The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to fill up the post of Chairperson at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) within four weeks.
A bench of judges, S H Kapadia and Swatanter Kumar, passed the direction on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the People's Union for Civil Liberties through counsels Ashok Bhan and Ashish Bhan, alleging non-filling up of the post was seriously hampering the work of the statutory body.
The post of the chairperson has been vacant since May, 2009 after Justice Rajendra Babu, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was discharged from active duty because of advanced age.
Under the NHRC Act, only a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court can be appointed to the post.
The Centre had earlier said in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query that the former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Y K Sabharwal was not considered for the post because of adverse media reports. Another retired CJI, Justice R C Lahoti, had declined to accept the job.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati assured the bench that the Centre would initiate the process of appointing the Chairperson and file its report in July when the apex court reopens after summer vacation.
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan will be retiring on May 5 this year.