As justice AK Ganguly refuses to resign as the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, demands for the initiation of his removal are growing.
But the procedure prescribed under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for removal of the chairman or a member of the National Human Rights Commission (section 5) or a State Human Rights Commission (section 23) is rather cumbersome.
According to the NHRC Act, The NHRC/SHRC chairman or a member can be removed from his office by the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. But the President has to refer the matter to the Supreme Court which has to hold an inquiry into the allegations against the NHRC/SHRC member in question. It is only when such an inquiry has indicted the NHRC/SHRC member for misbehaviour or incapacity, that the removal can take place.
The NHRC Act specifically mentions five grounds on which the President may remove NHRC/SHRC chairman or member.
1) if he is adjudged an insolvent,
2) engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office,
3) is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body,
4) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court, and
5) is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which in the opinion of the President involves moral turpitude.
Asked how can the process for justice Ganguly’s removal be put in motion? Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising told HT: “The Union cabinet has to take a decision and then the President has to make a reference to the SC for in inquiry as required under the NHRC Act, 1993.”