After remaining headless for over a year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday finally got its chief with the government appointing former Chief Justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan to the post.
The Commission has been without a chairman since May last year after former CJI Rajendra Babu retired. Justice GP Mathur, member of the Commission, had been functioning as its acting Chairperson since then.
President Pratibha Patil gave her approval to Balakrishnan's appointment after recommendation by a Parlimentary committee, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Balakrishnan (65) takes over as the NHRC chief three weeks after retiring as the CJI. He would formally take over on June 7 and have tenure of five years.
His three-year-long tenure as the CJI was marked by some landmark verdicts and controversies like declaration of assets by the judges and functioning of the collegium.
One of the major judgements authored by Balakrishnan included the one that declared narco-analysis and brain mapping tests, without consent of the person concerned, as illegal. The CJI also headed the bench that adjudicated the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers.
Balakrishnan courted controversy after he opposed the idea of bringing the CJI’s office under the purview of Right to Information Act. Though he was initially reluctant in favor of declaration of assets by the judges, he alongwith his colleagues later relented and put up details of their wealth on the SC website.