Separation of powers, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions

Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions

State Human Rights Commission

Justice A K Ganguly is chairperson of West Bengal Human Rights Commission and is retired judge of SC.

He is now facing charges of an act of “unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature” alleged by a law intern.

The government would take a decision on sending a Presidential reference to Supreme Court seeking opinion on the allegations.

Protection of the Human Rights Act, 1993 defines procedure of appointment and removal of members and chairperson of National and State Human Rights Commission.

Human rights means, the rights relating life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual, guaranteed by the constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

21. Constitution of State Human Rights Commission

(1) A State Government may constitute a body to be known as the ………………….. (name of the State) Human Rights Commission to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, a State Commission under this chapter.

(2) The State Commission shall consist of

(a) a Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of a High Court;
(b) one Member who is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court;
(c) one Member who is, or has been, a district judge in that State;
(d) two Members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

(3) There shall be a Secretary who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the State Commission and shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions of the State Commission as it may delegate to him.

(4) The headquarters of the State Commission shall be at such place as the State Government may, by notification, specify.

(5) A State Commission may inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of matters relatable to any of the entries enumerated in List II and List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution:

Provided that if any such matter is already being inquired into by the Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force, the State Commission shall not inquire into the said matter:

Provided further that in relation to the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission, this sub-section shall have effect as if for the words and figures “List ll and List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution”, the words and figures “List lll in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution as applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and in respect of matters in relation to which the Legislature of that State has power to make laws” had been substituted.

22. Appointment of Chairperson and other Members of State Commission

(1) The Chairperson and other Members shall be appointed by the Governor by warrant under his hand and seal:

Provided that every appointment under this sub-section shall be made after obtaining the recommendation of a Committee consisting of

(a) the Chief Minister — Chairperson
(b) Speaker of the Legislative Assembly — Member
(c) Minister in-charge of the Department of Home, in that State — Member
(d) Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly — Member

Provided further that where there is a Legislative Council in a State, the Chairman of that Council and the Leader of the Opposition in that Council shall also be members of the Committee.

Provided also that no sitting Judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge shall be appointed except after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State.

(2) No appointment of a Chairperson or a Member of the State Commission shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in the Committee.

23. Removal of a Member of the State Commission

(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the Chairperson or any other member of the State Commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it by the President, has, on inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed in that behalf by the Supreme Court, reported that the Chairperson or such other Member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-section (1), the President may by order remove from office the Chairperson or any other Member if the Chairperson or such other Member, as the case may be –

(a) is adjudged an insolvent; OR
(b) engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; OR
(c) is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; OR
(d) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; OR
(e) is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which in the opinion of the President involves moral turpitude.