The country's human rights watchdog has been without a regular boss for five months and will continue to be so for another six months.
Eligibility conditions were coming in the way of appointing the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, the home ministry has said in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query field by a Delhi resident, Subhash Chandra Aggarwal.
The rights' panel has been without a chairperson ever since Justice (retd) S Rajendra Babu retired on June 1.
Only a retired Chief Justice of India (CJI), below the age of 70, can be appointed the NHRC chairperson, rules say.
"Former CJIs RC Lahoti and YK Sabharwal are eligible for appointment. However, their acceptance to the post is doubtful," the ministry said.
"It would not be possible to get a chaiperson who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the near future. Some interim arrangements would, therefore, have to be made."
It refused a reply on if the two former CJIs were asked to take up the post.
In response to a query on whether the name of former CJI Sabharwal was not considered due to serious allegations of corruption, the ministry responded in a "No."
It is clear from the reply that the earliest the commission will get a regular chairperson will be in May, when CJI KG Balakrishnan retires.
Justice (retd) GP Mathur, a former Supreme Court judge, is at present acting as the commission chairperson.
"Since there was no possibility of obtaining the services of any retired Chief Justice of India for the post, it was proposed that Justice Mathur be authorised to act as chairperson as an interim measure," the ministry said.
The Supreme Court is seized of the matter. It has asked the government to reply by November 19 why the post was lying vacant.
People's Union for Civil Liberties, an NGO, moved the apex court on the matter.