been reportedly shortlisted by the State Law Department that provides service to the selection panel. Reports said that former Principal District and Sessions Judge, Jang Bahadur Singh Jamwal was chosen as Member of SHRC.

Before the recommendations for issuing warrant of appointment would go to Governor, it was pointed out in Law Department that a major goof up had been committed by the panel headed by Chief Minister.

According to legal experts, the rider of ineligibility for further appointments has been put in place for Chairpersons and Members of J&K State Public Service Commission, SAC, SHRC etcetera so that their urge for subsequent appointments in the government would not tilt their balance in favour of the government. Sources said that this ineligibility rider has been acquired from similar provision governing appointment of heads and members of the commissions of Government of India.

Comprising a chairperson and four members, SHRC in J&K has been totally defunct since June 28, 2014. It has been headless since Justice (retd) Bashir-ud-Din completed his tenure as its chairperson in October 2011. While Abdur Rashid Khan, former Inspector General of Police, completed his term as member in November 2011, another member Javaid Ahmad Kawoos retired on October 24, 2013. Remaining two members, Amlok Singh and Rafiq Fida, retired in June 2014.

Commissioner-Secretary Law Mohammad Ashraf Mir admitted that a goof up had occurred. He revealed to STATE TIMES that the file had been stopped from going to Raj Bhawan where Governor N.N. Vohra would examine it and issue warrant of appointment. He said that the selection panel would meet afresh and make a fresh recommendation.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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